In ankaylli: spatial and ideological terrain, on view at Marfa Contemporary October 6 through December 22, 2017, artist William Cordova continues his examination of the intersection of Pre-‐Columbian traditions, modern architecture, and spiritualism. In this installation and larger project Cordova’s inquiry is inflected through the lens of the history of Marfa, a town that is located roughly sixty miles from Mexico and that is known to many today as the place where artist Donald Judd moved to in the early 1970s and made some of his best-‐known works.
William Cordova was born in Lima, Peru and lives in Miami, Florida and New York. He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996 and an MFA from Yale University in 2004. He has participated in residency programs at, among other institutions, Artpace San Antonio, Texas, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and the American Academy in Berlin, Germany. His work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru, among other museums. His work has recently been featured in exhibitions at Yerba Buena Center for the Art, San Francisco, California, the Seattle Art Museum, Washington, and SITE Sante Fe, New Mexico, among other institutions. In 2018 the Pérez Art Museum Miami will present a survey of Codova’s work.
Cordova’s installations are poetic. Recently, as at Marfa Contemporary, they have revolved around spiraling scaffold-‐like wooden structures installed with objects that call for investigation: the chipped remains of a mural by Lee Quiñones (quilt (metaphysics of space & time), 1981-‐2013), a record playing the sounds of ants at work (physical graffiti (or synthesis we knew about), 2016), a feather and stone attached by wires and a hairband (untitled (transmissions), 2016), a trail of palm-‐sized spheres made of concrete and organic materials from various locales (untitled (follow the drinking gourd), 2017). Such items, along with those that will surround the structure at Marfa Contemporary—a suite of polaroids of spherical objects floating in space (pulsar, 2010-‐2016), renderings of architectural elements drawn with Peruvian cacao, collages featuring vernacular cultural products (Howard Johnson’s, a boombox), a film playing a live feed from Peru— suggest the constellation of traditions and activities that circulate together to construct the culture of a given place.
While Cordova makes objects and installations that reflect on the construction of culture, his practice revolves around research and engagement with people.
Ankaylli: spatial and ideological terrain is inflected by Cordova’s research in and on Marfa, and comprises the installation at Marfa Contemporary, a workshop with area residents that will result in spheres for the structure and a constellation of locations around town, a website related to the constellation, a free broadsheet featuring source material, and free public programming that will illuminate Cordova’s practice and project in Marfa.
The exhibition and project ankaylli: spatial and ideological terrain connects the seemingly disparate, from the spatial (Marfa and Peru) to the cultural (indigenous practices in the Americas and US-‐Euro Minimalism) to the temporal (past and present). In doing so ankaylli: spatial and ideological terrain bridges non-‐Western and Western ideologies and recovers networks that have been elided from history. Using ankaylli, a Quechuan word meaning transformer or revolution, in this project, as in others, Cordova suggests that we all contribute to the construction of culture.
A small book, designed by Chad Kloepfer and edited by Claire Barliant, will document ankaylli: spatial and ideological terrain. The book, published in March 2018, will include color images of the installation and essays by curator Kate Green and Franklin Sirmans, Director of Pérez Art Museum Miami.