The MIT List Visual Arts Center features Athens-based artist Delia Gonzalez as part of its List Projects exhibition series. Gonzalez works in drawing, sculpture, music, film, dance, and performance. She draws inspiration from abroad range of sources including the history of the cinema, surrealism, Greek mythology, and different mystical traditions. In her most recent body of work, The Last Days of Pompeii (2017), the fate of the ancient Roman city serves as vehicle for a fantastical reflection on apocalyptic destruction and cyclical renewal, all conceived against the backdrop of the contemporary political landscapes of the United States and Greece. List Projects: Delia Gonzalez opens July 31 and remains on view through September 30, 2018.
Pompeii’s dramatic demise under the ashes of erupting Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. has long occupied the popular imagination. Gonzalez’s project shares its title—spelled out in a neon sculpture mounted at beginning of the List Center exhibition—with a 1926 Italian silent movie, Gliultimi giorni di Pompeii. This lavish production, itself based on a popular 19th century English novel, was one of the most expensive films at the time and exemplified the industry’s efforts to restore Italian cinema’s former dominance as it had waned vis-à-vis Hollywood, a subtle allusion that further underlines Gonzalez’s preoccupation with decline. The light piece casts a pink glow through two arched entryways, while the pulsing electronic track Vesuvius (2017) resounds through the space, so that the white cube of the gallery becomes reminiscent of a set or stage.
At the center of the exhibition in the Bakalar Gallery are six recent works on paper in acrylic paint and pencil, which feature a series of recurring circles, or full moons. Making reference to Greek and Roman architecture, the works emulate marble surfaces to trompe l’oeil effect. Identical in scale, the moon motif and backgrounds are depicted in varying colors and finished with details in gold leaf.
While the history of Pompeii to Gonzalez is emblematic of contemporary societies’ vulnerability to ecological, economic, and political disaster, the marble and the moons in these works by contrast stand for permanence and rebirth, and denote a tenuous sense of optimism in the face of catastrophe.
In conjunction with the exhibition Delia Gonzalez will perform with Bryce Hackford for an evening of enchanting sounds and hypnotic electronic beats on September 4 at 7 PM. This performance will feature music from her album Horse Follows Darkness released November 2017.
>Delia Gonzalez’s (b. 1972, United States, lives and works in Athens and New York) work has been featured in exhibitions at Galleria Fonti, Naples; Schmidt & Handrup, Cologne; Kunsthaus Graz, Austria; Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna; Migros Museum, Zurich; Deste Foundation, Athens; and others. Exhibitions in collaboration with Gavin Russom include P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York and SculptureCenter, New York. Gonzalez released her most recent album Hose Follows Darkness on DFA Records in 2017.
List Projects: Delia Gonzalez is organized by Henriette Huldisch, Director of Exhibitions & Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center.