Tania Candiani: From Confections To Floor Patterns

The Abrons Arts Center is proud to present From Floor Plans to Confection Patterns: Apartment Houses in New York City, 1900-1914, the first solo exhibition in New York City in five years by Mexican artist Tania Candiani, in the Upper Main Gallery. Candiani’s community-driven practice examines the political condition of social groups in consumer society, from women to immigrants. In performances and participatory projects, she brings together the representation of the female body, craft traditions such as textiles, and high culture references in the form of texts in order to address the value systems and behavior patterns that generate collective identity. Her output comments on the ideological apparatus that frames class inequality and responds to the effects of capitalist principles in shaping the dominant vision of the world.

Candiani has recently been interested in the relationship between architecture and the experience of everyday life. A work that plays on this theme is Bombs: Writers y Escritores [Writers and Novelists] (2009). In Mexico City, “bombs” are a type of graffiti signature that conveys opinionated messages through visually engaging designs. Tandiani asked local graffiti crews to paint the window facade of the Vasconcelos Library with the names of prominent novelists, from Cortazar to Tolstoy. This year she created Otros Paseos. Otras Historias [Other Walks. Other Histories], proposing guided tours of Mexico City’s historical center supported on testimonies of its inhabitants. This work is inspired by Situationist dérives, and proposed an affective cartography of this area drawn from personal memories rather than on official narratives.

During 2010, Candiani has also been researching the “Classic 6,” a prominent example of New York City’s pre-World War I residential building boom. These apartment houses were built from the 1880s to the 1910s for the middle and upper classes, and are today among the most coveted, least available properties in Manhattan. Candiani has collected reproductions of floor plans, advertising captions, and photographs of several “Classic 6” dating from 1900-1914, and has created different works motivated by them. On view are, for example, typewritten copies of the descriptions of the apartment houses alongside contemporary exterior views and hand-made garments based in their floor plans. Candiani examines a significant period of New York City’s urban planning, one that has marked the connection between taste trends and the spread of bourgeois ethics, and which is an allegory to the hegemonizing of a conservative lifestyle in the U.S.

Tania Candiani was born in Mexico City in 1974 and currently lives and works in Tijuana and New York City, where she has been artist-in-residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program. Her recent solo exhibitions include Otros Paseos. Otras Historias (Lugar Cero, Mexico City, 2010); Tales and Other Nightmares (Kunsthaus Miami, Miami, 2009); Writers y Escritores (Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Mexico City, 2009); Battleground (with Regina Jose Galindo) (Rubin Center, University of El Paso, Texas, 2009). She has participated in several group exhibitions, of which the most recent are the I Trienal Internacional del Caribe (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2010); Ready Media. Arqueología de los Medios y la Invención en Mexico (Laboratorio de Arte Alameda, Mexico City, 2010); Drawing the Line(Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, California, 2009); XI Cairo Biennial (2008); Viva Mexico (Zacheta National Art Gallery, Warsaw, 2007); Transactions: Contemporary Latin American and Latino Art (Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, California, 2006).

From Floor Plans to Confection Patterns: Apartment Houses in New York City, 1900-1914 is organized by Miguel Amado, the AIRspace curator-in-residence at the Abrons Arts Center.