While It's Hot

Saba Gallery offers a mixed bag of French art — for now, at least.

I've saved the best for last: Homo Mediaticus, a remarkable installation by Roberto Moreno, a Venezuelan-born artist who was formerly a cameraman for network television. Saba has a handful of paintings by Moreno, and a gallery assistant told me he paints as a respite from his installation work, which is understandable — Homo Mediaticus is nothing if not ambitious and clearly labor-intensive.

The piece takes up about 25 to 30 square feet of floor space and sits on a white tarp streaked with black paint, cordoned off by white nylon rope strung between makeshift white stanchions. (The overall color scheme is basic black and white.) Four clusters of objects dominate the space: a white female mannequin sitting on a white chair; a bundled stack of newspapers streaked with paint; a round basket painted black, stenciled with the word RECYCLE and filled with discarded electrical components and fragments of plaster body parts; and a large cube collaged with newspaper and smeared with paint, sprouting ten featureless white plaster heads, one with a transparent cranium revealing circuitry.

Wait, there's more. Two metal hoses issue from the cube, one connecting to the mannequin, the other linking to the RECYCLE basket. And the whole conglomeration is animated by a pair of screens, both broadcasting the same seemingly random segments of black-and-white video. The larger screen is set within the side of the cube facing the seated figure; the smaller one is mounted in the middle of the mannequin's back.

Linger behind the mannequin for a few moments, so that both screens are in your line of sight, and you'll suddenly see yourself — there's a tiny camera concealed among the heads atop the cube, and from time to time, the prerecorded video footage is interrupted by live shots from this little camera, seamlessly integrated into images of, say, Elián González being rescued or fighter jets taking flight.

Such extreme art is not to everyone's taste, I realize. But Moreno's installation is easily one of the most adventurous works I've ever seen in a gallery this side of Miami. Saba has plenty of other quality work to recommend it, but this piece alone makes it worth a visit.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
 
Loading...