Francesco Simeti: Swell

April 22-May 27, 2017
Opening Reception: April 22, 7-9pm

Francesco Simeti, An Artful Confusion, 2012, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Palermo

Francesco Simeti, An Artful Confusion, 2012, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Palermo

Francesco Simeti presents Swell, a theatrical installation at Open Source Gallery that explores human impact on the environment.

In Swell, Simeti transforms appropriated images from the history of the Gowanus Canal into a motorized, sculptural installation in which the public can contemplate the consequences of human impact on our environment. The Gowanus Canal was built in the mid-1800s as an industrial transportation route. All of waste discharged into the canal over time has made the Gowanus Canal into one of the nation’s most seriously contaminated bodies of water. The canal was declared a Superfund site in 2010 yet remains the home of industrial factories, small businesses, artist studios and rapidly gentrifying residential areas. Currently the bottom of the canal is coated to a layer of toxic sediment–nicknamed “black mayonnaise”–that averages 10 feet thick, reaching 20 feet in some places. In a twist of irony, this sludge resembles a noxious primordial soup and microbes have evolved to live off the pollution. It seems that the canal has not only become uninhabitable for wildlife, but could be breeding new and previously unidentified organisms uniquely adapted to their putrid environment.

The diametrically opposed elements present in the history of the canal–life and death, order and destruction, the light-hearted and the devastating–mirror Simeti’s practice, which amplifies multifaceted environmental, social and political concerns into an immersive sculptural installation. Pairing images of plants and animals that once flourished along the canal with images of environmental devastation and human intervention, Swell uses ornament and subtext as an instrument of political critique. Adopting a DIY aesthetic, Simeti takes inspiration from Baroque mechanical automata, which combined an awe of nature with an affinity for artifice, to explore the social, cultural and historical significance of the Gowanus Canal. Combining the installation with workshops, collaborative projects and partnerships with local organizations, Swell engages with the consequences of human activity on a local level and encourages action. Visitors are invited to explore different avenues of inquiry, taking time for self-reflection while simultaneously connecting with their community and its history.

Francesco Simeti (b. 1968, Italy) received his BA from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Italy). He has created public art projects in the NYC transit system at the 4th Avenue-9th Street Gowanus and the 18th Avenue Bensonhurst Gardens subway stations. Simeti has exhibited at spaces including the Risd Museum (USA), Art & Idea Gallery (Mexico) and Columbia University (USA). His work has been featured at the Shanghai Biennial (China), Palermo Gallery of Modern Art (Italy), MASS MoCA (USA), Musée de Design et d’Arts Appliqués Contemporains (Switzerland), and the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art (USA).



on view now

Liinu Grönlund: It could have been

It could have been | Press release | Artist talk February 25-April 8, 2017 Opening reception: February 25, 7-9pm Artist talk: February 27, 7-9pm “But at the risk of sounding anti-human–some of my best friends are human!–I will say that it is not, in the end, what’s most worth attending to. Right now, in the […]

upcoming

2017 Exhibitions
Francesco Simeti: Swell
Sana Obaid
Andrew Snyder
Omar López-Chahoud
Kimberly Mayhorn

past

The Middle Passage
Soup Kitchen 2016
2016 Exhibitions
Another Space: Permanent Construction
i Collective: Once Upon Unfolding Times
Dimensions Variable: Multidisciplinary
South Slope Derby 2016
Boa Mistura: Spread Love, It’s The Brooklyn Way
SiTE:LAB: Nothing Is Destroyed
guerilla-art.mx: Transgression
Rawiya: In Her Absence I Created Her Image
HAI: Sole Exchange
Videokaffe: Para-sites & Proto-types
Prosjektrom Normanns: Transcendental Tactility
/rive: Anamorphosis
Soup Kitchen 2015
Mira Gaberova: Statue of Everything
Savas Boyraz: Back Drop
Cristian Bors & Marius Ritiu: Venus von Hamburg
Soap Box Derby 2015
Sara Morawetz: How the Stars Stand
Whitney Lynn: Rummage
Yun-Woo Choi: Endless, Seamless
Jasmine Murrell: Some Impossibility Without A Name
Tirtzah Bassel: I Want To Hold You Close
B. David Walsh: Extracted Bedroom Project
Lena Lapschina: Yes/No
Soup Kitchen 2014
Sofia Szamosi: Eat Me
Corina Reynolds: Northwestern Expansion
Emanuele Cacciatore: A Conversation with Consequence
Box Car Workshops and Derby 2014
Mark Stilwell: The Super Defense Force vs The Tittanno Beast (The Power of the Constructonauts)
Hubert Dobler: Roundabout
Arne Schreiber: Your Stripes
Katerina Marcelja: Fragment Series
Fuse-Works: Some Assembly Required
Anja Matthes: Out-Sight-In In-Sight-Out
Soup Kitchen 2013
Katarina Poliacikova: Until We Remember The Same