FELIPE MERES: GLOBAL ILLUMINATION
November 06, 2019 — January 31, 2020
Curated by Macarena Deij Prado, Ph.D. Candidate
Global Illumination (2018) departs from a selection of Pre-Columbian objects attributed by the Pumapungo Museum in Cuenca, Ecuador, to nine different cultures and which are considered to have anthropomorphic or zoomorphic qualities, and characteristics related to sexuality. The objects were 3D-scanned at the museum with a digital camera through a process of photogrammetry and from the resulting 3D-models an animation was rendered in 3D-modeling software. The film is titled after one of the chief CGI algorithms responsible for accurately simulating the behavior of light and for producing scenes that are photorealistic to a point where one can’t distinguish them from perceived reality.
As Euro-American museums such as the MET, the British Museum and the Smithsonian increasingly dedicate a great amount of resources to 3D-scan and digitize their collections, Global Illumination meditates on the effects of such efforts and on the possibilities of representations of ethnographic artifacts in the present. By deploying one of the most advanced 3D-rendering technologies in CGI as well as borrowing from the aesthetic conventions of museum anthropology and auction house ads, the film probes the realist epistemology and the colonial desire to objectively measure difference that has guided most efforts to represent ethnographic artifacts since the early days of anthropology. The transparency and accuracy of scientific methods are challenged in the film as the hyper-realistic representation of the objects becomes undone and conjure a science-fiction atmosphere—as the objects themselves are rendered opaque by the aesthetic conventions used to represent them.
Felipe Meres’s photographs, films and sculptures explore relationships between structures of meaning and the indeterminate matter that ceaselessly evades their grasp. Whether probing the limits of imaging technologies or charting the social life of materials, Meres’ work invites the viewer to reconsider the patterns of difference we create to make sense of and regulate the objects, bodies and behaviors that surround us.
Felipe Meres was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1988 and currently lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include The Telomeric Cut at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo (2017) and Fsision at Company Gallery, NY (2016). His work has been shown in venues such as the Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador (2018); GAMeC, Italy (2018) and the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, FL (2016). He was an artist in residency at Casa Wabi, Mexico (2018); ArtCenter/South Florida, FL (2016) and Escola de Verão, Capacete, Rio de Janeiro (2012). He holds an MFA from the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College, NY and is currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at The New School, NY. He is the recipient of the 2016 Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Grants & Commissions Award and of the 10th Tom of Finland Foundation Emerging Artist Grand Prize.