Luhring Augustine is pleased to announce Caída libre (Free fall), an exhibition by Miguel Calderón, featuring a film and sculptural installation centered on the theme of falconry. This presentation in the gallery’s Bushwick location is organized in collaboration with kurimanzutto, Mexico City.
For Calderón, falconry presents a unique interdependence between man and animal, predicated on the falconer’s desire to connect with nature and the bird’s instinctual drive to hunt for survival. His interest towards the subject originates from his personal experience of having a hawk as a young boy. Struck by the years of discipline it takes in training one’s bird, he became fascinated with the obsessive, almost compulsory fixation one develops in maintaining this partnership.
Calderón’s film illustrates this relationship through the story of Camaleón, a bouncer at a nightclub in Mexico City who takes his falcon out hunting every morning. Camaleón regards his bird with respect, lust, and admiration. He watches her hunt empathically, as if to relive his own pursuits and conquests. Violence pervades Camaleón’s life, both in the chaotic atmosphere of his daily occupation as well as his homicidal past. Such brutality, however, stands in direct opposition to his unwavering affection for his falcon, on which he depends as if it were a euphoric drug.
The risk of losing one’s bird during each hunt consumes the falconer with an incontrovertible fear. It is the material of Camaleón's nightmares, mitigated only by the sight of his falcon settled safely on its perch. Calderón's sculptural installation of abandoned falcon perches harps on this potentiality. Without their occupants, these objects take on a sculptural quality. Crafted and individualized, they are imbued with a sense of ritual and personal history; each functioning as an extension of the falconer. Though removed from their original contexts, the knowledge of their former status circles the audience back to the moment of disconnection between man and animal, to questions of their respective survival, and the memory of their final hunt together.
Miguel Calderón (b. 1971) is known for constructing narratives around everyday situations that comprise the cultural landscape of his native Mexico City. His work covers a broad range of themes ranging from violence and corruption, to youth and family dynamics; all are portrayed with a hint of theatricality, the macabre, and the fantastical. He has been the recipient of the Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation Grant and Commissions Program (2013), The MacArthur Fellowship for Film and New Media (2000), and the Bancomer/Rockefeller Fellowship (1995). Important solo exhibitions include Miguel Calderón: Color Bleed, Rochester Art Center, Rochester; Miguel Calderón, Casa América, Madrid; Conversations with a Tropical Vulture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Bestseller, Panorámica, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; and Ridiculum Vitae, La Panadería, Mexico City.