August 17 – September 21, 2019
Make Room is pleased to present Blossoming Carcass, an exhibition of new works by artist duo ASMA. The exhibition extends the duo's experimental, sensational, and embodied exploration of how objects enter into a conversation with the world they inhabit. Blossoming Carcass features a series of sculptures, paintings, and installations in the metaphor of an exoskeleton. Echoing a fantastical language, this process of molting as a poetic transformation speaks to the human experiences of letting go, mourning, and reviving: a process similar to that of the insect leaving its pupal body to grow larger.
The artists’ collaborative practice enables the coexistence of differences. In this new body of works, an imaginary space connects a series of compelling personal narratives of death and love. Both the imaginary and the real elements merge in material and figurative manners, transforming them into a third space—a poem about a blossoming carcass as a continuation of life after death. In this abandoned place, growth continues, and the vestiges of a previous natural life mutate into new forms.
A long, gray creature extends across the gallery space like a snake rising with its mouth open. It emerges from far back, through a small, fenced window that connects two different areas. Behind this window, there is a room with a sand-covered floor, where the other end of the gray creature originates, lying across the window and thus inhabiting both spaces. A flowerlike pendulum hangs in the center of the sand room, moving subtly and leaving its marks on the sand. The pendulum sculpture is cast in bronze, shaped like a flat drawing. Tea leaves are suspended in its resin, mimicking a stained-glass ornament, and it holds a rolled-up green leaf in a pocket at its center. Like an abstract form of a sand clock, the sculpture becomes a scribe of its own movement on the impermanent sand surface. The sculpture also functions as a container, holding leaves at different stages of their decay, generating a process of cultivation. In the corner of the room, a dark, organically-shaped bowl contains murky water with aquatic mosses and an organism-like figure at the bottom, appearing through the sediment.
Blossoming Carcass narrates the story of a living skeleton-keeper and her relationship with the creatures in her care. Fragments of this narrative are combined with a material interplay that oscillates between sculptural and painted qualities. In this conjunction, the exoskeleton is an exchange between the structure and the surface, a coexistence of two states. A delicate feeling of otherness comes from within, evoking a familiar sensation linked with the similar human capacity for transformation. The process of molting is taking place slowly, and its remnants occupy the space in an apparent stillness.
ASMA is an artist duo formed by the Ecuadorian artist Matias Armendaris (b. 1990) and the Mexican artist Hanya Belia (b. 1994) based in Mexico City, with an interest in fusing opposites, seeking plurality of understanding. A widening breadth of possible readings supports a de-hierarchization of interpretations, therefore generating a diverse knowledge. The artists focus on developing work produced exclusively through active collaboration, in the way that a Venn diagram illustrates—the collision of two different universes that generates an intersectional area of exchange and syncretism. It emerges in this thin membrane which separates two things, a third living space that integrates them. ASMA inhabits this space actively in the production process, where there is a constant practice of democracy, difference, and mutability.
The duo has exhibited internationally including The Chicago Artist Coalition (USA), Galería Sankovsky (São Paulo),The Gallery-Museum of Lendava (Slovenia), Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Quito (Ecuador), XIV Bienal de Cuenca (Ecuador), Mx Gallery (NY, USA), Diablo Rosso Gallery (Panamá), Galería CURRO (México), Access Gallery (Canadá), Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro (México). They received the Premio Brasil Awards to do a Residency at Pivô Arte e Pesquisa in São Paulo. The duo has participated in various international Art Fairs including ArtLima (Perú), Material Art Fair (México) Zona MACO (México) ArteBA (Argentina), Artissima (Italy) and CHACO (Chile) where they received the Coleccion CASA award to the best booth in the emerging section. They both received an MFA in the Painting and Drawing Department from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a full merit scholarship (The New Artist Scholarship Award). Armendaris holds a BFA in drawing and printmaking from Emily Carr University with both an entrance merit scholarship and The Christopher Foundation Scholarship, and Belia holds a BFA in Visual Arts from the Facultad de Artes y Diseño de la Universidad Autónoma de México (FAD - UNAM). They are recently nominated for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) Grants and Commissions Program, 2020. This is ASMA’s first exhibition with Make Room Los Angeles.