PROJECTS SECTION - AD-ASTRA
MANA CONTEMPORARY announces Ad Astra, an exhibition curated by Ysabel Pinyol Blasi that takes its title from the Latin maxim Per aspera, ad astra (“Through hardship, to the stars”). A collaboration with Pinta Art Fair Miami, Ad Astra interrogates the relationship of dedicated hard work and high-flying ambition to big ideas and creative success, often through physically grandiose images and objects. The grand and the visionary resonate here with the downright strange in an inquiry after the nature of human achievement. Featuring works inspired by real and imaginary spaces identified with its makers’ points of origin—many of which are reconfigured for the former soundstage in which they are displayed—Ad Astra revolves around hard-won transitions and surprising results.
Agustina Woodgate’s Milky Ways (2013), for example, takes the form of a gigantic tapestry stitched together from the plush ‘skins’ of stuffed toy animals. In a neat combination of the earthbound and the celestial, it confronts us with an unusually approachable, even cuddly, suggestion of the galaxy’s vast diversity and scale. Pedro Tyler’s Light House (2018) also plays with size, featuring surfaces constructed from the tools we use to calculate length, and in the process questioning how we might ‘measure’ ourselves. And a concern with scale permeates Finnish duo Mark Niskanen and Jani-Matti Salo’s Focal Point (2018) too, as they deploy pinspot lights, a pressure sensor, and a processor designed by open-source company Arduino to launch an interrogation of the otherwise unimaginable magnitude of contemporary solitude.
Artists featured in the exhibition include: Camila Cañeque, Hugo Crosthwaite, Sonia Falcone, Franz Klainsek, Luciana Lamothe, Mira Lehr, Mark Niskanen & Jani- Matti Salo, Graciela Sacco, Raquel Schwartz, Stefania Strouza, Francisca Sutil, Pedro Tyler, Cydney Williams, and Agustina Woodgate.