Special Projects 2016

EXPO Projects

EXPO Projects is presented alongside IN/SITU in and around Navy Pier, featured a curated selection of projects organized by EXPO CHICAGO. The site-specific installation program highlights large-scale and performative works by emerging and established artists represented by 2016 Exhibitors.

Magdalena Abakanowicz
The Son of Gigant, 2003
Bronze, unique
Courtesy of Marlborough | New York, London, Madrid, Barcelona (Booth 239)

Magdalena Abakanowicz emerged as an artist in a Poland devastated by World War II. The politically charged but emotional work reminds us of the nature of the human condition, its inherent impermanence rendered immutable. Her recent solo exhibitions include the Palacio de Cristal, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid and the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Valencia, both in 2008.

Kimathi Donkor
Courtesy of Gallery MOMO | Cape Town, Johannesburg (Booth 731)

Kimathi Donkor is a British contemporary artist who lives and works in London, UK. His work re-imagines mythic and legendary encounters across Africa and its Diasporas, principally in painting, but also through video, drawing, assemblage and installation. Donkor’s expansive tableaux depict historic figures, such as Toussaint L'Ouverture and Harriet Tubman, as well as on more contemporary or unfamiliar themes.

Cody Hudson, Hold It Up to the Light, 2016. Courtesy of ANDREW RAFACZ

Cody Hudson
Hold It Up to the Light, 2016
Courtesy of ANDREW RAFACZ | Chicago (Booth 645)

Cody Hudson presented a new site-specific installation of wall painting and sculpture. Extending his uniquely abstracted forms sourced from the natural world and the human figure, recently developed in his solo exhibition Dreams Burn Down at ANDREW RAFACZ, Hudson presented his large scale ideas exclusively for the EXPO CHICAGO audience.

Alfredo JaarTeach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, 1995. Courtesy of Human Rights Watch and Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Alfredo Jaar
Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, 1995
Courtesy of Human Rights Watch (Booth 117)

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a leading international human rights organization dedicated to defending and promoting human rights around the world, in partnership with Rhona Hoffman Gallery, presents Chilean-born artist, architect, filmmaker and activist Alfredo Jaar’s Teach Us to Outgrow Madness. Created specifically for EXPO CHICAGO, and inspired by the writing of Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe, Jaar’s piece highlights the responsibility of each generation to learn from those who came before. At once urgent and optimistic, the piece reflects the organization’s mission to protect human dignity wherever it is threatened.

Samuel Levi Jones
48 Portraits (Underexposed), 2012
Inkjet prints on recycled Encyclopedia Britannica paper
Courtesy of PATRON | Chicago

This series of portraits respond to the related issues of representation and exclusion raised by a Gerhard Richter installation from 1972—the same year the encyclopedia set was published. Richter's 48 portraits, made for the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale, depicted icons of Western culture from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, each a white male. Here, Jones includes images of 48 African-American cultural figures who did not appear in the 1972 edition of the encyclopedia: Bessie Smith, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marian Anderson, Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and George Washington Carver among them. The enlarged close-ups of their faces, printed on sheets of paper, barely emerge from the rich, charcoal gray ground.

Anna Kunz
Warp, 2016
Latex on fabric
Courtesy of McCormick Gallery | Chicago (Booth 241)

Anna Kunz is a Chicago-based painter that makes work that explores the intersection of the formal aspects of the media she uses, and the qualities of the surrounding space. Often, painted and dyed fabrics function like nets to capture and manipulate light and color. These experiential works are often combined with objects or surfaces that invite viewers to interact with the works in space. Her large scale painting process intertwines performance, installation, sculpture, and architecture.

Atelier van LieshoutHenri, 2015. Fiberglass. Courtesy of GRIMM | Amsterdam 

Atelier van Lieshout
Mother Earth Constructivist, 2015
Arcylic, resin, wood

The Beginning of Everything, 2016
Foam, paint, wood, Paverpol

Henri, 2015

Carl, 2015

Courtesy of GRIMM | Amsterdam (Booth 324)

Combining Surrealist and Minimalist forms in his sculpture, van Lieshout examines the boundary between art, architecture, and human constructions. This selection belongs to the CryptoFuturism series, which revisits the tenets of Italian Futuristism a century later to highlight resonances between emerging Fascist tendencies today. These four works, from the origin of matter, material, and form that inspired The Beginning of Everything, which represents the molecular makeup of Glucose (C6H1206), to Henri and Carl—cubist, functional sculptures in a style the artist refers to as “nouveau brutalism”—van Lieshout couples the pursuit of progress with a longing for the primitive past. This contrast between primitivism and constructivism is a thematic shared with Mother Earth Constructivist, whose form marks a return to the origins of sculpture, from primitive totems and fertility statues—placed on an abstract, geometrical pedestal, the work is reminiscent of Modernist sculpture from the early twentieth century—an era of great Utopian movements, not unlike our own. Presented with support from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

Dana LixenbergImperial Courts, 2015. Courtesy of GRIMM.

