Artist Cayetano Ferrer reworks icons of modern civilisation for his first museum show in Santa Barbara
History, artefact, and object: Cayetano Ferrer’s work takes an almost archaeological approach to making art, excavating imagined memories from salvaged architectural remnants. The artist, who grew up in Las Vegas, has an alchemical practice that resonates with various forms and aspects of design and architecture - conjuring fantastical transformations from dead, disused and abandoned materials, as he did for his one-night fantasy art bar at LA’s iconic Millennium Biltmore’s Tiffany Ballroom earlier this year.
For his 2014 exhibition ’Composite Arcade’, Ferrer turned chunks of marble, slabs of stone, pieces of tile, and an ashtray from a MGM casino in Las Vegas into a prismatic installation. Now, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Ferrer worked with Roman columns, capitals, and other embellishments from the 1st century - as part of the museum’s ongoing Interventions project, which invites contemporary artists to galvanize elements of the permanent collection.
Ferrer’s expansive casino carpet collage, Remnant Recomposition (2014) (representative of the artist’s continued exploration of the possibilities of ’object prosthetics’) is installed across the floor of the museum’s oldest site - Ludington Court - normally housing its Greco-Roman collection.
This is Ferrer’s first museum show, so what appealed to the show’s curator Julie Joyce about the work? ’Cayetano’s approach ― embracing methodologies of conservation and display and informed by a keen sense of architecture and design ― is particularly intriguing to me. His works are dynamic hybrids ― morphing within themselves, but also, and especially with this installation, within the context of their environment. He was able to take existing works, and build new ones, that engage the space, the collection, and even the history of the Museum in ways that astonish me.’