Exhibition title: Elevation: Denver
Artist: Tony Labat
Exhibition Dates: June 12 - 28, 2014
Exhibition Space: Emmanuel Gallery
Co-curated by Cortney Lane Stell and Jacquelyn Connolly
Tony Labat’s Elevation: Denver is part social sculpture and part site specific installation. This installation was the first realized sculpture that is part of a larger series of drawings from 2012. The drawings come from Labat’s investigation into the historic and contemporary functions and uses of stages and platforms— from entertainment to politics. With an eye toward human relations and their social context, this body of work draws fromAmerican Idol performances to stripper stages.
Without being polemical, the cross-shaped sculpture has an intentional relation to the gallery space around it. Labat's installation purportedly probed Denver’s oldest standing church structure, turned synagogue, turned artist’s studio, turned Emmanuel Gallery. The works on the second floor of the gallery delved deeper into the history of the space and the history of the artist’s investigation into stage structures. The sculpture also stood as an invitation to the audience and, as such, challenges the stereotypical air of exclusivity common to art exhibition spaces. Labat’s installation gives permission to anyone who walks into the gallery to activate the work.
Since the early eighties Labat has been an important participant in the California performance and video scene. A pioneer of video installations, his work often identifies the “outsider,” whether the artist or the immigrant. Born in Cuba, he frequently addresses issues of displacement and marginalization. Labat’s extensive thirty-year exhibition history is populated with exhibitions at spaces such as The New Museum in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Havana Biennial — to name a few.
The exhibition was in collaboration with Art Plant residency.
Photography: Sara Ford