The School of Nature and Principle

The School of Nature and Principle

The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

Catalina León, Capybara, You Only Appear When I’m Alone, 2012–14. Acrylic, pencil, and stitching on cotton fabric.

April 6, 2015

The School of Nature and Principle
April 10–May 30, 2015

Opening: Friday, April 10, 6–8pm

EFA Project Space 
323 W. 39th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10018

Artists: Javier Barrios, Tyler Coburn, Regina José Galindo, Rodrigo Hernández, Federico Herrero, Akira Ikezoe, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Chosil Kil, Catalina León, Gabriel Lester, Yu-Hsien Su

Curator: Emiliano Valdés

The School of Nature and Principle is an ensemble of works speculating on the relationship between metaphysics and various aspects of contemporary society. Taking Neo-Confucianism as his departure point (specifically the branch known as the School of Nature and Principle, which proposes a way of relating to and behaving in the world), curator Emiliano Valdés has assembled an international group of artists whose work explores the validity of non-rational knowledge, our relation to the natural world and technology, and simply what it means to be alive today. The works included in this show address the tension generated by a drive for logic and control versus a yearning for intuition and the unknown. 

Valdés draws on his research and experience of working in Asia as Associate Curator of the 2014 Gwangju Biennial, as well as his background as a renowned Latin American curator who has been interested in art as a space for knowledge, both rational and irrational. Many of the artists in this exhibition are showing in New York for the first time, such as Mexican artist Rodrigo Hernández and Argentinean artist Catalina León, both of whom use artistic practice as a way of meditating or thinking about the self. Some comment directly on contemporary Asian society and culture, such as Taiwanese artist Yu-Hsien Su, and, from a more metaphysical perspective, the work of Korean-born, London-based artist Chosil Kil. The exhibition space is treated as a “dimension,” a sort of parallel universe where the laws of rationality and logic are not necessarily observed—or so it is conceived by Costa Rican painter Federico Herrero who, through his site-specific intervention, will offer his imagining of portals and what lies on the other side. Javier Barrios and Tyler Coburn, both of New York, study the impact of technology, while Japanese-born, New York–based artist Akira Ikezoe addresses the universe and natural environment. Dutch artist and filmmaker Gabriel Lester proposes a dichotomy of behavior through videos that dictate what is right and what is wrong. Finally, a new commission by Guatemalan performance artist Regina Jose Galindo is an affirmation of existence from a deeply political standpoint.

During the reception, a new work by Regina Jose Galindo in collaboration with composer Paulo Alvarado will be performed by the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn from 6:30 to 7:30pm. 

Galindo, who is widely recognized for her performances critiquing the Guatemalan dictatorship, has created a new work incollaboration with composer Paulo Alvaradofor The School of Nature and Principle inspired by the Ixil community’s resistance to General Efraín Rios Montt, who was sentenced to 80 years for genocide in 2013. The sentence was short-lived, as the State annulled it and released him, but the hope and strength of the Ixil women who took him to court remains intact. In a recent interview, one woman argued, “I’m alive and I am witness to the truth,” while another commented, “I’m alive to tell what happened.” Despite the pain, no one can silence the Ixil women. During the opening, the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn will repeat the phrase “I’m Alive” in different registers and tones, embodying the strength and resilience of the Ixil community.

EFA Project Space is grateful to the Asia Art Archive in America and the Hunter College Department of Art and Art History for their help in facilitating this exhibition.

For press inquiries, please contact Lauren Bierly, EFA Project Space Assistant Director, at lauren [​at​] or T +1 212 563 5855 x 234.

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The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
April 6, 2015

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