Galería Isabel Aninat + Y GALLERY, Santiago / New York
Born during her parents’ exile in Rome, Italy, Manuela Viera-Gallo’s point-of-view has been strongly shaped by the social and political violence that has affected the history of most Latin American countries and by a constant state of migration. As a consequence Viera-Gallo’s work engages preoccupations, anxieties and fears derived from her own experience. Her artistic practice presents a multidisciplinary body of work that departs from absurdity to manipulate and distort known symbols and imagery into an allegorical, fantastical and darkly comical framework that allows her to take ownership of the subsequent transformation to analyze different processes of political and social instability.
At VOLTA NY 2017, Y Gallery is pleased to present the work of Viera-Gallo, Due Status (2017), an installation of more than 15 wooden pigeons with heads that range from surveillance and paparazzi cameras to safe deposit boxes and grenades. Nodding to the media, some of the birds also feature emoticons. They appear to be lurking from a network of geometric branches that form dollar signs and justice scales, in a playful yet sinister allegory infused with facial expressions and masks like tribal idols. The installation evokes nature as a metaphor for cultural propositions and political statements.
As a “pigeon fiction,” the installation features several characters that represent different actors involved in intelligence operations during international crises, all appearing erratic and paralyzed in the midst of chaos and despair. They are headless birds defending a doomed nest.
Staged as a modern-day fable of miscellaneous avian figures situated in a tense power struggle and conspiracy, the characters are trapped in what seems to be a collusive and murky survival alliance of precarious balance. They engage in diverse and simultaneous discourses concerting dealings and secret negotiations that shall perpetuate each power, ideology or species.