Stepping On Eggshells: Valeria Vilar’s ‘El Pájaro Del Brujo’ @ Schlifka Molina Posted on 23 Aug 03:39 , 0 comments

Article by George Nelson.

Tread carefully when entering contemporary art gallery Schlifka Molina — Valeria Vilar’s wafer-thin installation litters the floor with little space to maneuver. Traversing my size elevens through the minefield of brittle ape, fox, and pig masks was no easy task; it was no wonder gallery owner Ezequiel Schlifka cast a watchful, and concerned, gaze over proceedings. Entitled “El pájaro del brujo” — The bird of the witch — Argentine Vilar’s exhibition is striking, unusual, and unnerving in equal measure, drawing influence from Kenya Hara’s Japanese book of poetry “White”.  Bleached bones, skulls, and fantasy merge on the cold, unforgiving floor of the gallery creating an oddly haunting scene.

Stepping On Eggshells: Valeria Vilar’s ‘El Pájaro Del Brujo’ @ Schlifka Molina 1

Hara wrote of the power of white, silence, emptiness and minimalism, all wrapped in Japanese aesthetics. The skull features prominently, notably weathered noggins in a field altered by rain, wind, and sunlight. Vilar has interpreted this scene using plaster of Paris animal heads, some smashed into smithereens, others whole and staring blankly at the ceiling. The casts and white walls of the gallery resonate purity but there is also something sinister simmering beneath the pearly façade of the void animal expressions — as if a great tragedy has occurred, both obliterating and freezing the unfortunate souls in time.

The vacated animal shells also create the illusion of shed skins, further adding to the belief that the subjects of the installation departed long before the viewer arrived. Perhaps they have left for another world, the masks vestiges of their former selves, like a shadow.  These are only ideas, but Vilar certainly poses the audience questions. Accompanying the remains on the floor are a series of pastel drawings depicting soft, swirling shapes — counteracting the taciturn beasts facing heavenwards. It’s hard to decipher what the images represent but they are undoubtedly organic and soften the atmosphere in the space. Are they the ghosts of the defunct?

Stepping On Eggshells: Valeria Vilar’s ‘El Pájaro Del Brujo’ @ Schlifka Molina 2

I was really influenced by the works of Hara,” Vila told My Beautiful Air. “am going to continue working in the same style with both my paintings and drawings, perhaps even creating an installation on the seashore as my next project.”

Vilar has had a number of exhibitions over the last few years including her 2012 “Polvo de Hadas” at Buenos Aires’ Galería Central de Proyectos and “Disfraz de Tigre” at Centro Cultural 25 de Mayo in 2011. Her work was even evident at ArtBA, Argentina’s principle art fair attracting a host of renowned Argentina and International artists. And while her most recent show veers offers something other than her favored medium of paint and pencil on canvas, the quirky, mystical ambience remains.

Stepping On Eggshells: Valeria Vilar’s ‘El Pájaro Del Brujo’ @ Schlifka Molina 3

Palermo’s Schlifka Molina gallery was a wise choice to roll out Vilar’s new style, given the establishment prides itself on “making galleristic curatorial practice and experimentation a practical platform to other fields.” Other artists affiliated with Schlifka Molina include Benveniste Perla, Chen Alli, and Maimborg Ak Von — all of whom are pretty experimental in their methods and subject matter.