Basilio / Sunny

Raúl de Nieves  Basilio, 2019  Tape, acetate, glitter, house paint, and wood 704 × 176 inches Courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery, New York

Raúl de Nieves

Basilio, 2019

Tape, acetate, glitter, house paint, and wood
704 × 176 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery, New York


De Nieves envisioned the sixty-foot mural installation, Basilio, to be mutable. In previous installations it has been suspended from the ceiling, however, here it traverses half the length of the exhibition as a wall. In his signature manner, de Nieves elevates inexpensive, everyday materials to appear extraordinary and luxurious. Colored acetate and tape have been formed into sixty-four individual panels, giving the impression of stained glass. Like the stained glass windows in Gothic cathedrals of late-medieval France, Basilio conveys a cosmological narrative. The ouroboros, the ancient Egyptian symbol of a snake eating its own tail, is a symbol of eternal cyclical renewal. In the center of the mural, de Nieves has configured the ouroboros into the twisted figure eight shape, representing the mathematical sign for infinity. Along the central meridian of the transparent collage, six images—each composed of four panels—showcase planetary forms in various degrees of orbit. The narrative of Saint George and the Dragon appears again in the mural’s lowest register, collapsing eternal cyclical time with Biblical time as well as narrative time. The time of the artist’s own family also enters these coordinates: Basilio is named after the artist’s maternal grandfather. When exhibited together with Fina—the ziggurat structure named for the artist’s mother—the installations introduce an idea of ancestral time to make a family portrait and assert the artist’s personal timeline within the universe.

 
–Risa Puleo, Curator

Raúl de Nieves  Sunny, 2018  Plastic beads, fiberglass, glue 40 × 24 × 12 inches Courtesy of the artist and Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles / Paris

Raúl de Nieves

Sunny, 2018

Plastic beads, fiberglass, glue
40 × 24 × 12 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles / Paris


 

Born in Michoacan in 1983, De Nieves grew up in San Diego. The artist’s mother, an avid maker always engaged in craft-based work, owned a daycare and cared for many children and families. She passed these two ways of being in the world—making and caregiving— on to her son. They are illustrated by these meticulous sculptural assemblages of abstracted, yet warmhearted, human forms. De Nieves understands labor to be an act of creation. He also considers acts of care, like those extended to others by his mother, to be a social practice. In 2018, the artist crafted a suite of “babies” in homage to his mother, each donning a monochrome hue of sparkling beads. Each sculpture was given an individual name—Elizabeth, Bethany, Logan, Evie, Rosha, and Sunny—and stands at the height of a toddler. With newness in their eyes, each figure represents the beginning of the life cycle and the intersection of reproductive, emotional, domestic, and artistic labor.

–Risa Puleo, Curator