Art, is, perhaps, meant to flip things upside down—to illustrate new meaning for elements previously thought unimportant, trivialities we literally or metaphorically tromp over without notice. Yes. In this case, I’m talking about pavement—something, until now, I assumed was a backdrop for only childhood skinned knees and chalk drawings and the occasional pick-up basketball game. That is—we’re not here to discuss aging indie rock legend Stephen Malkmus (yet).
Puerto Rican artist Guillermo Rodriguez brings his visually stunning asphalt sculptures to the artist-run space Holz Kohlen Koks on April 29. His glowing pavement structures focus on this continuous flux between both solid and liquid—asphalt’s constant instability due to its petroleum derivations. Ah-ha! Do you see a metaphor for humanity?
And yet—creating a metaphor out of matter, humanizing stone: is that not a great stretch? That is the question our ready Rodriguez means to answer, taking inspiration from the words of Edouard Glissant: “in Relation every subject is an object and every object a subject.” What does it mean to look at asphalt as an artistic instrument for emotional expression—this material that is both natural and, with man’s messy hands in it, the backdrop of so much of our culture, our cities, and our roads?
Head to the Mineralia exhibit on Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. for the opening, and answer these questions for yourself.