Installation located at
128 W Broad St, Richmond, VA
a 1708 Gallery exhibition
Friday, Nov 3
7 pm – midnight
In the installation Pangea (2017), visual artist Máximo González (Argentina, 1971) seeks to draw a “new” world map that resembles Pangea, the supercontinent that was made up of nearly all the landmasses on Earth, in order to confront the geopolitical constructs that shape our society and to reflect on the degree to which these can be shifted.
The floor of the exhibition venue–a picturesque shop from the early 20th century–is covered with 1000 inflatable balls that resemble world globes and that are remains of the 7000 used for González’s emblematic installation Camino entre mundos [Walk Among Worlds] (2011). The visitors are inevitably immersed in the piece as they make their way through the inflatable balls, forced to move them around and to intermingle with other people to view and experience the work. Through this interaction that can be simultaneously playful, uncomfortable and chaotic, the spectator becomes aware not only of the materiality of the plastic balls filled with air–some of which might have been deflated by the constant manipulation of visitors–but also of his or her corporality in this space and in relation to the world. In what manner are we using the natural resources we share with other human beings? It is not about each individual inflatable ball, but about what is generated when 1000 of them are assembled in the same space. The plastic globes are rearranged over and over with the passing of new visitors; each configuration speaks of the multiple possibilities of relating to the world.
One of the walls of the space is covered with over one hundred red light bulbs, each representing the capital of a country belonging to the United Nations. These different cities are interconnected by copper wire, which demarks the shortest possible aerial route between them. When these individual light bulbs are linked by the wire, the outline of a form is created and each distinct city becomes part of a shared whole. Via this visual structure that inevitably reminds us of Pangea, González prompts us to envision a “bigger picture,” to think about the collective, and to reflect on how we have come to configure our world, as well as on the possibility of working towards the creation of a new model, one that perhaps is not delimited by political divisions, but rather conformed by conjunctions. If we were capable of configuring these manmade boundaries, are we not capable of reconfiguring them as well?