Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) presents El hombre con el hacha y otras situaciones breves (2014/2017), a large-scale installation by Argentine-born, New York-based artist Liliana Porter. Featuring hundreds of objects and fragments of various scales—from tiny figures and miniature train sets to a life-size piano that has been broken into pieces—the work is the most ambitious installation by the artist to date. A form of “retrospective” of Porter’s work, it includes characters and scenes that have reappeared within the artist’s prints, paintings, photos, installations, and films throughout the last several decades. Originally produced in 2014 and reinstalled for the 2017 Venice Biennial, this piece was recently acquired by PAMM and will be adapted specifically for one of the museum’s project galleries, where it will remain on view from June 8 to September 29, 2018.
A pivotal artist within the history of Argentinian conceptual art, Porter has been creating works since the 1960s that deconstruct our understanding of representation. Expanding upon notions of the multiple, her practice has included prints, photographs, assemblages, installations, films, and recently several theater productions. Porter’s work often explores the concept of time and how the line between reality and imagination can become blurred or fragile as memories mix with everyday experiences. She sees the imprint of time recorded not just in our memories but also within the physical objects, images, and books that feature in her work. Using toys and other found objects sourced from popular culture and domestic contexts, Porter engages humor and presents playful situations that draw her viewers into deeper conversations about meaning and representation.
Spread across multiple white bases of varying levels, El hombre con el hacha y otras situaciones breves (The man with the axe and other brief situations) presents numerous vignettes involving figures, toys, broken furniture, amongst other textured materials and objects. The dramatic difference in scale between certain elements, which range from the minuscule to the gigantic, plays with perspective and perception in unusual ways, inviting the viewer to walk around the piece and closely examine the kaleidoscope of objects on display.
The piece’s title, “The man with the axe and other brief situations”, refers to a tiny plastic figurine of a man wielding an axe that is positioned prominently near the front-center of the installation. Within the scene, his tiny axe appears to have created a deep cut in the white ground beneath him and a large pile of broken materials. This “brief situation” is one of many that appear throughout the installation, creating a landscape of mini-narrative scenes across this expansive stage-structure that are at once humorous, odd, and philosophical.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) promotes artistic expression and the exchange of ideas, advancing public knowledge and appreciation of art, architecture and design, and reflecting the diverse community of its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. A nearly 35-year-old South Florida institution formerly known as Miami Art Museum (MAM), Pérez Art Museum Miami opened a new building, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park on December 4, 2013. The facility is a state-of-the-art model for sustainable museum design and progressive programming and features 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor program space with flexible galleries; shaded outdoor verandas; a waterfront restaurant and bar; a museum shop; and an education center with a library, media lab and classroom spaces. For more information, please visit www.pamm.org, find us on Facebook (facebook.com/perezartmuseummiami), or follow us on Instagram/Twitter (@pamm).