Blanton Museum of Art

The Blanton Museum of Art is pleased to present the work of Argentine artist Fabián Bercic for its current WorkSpace—a series that explores new developments in contemporary art by featuring commissioned projects by emerging and mid-career artists from around the world.

Bercic provides a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Zen garden in his site-specific installation for WorkSpace. As a critique of consumerism and the commercialization of culture, Bercic transforms the usually sacred rock garden, replacing its natural and organic elements with synthetic, day-glo, plastic materials. Not simply an opposition between an idealized past and an imperfect present, Bercic’s work reminds us that we can only look to the past through a contemporary lens. The work, in this contemporary context, reflects the artist’s interest in the cuteness (kawaii) of Japanese product design and Anime. It also reveals his fascination with medieval manuscript illustrations and draws heavily from his own imagination. He synthesizes multiple sources as he poses the question of how one can create a meaningful Zen garden with the materials of a late-capitalist society.

The artist’s process of repetitively and painstakingly assembling his materials recaptures the traditional function and purpose of the garden, in that the artist achieves the loss of self through these Zen actions. Conversely, it serves as a comment on disposable, industrial production. A seating area is incorporated into the work, allowing viewers an area from which to contemplate the complex dichotomies of the garden. Thus the artist incorporates the idea that a garden is not just a site of entertainment or leisure but also an important place for learning and spiritual development.

On view through September 21, this exhibition is curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and former Curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Art.

WorkSpace: Fabián Bercic is generously supported by Don Mullins and Cameron Larson, with additional support from the Susan Vaughan Foundation and members of the Blanton Contemporary Salon.