Rafael Domenech:
    Model to exhaust this place (SculptureCenter Pavilion)

    Rafael Domenech: Model to exhaust this place (SculptureCenter Pavilion)

    Jan 16–Mar 23, 2020

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    For his new commission at SculptureCenter, Rafael Domenech creates a large-scale modular installation in the ground floor gallery. Responding to the conditions of the exhibition space as a former trolley repair shop, Domenech uses the building’s existing structure, in particular the tracks of an industrial gantry system, as a machine to produce and facilitate the work. Working with materials typically destined for construction sites, the work engages with the urban vernacular of the rapidly growing neighborhood of Long Island City.

    Depending on the time and purpose of encounter with Domenech’s exhibition, the installation functions simultaneously at multiple levels: as a sculpture, a decentered architectural model, a pavilion, and a venue for public programs and gatherings. As such, the work acknowledges the varied possibilities and promises of contemporary art institutions. By installing large panels made of aluminum framed construction mesh the artist creates what he calls “space modulators” that create multiple architectural configurations. Domenech considers the book as a standardized unit, organizational mechanism and an architectural device. This is further articulated by the artist’s research in concrete poetry as a strategy to suggest different ways of handling and approaching a book according to the direction and the distribution of sentences on the page. In this instance, in addition to writings by the artist, the installation distributes two poems by exiled Neo-Baroque Cuban poet, novelist, essayist, and critic Severo Sarduy (1937-1993) that concretize a poetics of dislocation. In addition, the installation includes elements from Domenech’s work previously installed in the SculptureCenter exhibition Searching the Sky for Rain, as well as parts from Las Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria], his recent outdoor pavilion at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. Addressing an economy of means in his production, the artist shows how artwork exists in the ecology of a practice at the intersection of studio, institution, and urban space.

    Rafael Domenech was born in 1989 in Havana, Cuba. Domenech’s work utilizes and explores notions of architecture, urban design, and contemporary material production as research tactics for the production of different typologies of objects and spaces. His work has been exhibited at SculptureCenter; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City; The Bass Museum, Miami Beach; Phillip and Patricia Frost Art Museum, Miami; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Artium Museum, Vitoria, Spain; Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami; and The Rockefeller Foundation, New York. He was the recipient of an award from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and the Cintas Fellowship. He holds an MFA from Columbia University.

    The exhibition is curated by Sohrab Mohebbi, Curator, with Kyle Dancewicz, Director of Exhibitions and Programs.


    Model to exhaust this place (SculptureCenter Pavilion) is made possible by the Friends of Rafael Domenech.

    Lead underwriting support of SculptureCenter’s Exhibition Fund has been generously provided by the Kraus Family Foundation, and Lee and Robert K. Elliott, with additional support by Jane Hait and Justin Beal, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, and Toby Devan Lewis.

    SculptureCenter’s programs and operating support is provided by the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the National Endowment for the Arts; Danielle and Drew Anderman; Andreas Beroutsos and Abigail Hirschhorn; Carol Bove and Gordon Terry; Irene and Allen Brill; Laren C. and Jesse M. Brill; Lee and Robert K. Elliott; Elizabeth and Adrian Ellis; the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Diane and Craig Solomon; Fred Wilson; the A. Woodner Fund; New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer; and contributions from our Board of Trustees and Director’s Circle. Additional funding is provided by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation and contributions from many generous individuals.