Contemporary art is a constant reflection of culture. Its story lines are based on existing topics that dance around the approval or disapproval of what is and what is not. This waltz circulates around the nucleus of the collective consciousness where aesthetics don’t stray too far from home. There is no doubt that great work can come from that center, but it can only be as great as that which it surrounds. In order to do things differently there needs to be space for an untapped inspiration that can only be found when stepping away from the central thought. I recently had the honor of seeing what I consider to be one of the best shows I’ve seen, not just all year but in general. Cause living just isn’t enough, solo exhibition by Hugo Montoya at Guccivuitton Gallery in Miami, Florida.
First, let’s discuss the location. Guccivuitton Gallery is an avant-garde creative space tucked away to the north of the arts districts. Its location feels real and integrated within the city of Miami in a way that really allows for cultural inspirations to fill the space, while creating a distance from the nucleus that allows for the expansion of thought. This is a hidden treasure in the Miami art scene that should not be overlooked, in fact all eyes should play close attention to this space.
Hugo and I have been friends for nearly ten years. We went to school together and I have forever been a fan of his work. It’s been a long time since he’s had a show and I can see why. There’s been a nursing of thought and an evolution of ideas far ahead of their time. He gave me the honor of a personal walk through the show last week, sharing the story behind each piece, all of which are found objects adapted and placed with careful precision. For an exhibition strong enough to stand any interpretation, the stories behind the scenes are what add to its value. It’s the culmination of details and the perfection of every angle in which you experience the art.
There’s a small center for worship next door to Guccivuitton, which creates a magical entrance into the space, should you catch it at the right time. We arrived at the space around 7:30pm, well after sunset but still in time for the church choir. As we walked up to the gallery the echos of Haitian gospel increased in volume and you could feel the energy surround the gallery’s entrance. Hugo spent six weeks in the gallery, something that artists don’t regularly have a chance to do. The energy of the gospel choir filled the space that night just as it did throughout those six weeks. From every angle this show presents a new perspective, regardless of the stories behind it or the academic interpretations. It has the ability to stand alone.