Dana Lixenberg
Imperial Courts, 2015
Three channel video, color, with sound, 69-minute loop
Courtesy of GRIMM | Amsterdam (Booth 324)

Dana Lixenberg’s Imperial Courts project tracks the changing shape of a small, inner-city community from South Central Los Angeles through a combination of video, and an extensive series of black and white photographs. The photographs and video result from Lixenberg’s extended and collaborative relationship with the residents of Imperial Courts, a place she became familiar with after travelling to Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King riots in April 1992. The potent combination of racial injustice, community frustration, and one dimensional media coverage pushed her to start a project documenting life inside a single housing project in Watts, named Imperial Courts.  Lixenberg gradually created an expansive portrait of this community over twenty-two years, electing to face away from the spectacle of destruction, and to look toward those whose lives typically receive public notice only in the event of calamity. Lixenberg’s video immerses us in the dense fabric of daily life in this small housing project through an interlinking chain of vignettes accompanied by an environmental score of street sounds, conversations, ice cream trucks and the penetrating sound of LAPD helicopters flying overhead. The work frames the continuity of community against the changelessness of an inner-city landscape, rejecting sensationalism and spectacle in favour of sensitivity. Presented with support from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

Matt Magee
Wall Grapheme 3, 2016
Acrylic and china marker
Courtesy of THE MISSION | Chicago (Booth 645)

Wall Grapheme 3 continues a series of site specific wall paintings Magee began at Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque in May 2016. A grapheme is the smallest semantically distinguishing unit in written language—building on this idea, Magee creates his own encoded and sequenced vocabulary suspended within a grid relating to Agnes Martin's On a Clear Day screenprint edition from 1973.

Sandro Miller, American Bikers, 1990–95. Courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery

Sandro Miller
American Bikers, 1990–95
Courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery | Chicago (Booth 247)

The spring of 1990, artist Sandro Miller attended a biker rally sponsored by a local Harley-Davidson dealership in his hometown of Elgin, Illinois. This rally was organized to raise money for a local residential facility which also provided medically oriented services to children and young adults with severe disabilities. During the next five years, Miller attended biker rallies across America, and photographed bikers from around the country—this series illuminates a group of people who have so often been categorized and demeaned by the American public.

Nnenna Okore
Onwa N'etilu Ora, 2013–2015
Twisted and painted paper
Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery | San Francisco, New York (Booth 706)

Nnenna Okore’s sculptures address the regeneration of forms, and use natural materials, twisted into structures that mimick the intricacies of objects and nature familiar to the artist from her childhood in Nigeria. A Fulbright Fellow in 2012, Okore studied under El Anatsui—her works are created from natural materials, such as found paper, clay, and coffee. Onwa N’etilu Ora references rebirth and renewal, each disk representing the roundness and vibrancy of the ‘onwa,’ the term for ‘moon’ in Igbo.

Nnenna OkoreOnwa N'etilu Ora, 2013–2015. Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Sabina Ottwho cares for the sky, 2016, Installation view Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago

Sabina Ott
because the mountains were so high, 2016
Courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center (Booth 813) & Aspect/Ratio Gallery | Chicago 

Sabina Ott’s site-specific installation for EXPO CHICAGO acts as an alternative passage way within a passageway—a space to meander through and lose oneself in wonderment. Smells, sounds, objects and video surround the participant in an immersive artificial environment. The work is an extension of Ott’s exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center earlier this year. Produced by Space Haus.

Ren Ri, Yuansu Series II, #6-58, #6-71, #6-74, #6-81, #6-83, 2014-2015. Courtesy of Pearl Lam Galleries.

Ren Ri
Yuansu Series II, #6-58, #6-71, #6-74, #6-81, #6-83, 2014-2015
Acrylic box, natural beeswax
Courtesy of Pearl Lam Galleries | Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore (Booth 442)

Ren Ri’s work is signified by the very special medium he uses: beeswax. Considered an unusual and difficult material to work with, Ri’s understanding of bees’ psychology and nature assist him in his creative process. He works in collaboration with insects to create his mesmerizing sculptures. To manipulate natural processes, the artist must find a balance cooperating with nature to accomplish his artistic goals. Ri was born in 1984 in Harbin, China, and studied Fine Art at Tsinghua University before receiving his Masters at Saint-Petersburg Herzen State University, Russia. He has a PhD in Fine Art from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.

Adam Parker Smith
Mr. Risky, 2016
Cast resin and fiberglass with mylar steel, aluminum
Courtesy of the artist and The Hole | New York (Booth 720)

Consisting of a humanoid stack of resinated mylar balloons—weightless in appearance, but quite solid— the sculpture’s illusion of buoyancy mimics the dynamism of classical sculpture that somehow makes marble look like striving human bodies, and perhaps deflates that idea. While the artist is inspired by classical works like Augustus of Primaporta, the Artemision Bronze, the Venus de Milo or Winged Victory, to contemporary eyes the works evoke perhaps a sagging Koons balloon sculpture, or a birthday array the morning after.

Saya Woolfalk
Colour Mixing Machine 1-6, 2016
Courtesy of Daata Editions

Saya Woolfalk is a New York based artist who uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions. With the multi-year projects No Place, The Empathics, and ChimaTEK, Woolfalk has created the world of the “Empathics,” a fictional race of women who are able to alter their genetic make-up and fuse with plants. With each body of work, Woolfalk builds the narrative of these women's lives, questioning the utopian possibilities of cultural hybridity.  Sound attribution to: The Hathaway Family Plot.