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Camilo Ontiveros wins ARCOmadrid prize

February 21, 2010 |  9:48 am

Camilo Ontiveros Camilo Ontiveros has won the 2010 Illy Prize at ARCOmadrid, the contemporary art fair that closes Sunday in Spain. Designed for artists under 35 participating in the special section "Panorama: Los Angeles," the prize includes an award of 15,000 euros (about $20,000).

As at ARCO, Ontiveros' solo debut last summer at Steve Turner Contemporary featured salvaged washing machines that had been carefully restored and painted in pristine hues at a local auto-body shop. The work mixes a variety of sculpture and painting traditions, as well as functional and conceptual value systems.

Jurors Kris Kuramitsu and Christopher Miles, independent curators from L.A., and Carlo Bach, artistic director of the Italian coffee company Illycaffe, told the audience at Friday's announcement:

For this award, we chose ... an artist whose practice we believe embodies the experimental spirit that often has driven some of the most compelling work to have come out of Los Angeles, and that has defined the era in which Los Angeles has come of age as a cultural capital. [Ontiveros'] work touches upon a complex range of genres and concerns, from immigration and urban economies to process art, Minimalism and finish fetish.

Seventeen artists from 12 galleries participating in ARCO's special section were considered for the prize. My review of Ontiveros' summer debut show in Los Angeles, "I Want Your Washing Machine," is here.

-- Christopher Knight

Photo: Camilo Ontiveros. Credit: Steve Turner Contemporary

Follow Times art critic Christopher Knight at KnightLAT on Twitter.


 
Comments () | Archives (1)

I thought for years that artists today have a lot in common with the impulses that drive Junkers, restorers of antiques and hobbyists who build miniature panoramas featuring their trains and cars. That drive that compels the mutation of the banal household product into art has been harnessed into a dominant force in art today.
This next step was inevitable.
Camilo Ontiveros is stripping down that idea into something far better by doing less, so this artist outmaneuvers everyone who making clever entities from banal objects by closing the chapter on that tired form. By just putting a coat of paint on an object, you don’t have to use the artifice of ego by making something into something else. Really if you connect the dots, using one thing a sculptural form to make something else it just the same as old fashioned sculpture. Forget transmutation of things into metaphor objects; just let an object be art. Genius. Bravo ARCO Madrid!!

What strikes me as the next step in this gentleman’s work is eliminating the painting the washing machines. Why be such a slave to surface artifice? Why not just present the washers in their informal state? The unvarnished bravery of just presenting the objects “as is” seems more innovative to me.



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