Fade into black: sit, chill, look, talk, roll, play, listen, give, take, dance, share
Oct 6 2019
Feb 16 2020
Pia Camil’s work uses textile, sculpture, and performance to create environments which confront the politics of global consumerism through the language of theater and retail. Recently, Camil has begun to recycle and alter textiles to reflect the larger socio-political forces which inform their production and distribution. In several of her works, hundreds of secondhand t-shirts with wildly different logos are sewn together into massive curtains that illustrate a shared cycle of consumption. Inspired by the open-air markets of Latin America, particularly Iztapalapa in Mexico City, the artist comments on a cycle in which shirts designed in the U.S. are manufactured in Latin America or Southeast Asia, worn and discarded in the United States, and then sent back to Latin America to be sold again in second-hand markets, where their logos advocate for causes far removed from local culture. Camil engages the relationship between the Global North and South by re-importing these t-shirts once again into the United States as art so that they may, as the artist says, “haunt” their places of origin.
The highlight of Camil’s upcoming solo project includes Fade into Black (2018), a 341-foot-long curtain of found t-shirts being shown in its third iteration at Queens Museum. Fade into Black was first commissioned by SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, followed by inclusion in her solo exhibition titled Split Wall at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK, and now being shown in Queens as a nearly 360 degree viewing experience that will transform the Queens Museum’s central atrium into a place of repose for museum visitors. In a classic pairing, the jeans of Bluejeaneando (2019) join the t-shirts under the museum’s skylight. Like the t-shirts, the denim sculptures import culture and memories with them into their new role.
Pia Camil (b. 1980, Mexico City) lives and works in Mexico City. She has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with recent solo exhibitions including Telón de Boca, Aichi Triennial Taming Y/Our Passion (2019) and Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City (2018); Split Wall, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2018); Fade into Black, SCAD Museum of Art (2018); Bara, bara, bara, Tramway, Glasgow (2019) and Dallas Contemporary, Dallas (2017); Slats, Skins & Shopfittings, Blum & Poe, New York (2016); A Pot for a Latch, New Museum, New York (2016); Skins, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2015); The Little Dog Laughed, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2014); Espectacular Telón, Sultana Gallery, Paris (2013); Cuadrado Negro, Basque Museum Centre for Contemporary Art, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2013) and El Resplandor at OMR projects, Mexico City (2009).
Image: Pia Camil, Fade into Black, 2018. Courtesy the Queens Museum. Photo by Hai Zhang.
Spanish description from the Queens Museum visitor guide:
Difuminarse en negro: Siéntese, relájese, observe, hable, circule, juegue, escuche, dé, tome, baile, comparta, 6 de oct–16 de feb
Fabricadas en América Latina y el sudeste asiático, las camisetas de algodón de esta instalación viajaron al norte para ser impresas, usadas y desechadas, luego viajaron al sur nuevamente en masa para ser vendidas en los mercados de segunda mano de la Ciudad de México. La artista mexicana Pia Camil las ha cosido y las ha importado nuevamente como una obra de arte masiva similar a una cortina. Siéntese en la alfombra o en las esculturas mullidas rellenas y pregúntese: ¿cómo cambia el mensaje de una camiseta cuando cruza las fronteras?
Pia Camil, Fade into black: sit, chill, look, talk, roll, play, listen, give, take, dance, share is made possible by lead support from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation. Additional support provided by Mex-Am Cultural Foundation, Inc. Carpet generously provided by Mohawk Group. Special thanks to Galería OMR, Gensler, Blum & Poe, and Mexican Cultural Institute New York. Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Lambent Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. The official hotel sponsor of the Queens Museum is Boro New York.
Major funding for the Queens Museum is generously provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Lambent Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. The official hotel sponsor of the Queens Museum is Boro New York.