Solo Para Revivir
September 6, 2023 - October 21, 2023
Bosco Sodi’s third solo exhibition at Kasmin, Solo Para Revivir, presents new works in an ambitious installation exploring the compelling material and conceptual relationships between the artist’s painting and sculpture. Sodi’s deepening investigations into the symbolic power of four elemental colors—black, purple, red, and green—are expressed in several large-scale mixed media paintings imbued with impressions of nature: indented with the fractal structure of tree branches drawn from the surroundings of the artist’s studio, or subjected to the pull of gravity as they dry. Rendered in powerful, saturated hues, Sodi’s paintings are grounded in the exhibition by three freestanding clay spheres and a monumental oil painting realized on a canvas of twelve interwoven burlap sacks. Furthering the artist’s recent focus on the stages of life, Solo Para Revivir translates to ‘only to wake’, metaphorically reinforcing the incessant, even primal, drive at the heart of the creative instinct, and how this impulse is mirrored in the cycles of the natural world. Engaging with the most fundamental materials and forms, Sodi prompts reflections on the innate, ineffable structures of our universe; our interdependence with our environment; and the artistic interventions that are able to transform physical matter into signifiers of the non-corporal world.
As Sodi states, “The shape and scale of the canvas, the painting as an object that transmits meaning—everything becomes secondary to the experience of color.” The artist’s long standing engagement with color, a primary and essential aspect of his practice, stems from both a somatic response to certain pigments and a scholarly interest in the resonance of color in cultural and political histories worldwide. For this body of work, Sodi focuses on black, red, purple, and green as markers of quintessential, cardinal facets of life. The idea of green as a vivid invocation of life force has roots in Egyptian, Roman and Medieval history, with the color’s affinity for attracting allegorical meaning linked to its prevalence in the natural world. Red, the essence of fire and the sun, has remained a significant color to Sodi as it encapsulates the history of pre-Columbian art, Aztec innovation, colonialist oppression, and international trade. Purple and black act to denote the fifth element or quinta essencia, considered in ancient philosophy to compose the celestial bodies.b
Sodi’s painting process is celebrated for its intense, improvisatory physicality. Working paper and pigment using his hands, the artist intuitively applies what Matthew J. Abrams has termed Sodi’s “color-matter” onto the supine canvas in brisk, forceful gestures. Balancing control and disorder; matter and lightness; minimalism and automatism, Sodi assembles the work’s preconditions to allow his material to express its ultimate form—collaborating with the environment to do so. The resulting paintings are consequently “landscapes, in a way, abstract landscapes, visions of nature, allegories of the tree swaying in the wind,” as referenced by literary critic Juan Manuel Bonet.
These phenomenological inquiries are echoed in three clay sphere sculptures situated in the center of the gallery space. One is left unglazed, one is glazed in gold, and one is broken open with a single seed of corn inside that will germinate and grow during the run of the exhibition. All three are rendered from Oaxacan clay which has been mined, prepared, shaped, and fired using local, pre-industrial techniques at Sodi’s studio in Puerto Escondido. Here, the works are presented in three material iterations to illuminate the profound transformations enacted by the simplest artistic gesture. While raw clay reveals the effects of nature—sun, sea, air, and fire—through unplanned cracks and other welcome imperfections, in contrast, gold remains an alchemical material that signifies holiness and revelation. The embedded corn, a direct reference to the artist’s Tabula Rasa (presented in Washington Square Park, New York, 2021, and at Art Basel Parcours, Switzerland, 2022) enacts a biological imperative to grow towards light, forming new fissures in its host sculpture as it evolves. Sodi’s invocation of the planting and harvesting cycles that humanity has long relied upon is reiterated in his sack painting which depicts a circular flattened plane of color—a moon—that recalls the lunar calendar’s primacy in pre-industrial societies.
The spiritual resonance of Sodi’s clay spheres has recently been expounded upon in the artist’s ongoing Harvard Art Museum exhibition, Origen, where the works have been installed in the Asian art galleries in response to the meditative atmospheres of Buddhist figures within the collection. These themes were further explored in the major exhibition What Goes Around Comes Around, presented as part of the 2022 Venice Biennale at the Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro, Italy.
About the Artist
Bosco Sodi has exhibited his work internationally and throughout the United States. The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa staged the solo exhibition Básico in 2022. In 2021, Sodi opened a major sculpture show in the garden of the Dallas Museum of Art and completed his second public installation in Washington Square Park, Tabula Rasa. Other notable institutional exhibitions include ergo sum, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2020); Por los siglos de los siglos, Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City (2017); Museum of Stones, the Noguchi Museum, New York (2015); and Pangea, Bronx Museum, New York (2010).
His work is in significant public and private collections worldwide including the JUMEX Collection, Mexico; the Contemporary Art Foundation, Japan; the Harvard Art Museum, Massachusetts; the Nasher Sculpture Center, Texas; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; the Walker Art Center, Minnesota; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Connecticut; the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, among others.
In 2022, the artist founded Assembly, a nonprofit exhibition venue in Monticello, New York. In 2013, he founded Fundación Casa Wabi near Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico, an arts center dedicated to promoting cultural exchange between international contemporary artists and local communities. Designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the foundation’s headquarters hosts artist residencies and exhibitions, among other initiatives.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
For press requests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org