From 02/01/2024 to 03/23/2024
Madrid, Spain

The exhibition volcanic asterisk fruit avatar by the collective assume vivid astro focus (avaf) at Marlborough features Peruvian alpaca wool tapestries, anodized aluminum curtains, and acrylic paintings on double sheets of corrugated kraft paper.


All the works in the exhibition have their germ in a mask created in 2008 for an immersive installation at Area Sacra di Largo Argentina –where the assassination of Julius Caesar occurred– in Rome, a public art project curated by Francesco Bonami, who commissioned them to open the site of archaeological interest for the first time to the public. This space was unused for a long time, during which time it was home to a colony of stray cats and became a feline sanctuary. To integrate its initial inhabitants, avaf decided to create two cat masks that were distributed at the inauguration, so that the public would not frighten the legitimate locals. Thus, visitors became animals and entered into other perspectives on the world: the mask has been associated with the concealment of identity and, paradoxically, sometimes covers our sight in order to be able to scrutinize freely. This also allows us to dilute the identity of individuals in a collective belonging, which connects with the associative practice of avaf.

Using a stencil of this mask, the collective held an exhibition that same year at Peres Projects in Berlin. Subsequently, the image of the mask continued to be manipulated until it became wallpaper. At La Conservera in Murcia, in 2010, the mask would reappear metaphorically in the form of a pyramid based on fragments of a labyrinthine installation previously exhibited at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo. From the fragments of this pyramid came the idea to start creating paintings, which did not materialize until 2014 at Suzanne Geiss in New York.


From 2016, when autophagy becomes a constant, avaf begins to investigate how to reproduce the color intensity of the computer screen with acrylic and pigment starting from the initial shapes and glitches of the Rome mask archive. The idea of this illuminated color is to transmit energy to the viewer: there is a healing aspect to this tonal energy, which inoculates a positive and lively state. The mask is also conducive to this therapy, somewhere between healing by dissociation of identity and reconciliation with the incarnation of other species and forms of life. In the festive ecstasy of a carnival celebration, among masks and bright colors, we can symbolize and personify forgiveness, forgetfulness, offering or gratitude. We mask ourselves to heal, to make ourselves other (or to expose who we really are without limitations) for a limited period of time, and this performative action allows us to reconstruct ourselves in other facets.

Between dogma and prayer, the use of color has been indisputable in the treatment of all kinds of discomforts and illnesses, of the body and the soul alike. It is therefore not surprising to learn that the avaf collective has been strengthening, through praxis, an artistic philosophy in which it argues that color must transcend its cultural meaning. From this certainty comes the inquiry into new ways of exposing oneself to brightness, to vibration, to the refulgent surface in disparate materials. It is worth remembering that etymologically, the Indo-European root of the word color means "that which covers". Color and mask are, therefore, twinned artifacts of concealment that transcend their initial nature to reveal a deeper truth, an impulse of healing and redirection of energy.


Volcanic asterisk fruit avatar. Exhibition of the collective Avaf.


Through March 23, 2024.


Marlborough. Orfila 5, Madrid 28010. Spain.

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