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Daniel Nevers in Front + Center: Weather Streams at Headlands, San Francisco, 17/01 - 28/01

Daniel Nevers, the homesession 7th resident, presents its new work in the Front + Center: Weather Streams, an annual exhibition at Headlands Center for the Arts showcasing outstanding works by California artists, including several newly commissioned, site-specific works.

This year's exhibition, Weather Streams, is co-curated by Vanessa Blaikie and Joey Piziali, co-directors of Ping Pong Gallery in San Francisco, and independent curator Jessica Brier.

When: 17/01-28/01, opening on January 17th at 5pm Where: Headlands center for the arts

You shouldn't explain that! A conversation with Daniel Nevers

This is the transcription of a conversation we had with Daniel Nevers after the presentation of his work at homesession, on June 27th. Talking about the "minutiae" installation Daniel Nevers realized at homesession, it introduces the main outlines of Daniel Nevers' process and creations. .

Homesession: this work is going to be dismantled, but we would like to keep it a while...
Daniel Nevers: That's funny, because, for me, it's done, so it could be dismantled now.

HS: Of course, because you were in the process, during one month.
DN: Actually that was very interesting, working in your house, you know. It's like when I made this residency in Southern Exposure in San Francisco, they were going to work everyday and they had to cross my installation, thoses bunches of cable, I was feeling so bad for them. They had to put their bikes there, I was so sorry... And I feel a bit the same way about this, just because it's not the prettiest thing to live with, I guess. I don't think it's ugly, but that doesn't mean everyone would like to live with it... So it's interesting that you want to keep it a while, it's an interesting part of the whole experience. I make it and then I leave... because it definitely changes the whole space!... Actually, at the beginning, I was wondering what I was going to do, you know, I wanted to work with papers and so on, and a friend answered to one of my mails, just saying "well you could put the furnitures outside and say that's your project, leave it out so that they can't move it anymore..." (laughs)... I didn't do that, but finally we had to move all the furnitures. We even put some of them outside for the opening so...

HS: You said this work may constitute a new step in your creations.
DN: I have to figure out a new way to talk about my work, because I think it's not the same anymore. It's changing. I think I have to talk about it in a much more formal way and not that much about the meaning of it.

HS: But wouldn't you have to mix both approaches?
DN: No, I don't think so. For example Jessica Stockholder, who is one of my big influences... She's very interesting, she mixes a lot of very ugly works (laughs), not ugly but well she works with furnitures, products from a lot of stores, Ikea or other places, christmas trees' decorations, it's very interesting. She's also a painter... She only talks about her work formally. She's been around for twenty or twenty-five years and I keep reading about her work. Her work is also about psychological stuff: she said enough for us to know that, but...

HS: ... but she doesn't really explain it...
DN:... No... Her tales gives a little bit of information about it, so you can tell from materials, that there are some personal references, she tells about her father and so on...

HS: Well there's more than a psychological and personal meaning in your work, you're also referring to massive consumption...
DN: The opening was very interesting tonight because people, more than any other time, were saying "oh it's like recycling, but it's all new" or "oh it's like the materials they bring back to the beach in the nets, but it's brand new", and it's really interesting that people get it at first sight.

HS: Maybe because recycling with second-hand materials is very common in Barcelona, it's an industry, everywhere, and in the art world too...
DN: I was happy that people were paying attention to that. People were trying to understand, you know... "What is this about?"... That's always a question but it's not really interesting to me. I always ask people "well, what do you think it means?" and they hate to answer because they don't want to look stupid. But I would like to tell them that they can't look stupid, I don't care about their opinion... Whatever they think it means... They can't be wrong about their own opinion! But they want to know what I think it means, my own interpretation about my work.

HS: And you wouldn't say it?
DN: Of course I would, but it's not interesting to me. When I am in a gallery, I don't care so much about the artist's interpretation. Well of course, sometimes you have to read to know what the artist is talking about, but if I think it's about something and they tell me it's about something else, I will think well... that's stupid (laugh).

