That

At the Instituto Cervantes in New York

From Feb 17 to Apr 2

That is a selection of artworks that revisits household things. By amplifying, repurposing, or rethinking everyday objects, six artists question the underlying assumptions of a deceiving banality.

Born in Havana and now based in New York, Rafael Domenech turned tables into books. The pieces on show were originally found in a disused school. The abandoned school tables are still very much present and visible. Now, though, codices emerge from their surface ironically amplifying their ability to transmit knowledge.

Manuela González’ canvases are sewn patchworks of common household textiles like towels, rugs or tablecloths. She then paints patterns of these objects from her memory of her childhood home in Colombia. González underlines a formal intersection between modernist abstraction and textile traditions.

Claudia Kaatziza Cortínez salvages roof panels from construction sites in New York and creates paper-based casts of them. Kaatziza Cortínez juxtaposes those roofs with photographs of her Grandmother’s floor in Buenos Aires. From the New York tin roof tiles, rust particles transfer to the paper, while the Buenos Aires floors are rendered as cyanotypes toned with mate, an Argentinian drink.

In Radiant City, Chilean artist Rocío Olivares draws a series of fictional floor plans. The plans omit closets and corridors, and instead call for doors connecting each adjacent room, regardless of its use. These drawings propose a dystopian reality where rooms of disparate uses accumulate one after the other undermining the separation between public and private life.

Eco de Silla Vida XL by Barcelona based sculptor Alejandro Palacín is a set of stacking outdoor chairs some of whose legs have been removed. In Palacín’s words: “If you’re a sculpture no one ever touches you. And when you’re lucky enough to be shipped and exhibited you’re handled in a cold and distant manner. Gloves are worn; you’re wrapped in plastic. I’d rather be an ordinary chair than a sculpture. Wine could spill on me without worry, as I’d share in all the parties and seated rear ends. I try to make sculptures that can be lived with in different ways.”

Spanish artist Ester Partegàs enlarges and transforms the typical laundry basket into a sculpture titled Tower. The work conjoins sensitivity, play and care with aggression, vulnerability and destruction. By changing the scale of this household object, Partegàs underlines the emotional and political conflicts that are charged within it.