Sergio Vega, Tropical Rush
Curated by Pablo Schugurensky

For the past ten years, Sergio Vega has developed a project titled "El Para’so en el Nuevo Mundo" [Paradise in the New World]. Based on a book of the same name written by Antonio de Leon Pinelo in 1650, Vega’s project includes a growing number of photographs, sculptures, videos and text-based works that document his journeys to Pinelo’s paradise, located by Vega in modern day Brazil. Vega aligns Pinelo with Dante, who traveled through Hell and Purgatory to arrive in the celestial paradise. And like Dante and Pinelo, the artist has encountered people and places of unexpected historical and social significance.

Vega’s contemporary view of Pinelo’s Paradise is of a landscape marked with architectural evidence of European Colonialism adapted to the vernacular. These Baroque or Modern buildings dialogue with the dwellings and visual culture of the native populations. At Open Satellite, Vega will extend the focus of his project to examine the resettlement of communities in relation to the Klondike Gold Rush, reflecting on the physical, social, and emotional effects of new settlements. Vega will tie this local material into his larger conversation with Colonialism and the myth of the Earthly Paradise, presenting a series of large photographs and a seven-minute video. The centerpiece of the installation will be the transformation of the gallery’s window wall into a tropical dark forest silhouette, intended to conjure the impenetrable forest of Dante and the elusiveness of the unconscious, as well as represent the physical absence of the forest in the present environment.

Born in Argentina, Sergio Vega attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 1992, and in 1996, received an MFA in sculpture from Yale University. He has staged solo shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and Palais de Tokyo, Paris and has appeared in numerous international exhibitions and surveys, including the 2005 Venice Biennale, the 2001 Yokohama Triennale, the 2000 Kwangju and Lyon Biennales, Sonsbeek 9 at the Arnhem Museum of Modern Art, and Site Santa Fe’s 1999 International Biennial. Vega is the recipient of a 1999 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a 1990 Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant. Since 1999, he has been on the faculty of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida in Gainesville.


Exhibition Dates
May 22-July 5, 2008

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Opening Event
Thursday, May 22, 6:30-9:30 PM

Artist Lecture
Saturday, May 24, 4 PM
Art Gallery Auditorium, Free

Press Release [ 36kb, PDF ]

Sergio Vega Video [ offsite ]

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Photography credits: Eduardo Calderón