This December, two international artists — Gabriel Chaile and Sin Wai Kin — will be visiting Berkeley to showcase their work as part of MATRIX, a signature exhibition series at BAMPFA that provides artists with an experimental platform to make and show new work.
At BAMPFA: MATRIX 283 / Gabriel Chaile: No hay nada que destruya el corazón como la pobreza, Dec. 13-April 14; MATRIX 284 / Sin Wai Kin: The Story Changing, Dec. 13-Mar. 10. 2155 Center St. Details at bampfa.org
Both artists will premiere new work in their first solo exhibitions in the United States — Chaile with a massive clay sculpture that connects to precolonial cultures in northwestern Argentina, and Sin with kaleidoscopic video works that mix genres and categories to imagine new worlds.
In MATRIX 283 / Gabriel Chaile: No hay nada que destruya el corazón como la pobreza, Chaile will unveil a large-scale, BAMPFA-commissioned sculpture that he will make onsite during a UC Berkeley residency. Sin will also present new work marking their US premiere in MATRIX 284 / Sin Wai Kin: The Story Changing, with an evocative six-channel video work spilling out from the galleries and into the museum lobby.
Currently on view through November are the other two MATRIX artists this season. In MATRIX 281 / Kenneth Tam: The Founding of the World, the Houston-based artist plunges visitors into an immersive video and sculptural installation, in which Asian American fraternity pledges are seen performing a stylized ritual of death and rebirth.
Alongside the colorful mixed-media works on paper in MATRIX 282 / Griselda Rosas: Yo te cuido, visitors will discover Rosas’s massive abstract sculptures resembling slingshots, their long rubber bands stretched taut across the gallery walls.
These four join a distinguished half-century legacy of nearly 300 artists who have brought their work to Berkeley through the MATRIX Program, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Jay DeFeo, Julie Mehretu, Alice Neel, Adrian Piper, Martin Puryear, and Andy Warhol.
MATRIX was established at BAMPFA in 1978 as an experimental program that could harness the fecund energy of the era’s contemporary art scene — giving artists a platform to expand their creative practices in new and exciting ways. In the first year alone, the museum organized a whopping 17 projects under the MATRIX name.
Although that breakneck pace has subsided to about four exhibitions per year, the scope and ambition of MATRIX has grown since its inaugural year. After 282 exhibitions, MATRIX will now focus on commissions and premieres of new work by a wide range of artists from Berkeley to across the globe. A spirit of experimentation remains at the core of the program, which invites artists to get creative with bold ideas that defy the conventions of traditional museum exhibitions.
This season is the first to be organized by BAMPFA’s new curatorial team, who have brought an infusion of fresh energy to the 53-year-old museum since their group appointment earlier this year. The team is led by Chief Curator Margot Norton, who is curating Chaile’s MATRIX exhibition — her first project at BAMPFA. Also new to BAMPFA are the Phyllis C. Wattis Senior Curator Victoria Sung, who curated Tam’s and Sin’s exhibitions; and Senior Curator Anthony Graham, who curated Rosas’.
“Both Chaile and Sin connect to important socio-political issues of the present, weaving traditional forms of artmaking and contemporary references with reverence and humor,” Norton said. “These artists have been gaining increasingly widespread recognition internationally, and it is an honor to present their first US solo exhibitions through the MATRIX Program at BAMPFA.”
“BAMPFA’s MATRIX Program has long been a touchstone for contemporary artists and audiences nationally and internationally,” said Sung. “We are excited to build on this important legacy with a new generation of MATRIX artists and to underscore our commitment to centering and supporting artists through the production of bold, ambitious new work.”
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