Figure 3. Paul Sietsema

20 may, 2009 - 21 september, 2009 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 4

This, the first individual exhibition devoted to the work of Paul Sietsema (Los Angeles, USA, 1968), brings together large-scale drawings along with the film Figure 3 (2008) as his considerations of the practices and the discursive and ideological environment of modern art in the West are displayed. During the five years it took to produce Figure 3, Sietsema documents the reconstruction of various artefacts from ancient cultures, reconstructing them using photographs and materials that differ from the originals. Far from wanting to supplant the originals with his works, Sietsema is more concerned with illustrating the passing of time. To film such objects he uses a 16mm format, carrying out experiments with light, colour and the materials of the objects in order to produce certain tactile effects; thus he is able to imprint a new kind of distance - the representation and rendering of the format, along with the typical elements of anthropology documentaries, scientific photography and experimental cinema.

Furthermore, the drawings present in the exhibition constitute references to the artist's work and offer reflections on commercial and colonial expansion in the West. These are joined by the movie Lecture Film (2008), in which the artist examines his work and production processes.

Over the course of his recent output, Sietsema has chosen photographs from the anthropology and ethnography books that he has collected. These images, primarily of lost indigenous and cultural artefacts, colonisations, Western expeditions and industrialisation, form the basis of his work. Sietsema reconstructs these objects in three dimensions as he aims to structure a type of loss caused by their representation. Through the images he builds a world that fluctuates between historical periods, documentation and fantasy, while at the centre of his work lies the matter of representation and its figurative and changeable character - the last escape of the subject towards abstraction, the result of cultural mediation.

Through his images, drawings, and objects - filtered through photography - Sietsema explores the way in which the media affects the viewer's perception of a subject whose identity is built by progressive absence and the resulting loss in the means of representing it.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía