Kuntur: Sacred Geometries presents new and recent works by artist, writer, curator, and educator William Cordova. Born in Lima, Peru, and now based in Miami, Lima, and New York, the artist engages with time, displacement, and the histories of places and objects. He cites his particular interest in “reframing history and making the invisible visible” as he interweaves evocative materials—such as gold leaf, feathers, Peruvian cacao, and paint chips reclaimed from a famous 1970s graffiti mural— into richly layered works.
Cordova describes this exhibition as a “synthesis of Andean and Western architecture, sacred geometries, and historical narratives.” Combining research, travel, writing, drawing, photography, and film, he creates an installation inspired, in part, by the Kuntur (The Condor) constellation. Kuntur was one of the Incan Empire’s “dark constellations,” found in areas of darkness within the Milky Way Galaxy. As the artist points out, “constellations give form to imaginary outlines shared by different cultures at different times and geographical locations.” The exhibition and programming are designed to connect cultures and build a stronger sense of community.
Although informed by other times and places, several of the works in the exhibition are directly linked to the history, architecture, and residents of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois: as source material for the works on view, as collaborators in constructing new sculptures, and as participants in programming. In Spring 2017, Cordova spent four weeks as a visiting artist-in-residence in Illinois State University’s School of Art. While there, he began a new series of small coffee drawings on paper, which feature architectural structures in and near Normal. Objects linked to his memories of those spaces, and signifiers of his personal interactions in the community. For example, some of the drawings feature: a lonely string of party lights projecting inexplicably from an upright broom, a woven geometric pattern created from the outlines of Watterson Towers’ projecting facades, a television antenna that alludes to a cross, words overheard on the bus, or items found on the ground during one of his walks. Twenty of these drawings are on view, as well as groupings of Polaroids the artist completed while in Bloomington-Normal. He is also collaborating with ISU students and members of the public to produce two new concrete sculptures that will be added to the exhibition as they are created.
Also included in the exhibition is sacred geometries (4T.A.) , a new collaborative 16mm film made by Cordova and artists Luis Gispert, Edra Soto, and Barron Sherer, which they describe as a “static- movement portrait” of the late artist Terry Adkins (1953–2014). Adkins—a distinguished Illinois State University alumnus (M.S. 1977) whose work has been exhibited and honored internationally— was a close friend of Cordova and Gispert. Cordova and University Galleries’ Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz researched where Adkins lived while he was a graduate student at ISU and secured permission for Soto to temporarily hang and photograph one of his artworks from University Galleries’ Permanent Collection in the Normal, Illinois, apartment. Sherer filmed the resulting photographs with a Bolex 16mm film camera and Gispert created an accompanying soundtrack. The result is a subtle and poetic tribute to Adkins’ profound influence.
William Cordova’s work has been exhibited at prestigious venues including the Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. His works are in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Harvard University; and Yale Univers