Opened September 15, 2017
Known for his figurative sculptures and totemic forms, sculptor Miguel Antonio Horn charts new artistic territory in Dissonance, his site-specific installation at Taller Puertorriqueño. Using shaped and unshaped found objects, plated planes, and recorded sound, Dissonance explores the boundaries of power and powerlessness, oppression and resistance.
Using mangled and misshapen pots and pans, he evokes the “cacerolazos” of Venezuela, protests in which citizens take to the streets and bang pots and pans in response to the crises currently gripping the country. The cacerolazos epitomize the public’s outcry, while the curved plated planes allude to the shields used by the police to subdue the crowds. Horn was inspired in part by similarities he perceived between the protests in Venezuela and news stories here in the United States about police brutality and their response to protesters with military hardware and tactics. The sound design, which was done in collaboration with the artist and musician Daniel de Jesús, gives the work resonance beyond its physical form.
Horn encourages visitors to walk through the installation and respond to the objects and environment. Unlike his other works, the spectator is enveloped by the work, including the evocative soundscape created by de Jesús. Visitors are even allowed to clang the pots with the kitchen utensils.
As an artist, Horn regards himself as an impartial observer who nonetheless is troubled by the increasing disparity between ordinary people and unyielding political systems that supposedly represent them. Fascinated by deterioration and decay as a means to delineate time and impermanence, Horn experiments with composition, scale, place, and the distortion of form and volume to create experiences that resonate with the viewer. Horn’s art-making process is intuitive and illustrates what he describes as his “essential search to communicate” and to “convey introspection and struggle.”
A native of the Philadelphia region, Miguel Antonio Horn has Colombian and Venezuelan roots. He received a certificate in 2006 from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and apprenticed for five years with Mexican artist Javier Marín. Horn has exhibited his large-format sculptures in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Tamaulipas, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and as part of the Vancouver Biennale. His public art commissions are on view throughout the Philadelphia area, Canada, and Mexico. He maintains a studio at the West Philadelphia artist-run workspace, Traction Company, where he organizes exhibitions and contributes to outreach and development. He is currently constructing a monumental sculpture, Contrafuerte, for Center City near the Reading Terminal Market and Convention Center as part of the Percent for Art Program.
Passion & Protest: Songs of Resistance
Diana Sáez and Friends
Saturday, October 28 at 7 pm
Connecting to Dissonance, Taller presents an intimate performance of passionate songs of protest from Spain and the Americas. Through their political commitment and powerful lyricism, artists such as Rafael Hernández, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Caetano Veloso, and Joan Manuel Serrat created songs that are emblematic of struggles for freedom and social justice–both past and present. Performers Diana Sáez and Friends (Pável Urkiza, Suzzette Ortiz, and Christian Noguera) offer stirring contemporary renditions of these timeless classics.
This performance is part of Taller’s Diálogo Series, whose goal is to deepen our understanding of broader social issues of struggle, community, economic upheaval, and identity. Funding for Diálogo has been provided by a generous grant from PNC Arts Alive, a multi-year initiative of the PNC Foundation dedicated to supporting visual and performing arts groups with the goal of increasing arts access and engagement in new and innovative ways.