Artists Space

Union Gaucha Productions

November 7, 2015 – January 10, 2016

"Union" signals both a convergence between different elements and, in historical terms, an association of labor against the State. "Union" is a reminder of possible associations that are created by situations not structures. Gaucho culture is prevalent in certain areas of Argentina, Uruguay, and South of Brazil with no territorial demarcation, hence a "Union Gaucha" always privileges the regional over the national, constructing various and diverse molecular alliances. The addition of the word "Productions" clarifies that the artists are in command of their means of
production, exposing an inescapable condition: a form of creation that fully integrates its subjectivity with its economy.

– Karin Schneider and Nicolás Guagnini

A man lies on the street in a horizontal position, centered within the frame. Behind him is a playground, with an Argentinian flag waving in the background.
Union Gaucha Productions Still from Totloop , 2003 16mm film (silent, color), 4 min 49 sec Collaboration with Fabio Kacero Courtesy of Union Gaucha Productions [A man lies on the street in a horizontal position, centered within the frame. Behind him is a playground, with an Argentinian flag waving in the background.]

Artists Space is pleased to present the first comprehensive survey of Union Gaucha Productions, structured in three parts at Artists Space Books & Talks: a street level installation of film and video based works; a basement cinema, where these works can be viewed on-demand; and a series of events involving film screenings, performance, music, and conversations.

Union Gaucha Productions (UGP) was founded in New York in 1997 by artists Karin Schneider (born 1970, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Nicolás Guagnini (born 1966, Buenos Aires, Argentina), and was active until 2010. Distinct from Schneider and Guagnini's individual practices, under the guise of a "film production company" they produced a diverse body of works, often collaborating with other artists, architects, musicians, performers, filmmakers and thinkers.

Both Schneider and Guagnini moved to New York in the late 1990s, and the works produced under the moniker UGP map the artists' experiences of migration from South America to the US at the cusp of the millennium. Their films and videos bear heterogeneous influences, including those of political and artistic avant-gardes from Brazil and Argentina (from Cinema Novo to Oswald de Andrade's concept of anthropophagy and the writing of the Polish émigré Witold Gombrowicz), as well as American experimental cinema (Schneider worked at Anthology Film Archives and studied with Annette Michelson, and Jonas Mekas advised the artists on the purchase of their first 16mm camera).

Approaching the documentary tradition, the works of UGP sometimes depict particular individuals (such as Mekas or the Brazilian artist Tunga), as well as objects (the artworks of Katryzyna Kobro and Lygia Clark, for example, or the architecture of Emilio Ambasz). But against the backdrop of the homogenizing processes of multiculturalism, which sought to re-inscribe differences as stable identities, they unfix subject and object as they manipulate, perform, and model them. Deploying the "machine" of film alongside and against the "machine" of art history, they privilege a mutual activation (in Ambasz's words, "an ensemble of inter-related processes"), demarcating an "infra-life" between gestures, images and forms of exchange: a fluid territory where identities, friendships, and ideological affinities are always in flux.

Union Gaucha Productions has been organized by Artists Space together with Jacob King

November 20, 2015

Jeff Preiss and Union Gaucha Productions
Screenings & Discussion
7pm

December 19, 2015

Jonas In The Brig
Screenings & Discussion
7pm

January 10, 2016

Phantom Limb with music performance by Lukas Ligeti
Screening & Performance
3pm

Six monitors in a row are lined up in the middle of a floating bookshelf, displaying stills from the film. On the left corner of the image, a desk holds long slips of black paper with white text on it, curled and intertwined, resembling film strips.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [Six monitors in a row are lined up in the middle of a floating bookshelf, displaying stills from the film. On the left corner of the image, a desk holds long slips of black paper with white text on it, curled and intertwined, resembling film strips.]
A diagonal view of six monitors in a row are lined up in the middle of a floating bookshelf, displaying stills from the film. On the left corner of the image, a desk holds long slips of black paper with white text on it, curled and intertwined, resembling film strips.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [A diagonal view of six monitors in a row are lined up in the middle of a floating bookshelf, displaying stills from the film. On the left corner of the image, a desk holds long slips of black paper with white text on it, curled and intertwined, resembling film strips.]
A dimly lit room with green turf-like carpet and exposed wooden walls. On the left, 9 images of different sizes are mounting, and luminous. On the right, projectors and movie cameras are placed on a horizontal shelf. On the far end of the floor towards the wall is a small square tv monitor with headphones placed in front of it. Behind the monitor are three medium-sized white windows.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [A dimly lit room with green turf-like carpet and exposed wooden walls. On the left, 9 images of different sizes are mounting, and luminous. On the right, projectors and movie cameras are placed on a horizontal shelf. On the far end of the floor towards the wall is a small square tv monitor with headphones placed in front of it. Behind the monitor are three medium-sized white windows.]
A small device with a screen and cables is stuck to a closed door with a glass window and safety guard. The screen displays a blurred close up image of two hands grazing one another.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [A small device with a screen and cables is stuck to a closed door with a glass window and safety guard. The screen displays a blurred close up image of two hands grazing one another.]
Two people seated with their legs outstretched on a green carpet in front of a small television monitor, wearing headphones.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [Two people seated with their legs outstretched on a green carpet in front of a small television monitor, wearing headphones.]
A dimly lit room with a projection facing the front. The projection displays neon words that are slightly distorted, the legible text reads "Removes.....eight straight...."
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [A dimly lit room with a projection facing the front. The projection displays neon words that are slightly distorted, the legible text reads "Removes.....eight straight...."]
A dimly lit room where two people are seated in chairs on the right, looking at a projection. The projection displays a yellow-hued image of a city skyline.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [A dimly lit room where two people are seated in chairs on the right, looking at a projection. The projection displays a yellow-hued image of a city skyline.]
Five projections playing on a wall at different heights. Two are completely visible and three are partially visible. In the center of the image is a black and white projection of a gallery, with a painting placed in between the entrance of a hallway. To its right is a projection of a Jonas Mekas facing left, his face slightly golden in tone, wearing a fedora. A projection to its right partially shows four dark skinned people, nude and posing.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [Five projections playing on a wall at different heights. Two are completely visible and three are partially visible. In the center of the image is a black and white projection of a gallery, with a painting placed in between the entrance of a hallway. To its right is a projection of a Jonas Mekas facing left, his face slightly golden in tone, wearing a fedora. A projection to its right partially shows four dark skinned people, nude and posing.]
A dimly lit view of a wooden wall with scattered video-still images at varying placements. Behind the wood is a white wall.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [A dimly lit view of a wooden wall with scattered video-still images at varying placements. Behind the wood is a white wall.]
An angled view of scattered video projection stills at various heights and sizes on a wooden wall. The wooden wall is displayed in a room with white walls and faux-grass flooring.
Union Gaucha Productions, Installation view, Artists Space, 2015. Photo: Daniel Pérez [An angled view of scattered video projection stills at various heights and sizes on a wooden wall. The wooden wall is displayed in a room with white walls and faux-grass flooring.]

This exhibition is supported by the Friends of Artists Space and the Union Gaucha Productions Exhibition Supporters Circle: Miguel Abreu; Bortolami Gallery; and Begum Yasar, Dominique Lévy Gallery.