Sculpture and society: Pedro Reyes looks to Ancient Greece at Dallas Contemporary

Sculpture and society: Pedro Reyes looks to Ancient Greece at Dallas Contemporary

Ambitious artist Pedro Reyes looks to Ancient Greek art in a new solo exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, in an attempt to create new links between sculpture and the society it inhabits.

In the past, Reyes, who trained as an architect, has addressed gun culture in his native Mexico (in 2008 and in 2012 he worked with local government to melt firearms, using the metal to build shovels for planting trees and musical instruments) and the social problems endemic in cities, such as stress and loneliness. Now, he looks for new arches between his artistic practice and the world we live in by contemplating the connection between Greek statues and philosophy – paying tribute to history’s greatest thinkers, including Plato, Socrates and Epicurus.

Curated by Justine Ludwig, ’For Future Reference’ continues to explore space as a way of opening up the possibilities that can improve human communication and understanding. Among the new and recent works on show include Plato’s Cave. In response to the philosopher’s allegory about our perception of reality, Reyes has rendered the cave as an architectural space. Elsewhere, he has worked with stone and marble to create sculptures that translate the ideas into material form: Colloquium is a tower made of interlocking speech bubbles reflecting on the co-existence of ideas within a single structure.

In a further series produced for the museum, Reyes revisits found materials, sourcing photographic images of statuary from different periods and places, printing them on to cloth, cutting them to size and assembling them on canvas – a kind of timeline of references that juxtaposes the ancient and the modern to construct something for posterity. As Reyes has stated previously: ’If something is dying, becoming rotten and smelly, I think there is a chance to make a compost in which this vast catalog of solutions can be mixed in an entirely new way.’

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