HS: Some people said that this installation works like a painting, you can sit on the coach and you have this perfect frontal view of the painting, this very nice composition, but when they saw the other side, they really saw the connection between this installation and your other works... And also, they were confronted to this frustration, you know, not to be able to see the other composition on the backside, not to be able to enjoy another nice point of view, to see what's happening...
DN: Yes, it makes perfect sense to me, the presentation to the outside world. The composition is very nice, it all looks very perfect. But when you go to the other side, you cant get close to it or you get so close to, that you can't see it. And then it's very much about personality, identity and...

HS: ... Oh! you shouldn't explain that! (laughs)
DN: Well, it's very clear to me that it's all there, even though I'm not consciously intending to make that. Actually, I was not thinking about it when I was working on the piece, but it became very obvious to me once it was finished: it's about all those things, the backside is the piece and the frontside is just a mask. You know, I think of the Franz Fanon's "Black Skin, White Mask". That's what it is. Of course, it seems very obvious to me, because I know my work. But I would understand it's not obvious to other people.

HS: You're not so used to develop a work that's almost flat...
DN: I think that what it is very exciting about this work, about the presentation, the concept of presentation. And also the idea of pattern is very interesting to me, because pattern has this double meaning, these visual and psychological meanings. How we follow into patterns or how we use patterns of behaviours. And there are those containers, the idea of containing emotions, it's all very litteral, almost. It's nearly too obvious to me! That's why it's very fun to me, because we could ask people to formally think about the idea of containers, colors, light and dark, panel, front and back, the connection between all those formal things. That's why I try to talk about it more formally, so people can make this connection more spontaneaously.

Daniel Nevers in Urban Matrix at Chandra Cerrito Gallery Oakland, 06/02-26/03

Daniel Nevers' Cinderfella sculpture is currently on show in the Urban Matrix collective exhibition at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary Gallery. Urban Matrix features artists whose attention is captured by the views, materials, objects and feeling of the city, reveal urban qualities that are captivating, true and emotive.

Daniel Nevers’ precarious gravity-defying arrangements of found objects put viewers at a subtle unease. Cinderfella is stacked cinder blocks, a fundamental in the urban environment. Blocks are bound to one another with orange nylon straps that seem to aid only slightly to securing the stack, which is actually kept from falling by other less visible means.

The orange dashes interrupting the concrete highlight the rhythmic quality of the blocks’ rectilinear patterns. Objects normally considered utilitarian become subjects of observation, contemplation and wonder. In the line of ready-mades, minimal art as well as arte povera, Daniel Nevers creates an installation whose emotive potential is as strong as the aspect of its material.

Where: Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland
When: 06/02 - 28/03

Artist-run initiatives in San Francisco

The San Francisco Mission street area features two interesting artist-run initiatives, both of them involved in presenting contemporary art with different statements and principles.

Southern Exposure is a 34 year old, non-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to presenting innovative contemporary art and promoting arts education. Based on the collaboration of volunteers, Southern Exposure develop various programs, such as exhibitions, residencies and on-site creations, auctions, education programs... Featuring solo or thematic exhibitions, Southern Exposure offers emerging artists the opportunity to develop creations in formats and contexts and for audiences they're not used to work with. They also work on public projects, that develop beyond the traditional gallery formats a new way to introduce art in the public sphere, through a selection of curated projects. Educational programs, residencies and public events complete this original approach.

2nd floor projects is an artist-run initiative based on an exhibition program in a private space. Launched in march 2007 by Margaret Tedesco, it's one of the venues that testify of the cultural dynamism of the San Francisco Mission area. This project space presents in its exhitions a very large range of works, from drawings, paintings and videos to installations and performance as well as art publications or essays. Aside of innovative galleries of the mission area, such as Jack Hanley, Ratio 3 or TripleBase, this project aims at offering the artists an opportunity to show their works in a very special venue.