The fall of dropping water wears away the stone.

Sticky aggregations of black lints suffuse the surface of the rocks. Their tactility is intriguing, withdrawing from the glance into its materiality. The sculptures function as a juxtaposition, diagonally cutting the space, altering it into a reminiscence of a landscape.

Rubber Snails (2016)

The piece Ensayo sobre la ceguera (Rolling and rolling) (2016) is one of the four installations by Ecuadorian artist Paul Rosero Contreras on display at Import Projects for Sierra Negra, his first solo exhibition in Berlin. What appears as an organic object at first sight is the artist’s proposal for an artificial ocean-reef, made of recycled rubber ties, cast from sweeping shores and black waters from different locations around the globe; a conglomerate of afterlife turned into a monstrous emergence. Evolving around the notion of hybrid ecologies and circular economies, Ensayo sobre la ceguera points towards the reciprocal and performative processes of shaping environments, investigating the material culminations of marine life and industrial waste. The artist as field worker establishes a poetic sphere of tangible new organisms and amplified geologies as sculpture.

Ensayo sobre la ceguera (Rolling and rolling) (2016)

The series of installations establishes an exhibition space as habitat, offering hybrid objects of modified natural phenomena, incorporating a distinct futurity of life after an environmental cataclysm. Contreras approaches the continuum between representing and altering a given landscape through a practice based on artistic research. In his work the human as the primary category of interest collapses into the sphere of objects, an exploration of the post-human biological setting. Through a proxemic dedication to experiment and the notion of evolution and it’s object histories, the works in Sierra Negra draw on land and underwater field recordings in locations as Antarctica and active volcanos in the Galapagos Archipelago.
The opening of Sierra Negra was accompanied by a talk by curator Nadim Samman with philosopher Dehlia Hannah, who approaches a scope closely related to Contreras practice in her research and curatorial project A Year Without a Winter which propoeses to seize the bicentennial moment of the catastrophic ‘year without a summer’ of 1816 to enact and inhabit imaginatively a plausible fictional scenario of climate catastrophe.

Each of the four works in Sierra Negra links different trajectories evolving from
environmental science, historical architecture, ecological production as labour, diversification and the prolific coexisence of species, morphing them into sediments of interferences. The pieces Home, no home (2012) and Anticipation to an absence (2014) merge the registers of labour, production and architecture. Home, no home synthesizes various paths of research on the relation between human, habitat, migrating architectures and injustice, within the joints of fragile, a scaled version of a 17th century house, made of scrapings of buildings related to slavery in Bordeaux, France, the third most active European port at that time. Creating an inevitable physical relation to the visitors body in the space with the micro-refuge as enclave, it indicates the mobile hegemonies, built into the scaffolds of cultural teqnique and historical narratives.

Home, no home (2012)
Anticipation to an absence (2014)

In Anticipation to an absence (2014) the conjecture of architectural and material performativity is shifted towards a mutational agenda, the metabolistic ontology of labour. In order to produce the piece, Contreras has developed a biological 3D printer creating an artificially produced living forest, a symbiosis of a biodegradable plastic filament and Lion’s mane fungi (Hericium erinaceus) growing in agar. The piece reveals an enticing intersection of object economies, assemblages of ecological labour. Anticipation to an absence encounters and confronts the inverted potentialities of the anthropocene, Developing a momentum of it’s own.

Paul Rosero Contreras practice is a proficient entanglement of experiment, reasearch and poesis, excavating sediments of latent and effective hybrid ecologies. His work conjures the tactile metabolisms and the performativity of material circuits as sites of production, as speculative heterotopia. Sierra Negra is a living amalgam of transient environments and hybrid objects, constituting the subsidence of a monstrous contemporary and a future of objects continuously actualized in its afterlife.

Text: Anna Gien


[1] Lucretius


Import Projects
27 April – 25 May, 2017
Curated by Anja Henckel & Nadim Samman
Project Architect: Gustav Duesing