August 31 - September 23
Opening Reception: Friday August 31 6-9 p.m.
“Of silver the slender knives, the delicate forks; of silver the salvers with silver trees chased in the silver of the hollows for collecting the gravy of roasts; of silver the triple-tiered fruit trays of three round dishes crowned by silver pomegranates; of silver the wine flagons hammered by craftsmen in silver; of silver the fish platters, a porgy of silver lying plumply on a seaweed lattice; of silver the saltcellars, of silver the nutcrackers, of silver the goblets, of silver the teaspoons engraved with initials...All these were being borne gradually, without haste -- carefully, so that silver should not bump against silver -- toward the glum, waiting penumbras of wooden cases, of slatted crates, of chest with stout locks, overseen by the master in his dressing gown, who made the silver ring from time to time when he urinated with stately stream, copious and percussive, well aimed into a silver chamber pot, the bottom decorated with a roguish silver eye soon blind by the foam which, reflecting the silver so intensely, ultimately seemed silvered itself...”
-- Concert Baroque, Alejo Carpentier
Alejo Carpentier, one of the most influential writers in Latin American literature, frames the opening passage of his well-known 1974 novel Concert Baroque in silver. The caricaturist description of excessive silverware not only conducted a cacophony of silver sound, but also alluded to the wealth of the New World – in particular, Mexico – due to silver mining. Mexico remains to be one of the world’s largest silver producers.
Borrowing the title of the novel, this solo exhibition features Mexican artist and filmmaker Adela Goldbard (b. 1979) and centers around her video that shares the same name. Concert Baroque is a two-channel video that documents mining activities at the Thornton Quarry, an aggregate quarry in South Illinois that used to supply limestone in the early 20th century for some of Chicago’s iconic architectures. Haunted by the ghostly cavity caused by sand mining in the mountain behind her childhood house in Mexico, Goldbard’s interest in issues related to mining is not only a visceral one but also deeply rooted in her belief that art is a form of resistance.
In this exhibition, Goldbard measures the ecological impact of mining and its kinship to capitalism through visual and auditory analogies. The incredible resemblance between the shape of the abandoned trading pit at the Chicago Board of Trade Building and that of the open-pit copper mine [NN: where?] led the artist to reflect the connection between extraction and transaction. Chicago as one of the largest and most diverse market for commodity trading is constantly converting back-and-forth resources and numbers, putting a price tag on every single ounce of mineral excavated from the ground. But how much does a gargantuan scar left on the surface of the earth cost? As the earth sinks, profits rise. The groans of heavy machinery, the clatters of rocks and stones, the rattling of gravels, the pounding at the wrecking yards...all these sounds unite and start to compose a very different baroque concert.