Portfolio > Swoosh - Nothing But Net

Gallery Sainte Anne, Paris, France

This exhibit was conceptualized in relation to a painting by Panfilo Nuvolone (Cremona 1581 - Milano 1651) called Two Apples and a Lemon.

The introduction of lemons to Europe by the Romans over 1000 years ago marked the beginning of a long history of trade and cultural exchange. Over the centuries, the lemon became a popular ingredient in European cuisine and an important commodity in global trade.

European powers, including Spain and Portugal, established vast empires and trading networks in order to secure access to valuable commodities such as lemons, often through brutal means.

These sculptures made with lemon nets explore the complex mutations of these processes and play with the idea of origin. After such a long history, lemons are produced in various parts of the world. The packaging now comes from China and offers an interplay between cultural and economic powers in a globalized world.

While making this work I was thinking a lot about Pablo Neruda’s quote from one of his love sonnets: "Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through its walls and hang pictures on the air." The work I’m making is intimate and not vast, and yet, the translucence of the sculptures tap into a vastness that derives from the absence of the cargo, the lemons.

In the past I have created a piece called Transatlantic Fishing which was made with a fishing net filled with Santeria objects brought from Cuba to the U.S. in a boat. Growing up in Brazil, African culture was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. From language e.g. axé, vatapá, Candomblé, to musical genres such as Samba, Maracatu, Capoeira, etc. Objects embody and reveal hidden histories. Absence can be a strategy for engagement but also an avoidance of clichès. In the case of Swoosh, it is absence that reveals the complex and long histories of imperialism, not only in the Americas but in Europe itself.

Swoosh in basketball is when the ball goes through the net without touching the rim. It’s both the destination and a transitory event. Just as the swoosh is a momentary triumph, the sculptures I’m creating reside somewhere between the seemingly permanent historical issues they allude to and the ephemerality and fragility of the material itself. This kind of conceptual and material flexibility is interesting to me.