kuntur: sacred geometries presents new and recent works by artist, writer, curator, and educator william cordova. Born in Lima, Peru, and now based in Miami, Lima, and New York, the artist engages with time, displacement, and the histories of places and objects. He cites his particular interest in “reframing history and making the invisible visible” as he interweaves evocative materials—such as gold leaf, feathers, Peruvian cacao, and paint chips reclaimed from a famous 1970s graffiti mural— into richly layered works. cordova describes this exhibition as a “synthesis of Andean and Western architecture, sacred geometries, and historical narratives.” Combining research, travel, writing, drawing, photography, and film, he creates an installation inspired, in part, by the Kuntur (The Condor) constellation. Kuntur was one of the Incan Empire’s “dark constellations,” found in areas of darkness within the Milky Way Galaxy. As the artist points out, “constellations give form to imaginary outlines shared by different cultures at different times and geographical locations.” The exhibition and programming are designed to connect cultures and build a stronger sense of community.
Although informed by other times and places, several of the works in the exhibition are directly linked to the history, architecture, and residents of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois: as source material for the works on view, as collaborators in constructing new sculptures, and as participants in programming. In Spring 2017, cordova spent four weeks as a visiting artist-in-residence in Illinois State University’s School of Art. While here, he began a new series of small coffee drawings on paper, which feature architectural structures in and near Normal, objects linked to his memories of those spaces, and signifiers of his personal interactions in the community. For example, some of the drawings feature: a lonely string of party lights projecting inexplicably from an upright broom, a woven geometric pattern created from the outlines of Watterson Towers’ projecting facades, a television antenna that alludes to a cross, words overheard on the bus, or items found on the ground during one of his walks. Twenty of these drawings are on view, as well as groupings of Polaroids the artist completed while in Bloomington-Normal. He is also collaborating with ISU students and members of the public to produce two new concrete sculptures that will be added to the exhibition as they are created.
Also included in the exhibition is sacred geometries (4T.A.) , a new collaborative 16mm film made by cordova and artists Luis Gispert, Edra Soto, and Barron Sherer, which they describe as a “static- movement portrait” of the late artist Terry Adkins (1953–2014). Adkins—a distinguished Illinois State University alumnus (M.S. 1977) whose work has been exhibited and honored internationally— was a close friend of cordova and Gispert. cordova and University Galleries’ Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz researched where Adkins lived while he was a graduate student at ISU and secured permission for Soto to temporarily hang and photograph one of his artworks from University Galleries’ Permanent Collection in the Normal, Illinois, apartment. Sherer filmed the resulting photographs with a Bolex 16mm film camera and Gispert created an accompanying soundtrack. The result is a subtle and poetic tribute to Adkins’ profound influence.
william cordova’s work has been exhibited at prestigious venues including the Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. His works are in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Harvard University; and Yale University, among many others. cordova has published numerous essays and curated more than twenty-five exhibitions. He also volunteers as a visiting artist for various community colleges and mentors students in different cities throughout the United States. He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from Yale University. He is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, and 80M2 Livia Benavides Gallery, Lima, Peru.
william cordova: kuntur: sacred geometries is organized by University Galleries’ Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz and is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the Illinois State University Foundation Fund, and a Town of Normal Harmon Arts grant. Programs at University Galleries are sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
Saturday, August 11 at 9am (Downtown Bloomington Association’s Farmers’ Market, Northwest corner of the Museum Square)
Public workshop with william cordova. Members of the public are invited to create a collaborative concrete sculpture in the shape of a boombox with Cordova. Participants should bring a personal object that can be transformed into an ingredient and then added into the concrete mixture. The completed collective sculpture will be displayed in the exhibition at University Galleries.
August 16 through October 12
Field trip program available for K-12 groups and community organizations. Subsidies for the costs of bussing and substitute teachers are available thanks to a Town of Normal Harmon Arts grant. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this free program.
Wednesday, September 5 at TBD
ISU student workshop with william cordova. ISU students are invited to create a collaborative concrete sculpture in the shape of a boombox with Cordova. Participants should bring a personal object that can be transformed into an ingredient and then added into the concrete mixture. The completed collective sculpture will be displayed in the exhibition at University Galleries.
Thursday, September 6 at noon
Panel discussion with artists william cordova, Edra Soto, and Luis Gispert.
Friday, September 7, from 5 to 7pm: Public reception with the artist
Saturday, September 22 at 1pm
Exhibition tour and workshop co-presented with the Children’s Discovery Museum. Participants (ages 7-10) will meet at the CDM, come to University Galleries for an exhibition tour, and return to the CDM for an exhibition-related artmaking activity. Registration is required for this free program at childrensdiscoverymuseum.net . This program is made possible by an Illinois Prairie Community Foundation—Mirza Arts and Culture grant awarded to the CDM.
Saturday, August 11
9 am at the Downtown Bloomington Association's Farmers' Market
Wednesday, September 5
Thursday, September 6
Friday, September 7
5 pm – 7 pm
Saturday, September 22