Gabriel Kuri

Gabriel Kuri

Bergen Kunsthall

Gabriel Kuri, Dead filing cabinets, 2012.
Photo: Michel Zabe & Omar Luis Olguin, 2012.
Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto Mexico City.

October 11, 2012

Gabriel Kuri
25 October–9 December 2012
Opening: 25 October, 7pm

Venue: Bergen Public Library

Bergen Kunsthall
Rasmus Meyers allé 5

5015 Bergen


T +47 55 55 93 10

bergen [​at​] 

Bergen Kunsthall’s exhibition with Gabriel Kuri will be held at Bergen Public Library. On the opening night Gabriel Kuri will hold an artist talk at 6pm in the library auditorium.

The library system is about information and education. Libraries are meant to preserve, but also to share and make available our accumulated knowledge and common cultural heritage. As such, they encompass a whole world in their collections—materialized and archived in the form of physical objects (usually books, but also documents, films, music, computer games and much more). The huge volume of information is gathered in an ever-growing accumulation that must be handled, catalogued and systematized for continued preservation in the future.

In Gabriel Kuri’s work, too, there is a continual cataloguing and organizing of objects and information. For Kuri, though, it is his very own, self-defined systems that underlie the juxtaposition of different objects. In one work, for example, he has sorted a large number of receipts by size into special heaps, a system that becomes absurd compared to the verifiable filing system of a bookkeeper. In another work, he has organized a number of utility objects by criteria such as whether the thing is wrapped, whether it is made of wood or plastic, whether it is in one piece or put together with several pieces, etc. These ordering principles may be unconventional, but in fact make up distinct and internally coherent systems. Kuri shows how most of the things in the world are defined by context-dependent conventions of use. By loosening the frameworks around these conventions, or bringing the objects into his own self-defined systems, he puts the meaning-content of the individual objects into play in new ways.

Gabriel Kuri’s works can often be seen as tokens of exchange. They can represent monetary systems, or commerce, and the action of trade in the most tangible manner. Kuri’s works emphasize the temporal aspect that is embedded in the perishability and conversion of these things, but he also exploits their materiality sculpturally and formally. Empty containers, packaging or remains of the actual act of purchasing: receipts that remain after the financial transaction has been completed; adhesive labels that are removed from the apple before it is washed and eaten; plastic bags that the goods are carried in on the way home from the shop; or the plastic bottles that only exist as containers for the true product (the mineral water inside). These are all some of the things that surround us all the time, but which often only spend a brief moment in our hands before being sent on into a system for waste disposal or recycling. Kuri’s artistic raw material tends to be made up of tangible remains of abstract systems and social cycles (for example the non-material character of the economic system in a late capitalist society).

In the library architecture itself, the furnishings and the apparatuses that fill the building are similarly materializations of overarching abstract systems. In order to navigate in the large collection of information, we need physical arrangements like shelving systems, signs, filing cards, copying machines and machines for registering loans. The building’s internal structure constitutes a kind of systematization through its division into different departments and thematically ordered sections.

Gabriel Kuri develops his exhibitions with considerate sensitivity to the place in which the artworks are located. In his project for Bergen Kunsthall, he will create an exhibition especially for the Bergen Public Library. For a limited period, the library will constitute Bergen Kunsthall’s temporary exhibition space. Kuri’s distinctive works will transport the Kunsthall to the library, while at the same time they will exist as an extended part of the library itself—not only spatially by being placed within the building, but also by coexisting in conjunction with the library as system, collection, social meeting place and institution.

Gabriel Kuri was born in Mexico City in 1970. He lives and works in Mexico City and Brussels.

The exhibition has been produced by Bergen Kunsthall. Presented in collaboration with the Bergen Public Library.





Gabriel Kuri at Bergen Kunsthall
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Bergen Kunsthall
October 11, 2012

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