Casilda Sánchez’s current exhibition, Casilda Sánchez: The Temptation of Falling, is a clever remodeling of a reiterated figure. She has scraped Icarus out of the sky, bathed him in honey, waited, and bathed him again just for good measure. The end result is a far more fascinating rendition of the kid who flew too close to the sun.
Aspect/Ratio has arranged a familiar curatorial layout for Sánchez: art hung on the walls of the first room, and a rhythmic video playing on loop in the second. Room one is tight and calculated. Culling passages from Shakespeare and other renowned writers, Sánchez’s flat cutout sentences line the walls alongside collages of Icarus falling from the sky. Is he falling or rising? With wings singed by the sun, perhaps Icarus cannot grasp which course is up or down in Sánchez’s world.
Although the first room’s underlining purpose is to provide context for Icarus as a historical figure, it comes off as an introductory study rather than anything evocative. The texts are arranged in an immaculate fashion with polished T-pins. They emanate a sterile vibe, never jumping out at the viewer since the same words are repeated like a mantra on bleached pages. Sánchez places a single page at the very bottom of an adjacent wall. The gesture forces viewers to crouch down in order to read yet another single line. The first room links narrative elements together, yet the work that follows is truthfully what drives the exhibition.
Sánchez’s video installation, The Temptation of Falling begins with a simple shot of a flattened ground littered with soil and wheat-like stalks. The clouds huddle casting an opaque screen over the sky. Icarus cutouts play a mischievous game of hide-and-seek in between the stalks. Frozen in mid-motion, the game comes to a halt. A single drop taps the ground. One more falls, then two simultaneously.
The light sprinkling of drops accrue into a fixed burst, building in force as rain assaults the ground. Minutes pass and the rain morphs into drips of wet honey rippling on miniature models of Icarus. These paper creatures are cocooned in amber tears. Runoff from the gods. The viewing room’s black walls and sound system invite viewers to recline in a shower of golden moments.
The crescendo of the drops reverberate, swelling in each direction and diving back into a subtle hum. Silence.
Each cycle of heavy rain and nimble scatterings brings a new wave of understanding. The sky dims even further towards the end of the 19-minute long video. Icarus is now in the dark and each droplet connects like constellations branching from one stalk to the next. The video ends and I leave. I can hear it continue on a loop after sitting on a bench outside the gallery. The rain picks up again. I gravitate back inside to see it one more time.
Casilda Sánchez: The Temptation of Falling is on view at Aspect/Ratio Gallery until Saturday, October 22.
All images courtesy of Aspect/Ratio.
Juan Carlos Corredor is a poet-critic attempting to marry the pedestals of institutions with the overshadowed niches of the streets. His criticism strives to spur dialogue across high and lowbrow audiences, probing the cultural values of artworks found in museums versus the mundane moments found everyday. His goal is to combine intellectual observations with intuitive responses in his writing. Juan has interned for In These Times Magazine, Bad at Sports Contemporary Art Talk, and Creative Time Reports.