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Gonzalo Lebrija - Who knows where the time goes

October 24, 2013 by Kay

Until 20th November 2013

Faggionato Gallery

Gonzalo Lebrija's compelling and refined conceptual works offer a perspective on our modern age, critical of a society that no longer believes in Myths, Gods or Monsters and yet remains fearful, isolated and restless. The artist’s videos, photographs and installations are imbued with a probing intensity, as he invites us to observe political and corporate structures, male violence, and reflects on traditional hierarchies and long held assumptions. Often with a wistful and bittersweet melancholy, Lebrija’s works ensure that we examine our own desires and reactions to these themes.

Still from 'Who knows where the time goes' 2013 Film ed.1/5+2 AP 5:10 min

This exhibition, Who knows where the time goes, refers in its title to the Nina Simone song and documents a performance based on Lebrija’s own act of shooting books. Through this action Lebrija intends to establish an intimate dialogue between specific existential concepts – the theory that values are primarily demonstrated in acts not words; that these acts, like ripples on the sea, are persistent. It also alludes to a possible suspension of time, and by default brings us back to reality – and to the actual impossibility of this notion. This is in contrast with the permanency of the ideas found in poetry and literature, through the chapters, paragraphs and sentences in books. The discourse is developed through the process of selecting the literature, and the subsequent sublime act of shooting the books.

The installation is composed of thirty black and white photographs of these books, at the moment of impact by the bullet. The action behind each image remains the same, but the result always different, both poetic and violent. Alongside these photographs is a six minute video presenting the scene of the action, including both full shoots and close ups of the books flying through the air. Is this an act of violence, with its inevitable association of burning books and extreme right wing beliefs? Or is it simply a repetitive action, bringing to mind Nietzsche’s theory of eternal recurrence? Although the great thinkers write these books, at the end they are no wiser about the human condition than the ordinary man.