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17 September - 5 November, 2022








Open House: 17 September 12 - 5 PM

Artist Talk: 17 September 4 - 5 PM

Catalyst Contemporary presents “Have & Have-not” a solo exhibition featuring the work of Venezuelan artist Alberto Cavalieri, best known for his large-scale metal sculptures that echo the shape of untethered knots. The exhibition shows a selection of works from the last two decades. In the gallery are twisting sculptures and blocks stacked in symbolic towers and piles, coming together to highlight Cavalieri’s turn towards symbolic sculptures that examine monetary structure, the network of cultural values, and the global consumption of goods. The work featured at Catalyst are poured and cast iron constructions from his earlier works.

Cavalieri’s knot sculptures run the gamut in material and style from the earliest welded and painted steel forms, which seek to hide the method of their making, to highly engineered loops that reveal their fabricated construction. Contorted forms balance precariously defying the possibilities of such heavy and solid structures. At times elegant and polished and other times conveying a look of decay and mangled parts, the artist seeks to reconcile oppositional forces not only materially but also symbolically. These decaying construction forms can be understood as a clear nod to the proliferation of abandoned public projects seen throughout Venezuela. They point out the chasm that exists in that region’s society and directly reflects that mundanity of their real-life counterparts.

In his most recent works, Cavalieri moves this idea of valuation even further from the imagined currency of the ingot and the transfiguration of forgotten municipal fiascos represented in the knot forms. These pieces focuses not on twisting unbendable metal but on stacks and repetitious form. These works are fresh and insightful yet are clearly bound to his earlier ideas found in his knots. In the past decade, he has turned his attention to symbolic sculptures that examine monetary structure, the network of cultural values,  and the global consumption of goods. In one iteration of these sculptures, ingots of actual commodities (e.g. peas, corn, beans) are suspended in transparent resin, ready for warehousing and commercialization in a perceived future.

 In another piece the same familiar shape (the gold bar) is molded to appear as oxygen tanks, precious wood, and other building materials - another part of this possible destiny where these valuables will be exchanged directly, rather than bought and sold.  In a new typology of the stackable block form, he demotes the shape to a 6 x 6 x 20 inch poured concrete block - banal, gray, both useful and useless - and imbued only with the power of recognizable symbols, trademarks, or proper names of art and cultural aristocracy.  

From commodities, to concepts, from corporate brands to cryptocurrencies, Cavalieri’s conceptual cuboids comment on human utilization, exploitation and consumption of resources, and especially our predilection to hunger for more. These multiple bodies of work, purposefully tied together for the exhibit at Catalyst Contemporary, trace Cavalieri’s concerns about human relationships and our responsibilities to each other. The exhibition points to the artist’s deep interest in oppositional forms and function in his representation of a personal vision, as well as very real objects of desire in our obsessive, consumer economy, effectively pointing out deep social divisions.


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