Art review: Eduardo Consuegra at Richard Telles Fine Art
Two sculptures, two paintings and six works on paper by Colombia-born, L.A.-based Eduardo Consuegra function as a strangely compelling hybrid that might be called an "agitprop lament." "Agitprop" because it relies on the old meaning of the word, as simply the dissemination of urgent ideas. And "lament" because a sense of urgency seems inconceivable.
"Untitled (Kodak, the faster the action...)" deposits an old magazine inside a picture frame, as if it were a butterfly pinned within an airless anthropological display. A page is sliced so that an ad for Kodak film ("America's storyteller") showing a woman holding tennis balls is juxtaposed with another page showing a news photograph of women throwing rocks in an undisclosed conflict.
Elsewhere, a silvery beaded curtain suspended from the gallery ceiling has been made non-functional and impassable. Some strands are too short, others are too long and drag on the floor, and still others are tangled in knots.
Nearby, an exquisitely crafted display table like one you might find in a jewelry store is the pedestal for a chunk of high-density acoustical foam. The sound-absorbing block, resting atop an empty glass box, looks like artificial anthracite.
These and other works recall specific precedents of socially mined contemporary art -- photographer Robert Heinecken's altered news magazines, Felix Gonzalez-Torres' AIDS-era beaded curtains alluding to bodily fluids, Joseph Beuys' anthropological display cases for neutered power sources and more. Consuegra subtly emphasizes his work as a kind of poignant relic for the lost possibility of miracles.
Art's spirit is willing, but its flesh is weak. Within that fragility lies the powerful possibility of poetry.
Richard Telles Fine Art, 7380 Beverly Blvd., (323) 965-5578, through June 18. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.tellesfineart.com
Photo: Eduardo Consuegra, "2+2=4," 2011, mixed media; Credit: Richard Telles Fine Art