Falke Pisano

Falke Pisano

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)

Image courtesy of Falke Pisano, 2015.

May 9, 2015

Falke Pisano
The value in mathematics

May 9–June 28, 2015

Opening: Saturday, May 9, 6–9pm
Public conversation: Saturday, May 16, 6:30pm

631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles


Falke Pisano’s The value in mathematics considers the notion of “ethnomathematics” through works that examine the cultural construct of mathematical practice. The exhibition includes a series of sculptures, diagrams, and text pieces that approach issues such as exchange, measurement, design, navigation, and calculation and how methods and applications of these notions vary in different contexts. Pisano’s research-based practice looks at how, where, and through what processes an art object is realized and generates meaning. Her diagrammatic works expose a loop, in which shifting abstract sculptural forms are conceived directly in relation to written and spoken language, implying an ongoing and morphing production of meaning. 

Through the notion of multiple mathematics, the exhibition asks questions surrounding the relationship between universal and particular; curricular versus cultural responsibility in education; and globalism and pluralism through the lens of logic, scientific research and abstraction–all of which are also pertinent issues in contemporary art. Mainly composed of wood, metal and fabric, the sculptural pieces in The value of mathematics reference objects such as a weaving frame, a transaction counter, a map, and several display tables. Varying in scale, the pieces refer to issues such as “negotiations in exchange,” “learning in proximity,” “reading the world with mathematics,” among others.

Commonly regarded as the universal and foundational language of science, mathematics is generally considered a value-free discipline. It is taught as a global language in classrooms, used in transnational financial markets, and streamlines the military-technological complex. This concept of mathematics has a historical beginning in the sixteenth century and Galileo’s efforts to make it the “language of the natural world,” applying it to problems that had previously been explained through Aristotelian natural philosophy. Yet the notion of mathematics as a disinterested and neutral science has been challenged by critical educators, philosophers, historians of science, and to some extent mathematicians themselves. These efforts show that there are several conceptions of mathematics that vary from the dominant, global one. While some emphasize the differences in cultural constructions of mathematics (and therefore advocate the introduction of a variety of approaches in learning situations), others look at the dominant mathematics as a science that is itself a result of cross-cultural pollination and is inherently dialogical.

The exhibition The value in mathematics speculates on the possibilities of a world with several mathematics, the kind of translations and transactions that ensue, and the multiple futures that different mathematical universes propose. 

On May 16, anthropologist and mathematics educator Mariana K. Leal Ferreira and mathematics education researcher Michael Lachney will join Falke Pisano to discuss some of the topics explored in the exhibition.

With design contribution by Will Holder

Falke Pisano (Amsterdam) lives and works in Berlin. Her solo exhibitions include Praxes, Berlin (2014), The Showroom, London (April 2013), Ellen de Bruijne Projects (Amsterdam, 2007, 2011) Hollybush Gardens (London, 2009, 2012), De Vleeshal (Middelburg, 2012), CAC (with Benoît Maire, Vilnius, 2011), Transmission Gallery (Glasgow, 2010), Extra City (Antwerp, 2010), Kunstverein (Graz, 2009) and Halle für Kunst e.V. (Lüneburg, 2008). She participated in major groups shows such as the Venice Bienial (2009) and Manifesta (2008). She performed at Museo Reina Sofia (2012), the 5th Berlin Biennale (2008) and Lisson Gallery, London (2007).

This exhibition is curated by Sohrab Mohebbi, assistant curator, Gallery at REDCAT.

Falke Pisano’s The value in mathematics is funded in part with generous support from Mondriaan Fonds and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Gallery at REDCAT focuses on experimentation through new commissions that often represents the artist’s first major presentation in the U.S. or Los Angeles. The exhibition program ventures to cross-pollinate shared concepts and critical discourses that connect art to other fields in service of an interdisciplinary program. Using different scales and temporary structures, the exhibition formats are flexible and constantly reformulated. 

Gallery at REDCAT is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6pm or until intermission. It is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the Gallery at REDCAT is always free.

REDCAT is located at the corner of W. 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles.

Falke Pisano at REDCAT
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REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater)
May 9, 2015

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