23 SEP 2023 | 11am
26 SET Entelechy
Filipe Braga

Jennifer Allora (1974, USA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (1971, Cuba) are a collaborative duo of visual artists who live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Through a research-based approach, their works trace intersections of history, material culture, ecology, and politics, using a multiplicity of artistic media that include performance, sculpture, sound, video, and photography.

Entelechy highlights a series of sculpture-performance based works that are central to Allora & Calzadilla’s trajectory, such as Hope Hippo (2005), Stop, Repair, prepare: Variations on ‘Ode to Joy’ for a Prepared Piano (2008), Lifespan (2014) and Entelechy (2020), which will be regularly staged throughout the course of the exhibition in collaboration with local musicians and performers.

Entelechy is a monumental coal sculpture cast from a tree felled by lightning. It references the type of petrified tree that might be found in coal deposits, sources of potential energy. Allora & Calzadilla sourced a Scots pine (pinus sylvestris) found in the forest of Montignac, France—the same forest where a group of teenagers discovered, in 1940, the now-famous Lascaux Cave by following the path indicated by a similar tree’s upturned roots after a storm. Thus, an underground cavern containing hundreds of prehistoric wall drawings emerged in the middle of the geopolitical upheaval of World War II. In Allora &Calzadilla’s work, the only image of a human figure ever found in the cave—representing a hybrid of human and bird—also becomes the basis for the score that the composer David Lang developed together with the artists. Allora & Calzadilla describe Entelechy as “a tree of pure potentiality, of past sunlight converted into a reserve of energy, as human voices intermingle. Through their energetic utterances, the vocalists appear as if attempting to ignite the tree upon which they sing; yet they never manage to tap into the immensity of this natural scene.”

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