Until 17 December 2023, the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo La Sala, Vilanova i la Geltrù, presents Gastón Lisak’s first institutional exhibition curated by Mariella Franzoni, an investigation focused on the social life of abandoned and discarded objects.

In the context of the 15th edition of the Festival BLANC! – in one of the most important design and creativity events in Spain – the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo La Sala, Vilanova i la Geltrù presents the first institutional exhibition of Gastón Lisak, curated by Mariella Franzoni.

Gastón Lisak (Barcelona in 1989) has carved his path as an artist by delving into the social life of abandoned and discarded objects that find new life in flea markets. His first institutional exhibition, Mundane Archaeology, brings together an important selection of works produced between 2018 and 2023, revolving around a reflection on objects as entities with their own lives and a mundane soul, in constant transition and perpetual transformation.

Street markets in various cities around the world serve as the starting point for his aesthetic practice and the primordial location of his works: Els Encants in Barcelona, El Rastro in Madrid, Mercado Lagunilla in Mexico City, Franklin Market in Santiago de Chile, the Marrakech Souk, and Tel Aviv’s Shuk Hapishpashim, among others. In these transient places, objects once cherished and then abandoned regain a new life as “commodities” whose biographies are marked by (discontinuous and interwoven) lines of economic, symbolic, and emotional value.

These objects encompass a wide array, from shoes, charms, taxidermied animals, souvenirs, and even neoclassical statues in plaster or plastic. Brought under the attentive gaze of the artist, an obsessive and tireless collector, these objects become part of his personal archive -cabinet of curiosities reminiscent of the 19th-century Wunderkammer- delving into the realm of speculative interpretation. Here, they undergo a series of formal processes that culminate in visually impactful works with a narrative intent.

Hence, “Mundane Archaeology” encompasses works in various mediums. These range from anachronistic collections of found objects meticulously sealed in white vinyl (Mundane Archaeology) to elegant neoclassical sculptures subtly altered with a variety of plastics (Sacred Plastics). The exhibition also features aged tapestries, their decorative motifs concealed beneath a thick layer of white acrylic paint (Normalization).

Alongside these, there is a series of objects, nearly identical, despite being discovered in widely diverse corners of the world (Clones). Additionally, the exhibition presents a previously unseen series by Lisak, Totems of Today, which comprises totemic sculptures created through 3D printing, combining forms from appropriated objects of different origins, including ethnographic museums, street markets, and kitchen cupboards, among other everyday places.

While Lisak finds inspiration in art history and the legacy of artists who have engaged with found objects -from Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven to Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, to contemporary figures like Georges Adéagbo, Miralda, and Carmen Calvo- his assemblages, transformations, and ready-mades convey something distinct. They aim to transcend material boundaries and position themselves in an ambiguous zone between cultural critique and aesthetic metaphor. They seek to transcend material boundaries and position themselves in an ambiguous zone between cultural critique and aesthetic metaphor.

Gaston Lisak. Courtesy of Cara Schanuel

Beyond merely critiquing the excesses of contemporary hyperconsumerism, Lisak adopts the role of an anthropologist who delves deep into the complex system of material culture. He crafts a speculative biography of objects offering a powerful allegory to understand our globalized society, its relationship with the past, and its imagination around the future.

This exhibition has had the generous support of the Manuel Expósito collection and the Blanc Festival.

Dates: 18 Oct- 17 Dec 2023

Venue: Centre d’Art Contemporani La Sala

Address: Carrer de Joaquim Mir, 12, 08800 Vilanova i la Geltrú, Barcelona