Nicolás Robbio: Estudios de Tensión

Metal, wood, twigs, plastics, ceramics, cardboard, bone, stone and bank notes held on wall by white rope.
Nicolás Robbio, 90° from Estudio de Tensión (2012). photo / Rafael Cañas
Six figures doing handwork togeather in a space with white walls.
Nicolás Robbio (center) and student gallery assistants prepare for the installation of Robbio's exhibition Estudios de Tensión. William Staffeld / AAP
Man on right adjusting strings on a wall, with a woman watching from the rear.
Nicolás Robbio adjusts one of his wall installations composed of string and pulleys. With Robbio is gallery assistant Libby Rosa (M.F.A. '19). William Staffeld / AAP
Man on left listens as man with beard on right talks and gestures with his hands.
Kent Kleinman, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP (on left), listens as Nicolás Robbio discusses his work. William Staffeld / AAP
Gallery walls with string sculpture installations.
A view of the exhibition Estudios de Tensión in AAP's John Hartell Gallery. William Staffeld / AAP
Close in view of man on right, with figures in background on left.
Nicolás Robbio at the reception for his exhibition Estudios de Tensión. William Staffeld / AAP
Nicolás Robbio, 90° from Estudio de Tensión (2012). photo / Rafael Cañas Nicolás Robbio (center) and student gallery assistants prepare for the installation of Robbio's exhibition Estudios de Tensión. William Staffeld / AAP Nicolás Robbio adjusts one of his wall installations composed of string and pulleys. With Robbio is gallery assistant Libby Rosa (M.F.A. '19). William Staffeld / AAP Kent Kleinman, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP (on left), listens as Nicolás Robbio discusses his work. William Staffeld / AAP A view of the exhibition Estudios de Tensión in AAP's John Hartell Gallery. William Staffeld / AAP Nicolás Robbio at the reception for his exhibition Estudios de Tensión. William Staffeld / AAP

The symbolic world created by Nicolás Robbio is made up of diagrams, technical drawings, and architectural elements. Isolated, juxtaposed, or reassembled, these elements suggest different forms of the perception and reading of representational systems. This exhibition presents a site-specific installation by Robbio from his Estudios de Tensión [Studies in Tension] series. This series, which began in 2010, shifts the verticality in the force of gravity into a horizontal one employing an intricate system of continuous leads, points, and plumbs. The shift plays with our awareness of this force as it fluctuates between the weight of the carefully balanced objects at multiple points (e.g., a coin, a bone, a stick, a miniature hand, etc.) and the associated memories recalled through the objects. Through this work, Robbio demonstrates the impossibility of separating the concrete from the abstract and the objective from the subjective.

Robbio states, "Do not forget that this force acts not only on our bodies but also on our memory. There is no way to separate the concrete from the abstract, the objective from the subjective. The concrete elements and the memories of them are irremediably connected. Every element exists both in its materiality and in the memory we have of it. In the installation Estudios de Tensión, a coin serves as a support, but at the same time, it contains a memory, a date, a nationality, a history. It is a way of thinking about architecture whose compositional elements relate not only in the physical, objective, and concrete world but also with the invisible and subjective world of the memory. How many forces we do not see determine our most simple daily routines?"

Robbio was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1975, and graduated from the Escuela Superior de Artes Visuales Martin A. Malharro in 1999. He has split his time between São Paulo, Recife, and Buenos Aires since 2001. In 2015, he was awarded the Fifth Edition of Prêmio Marcantonio Vilaça CNI SESI SENAI, and in 2006, the Rumos prize for contemporary visual art. Solo exhibitions include La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2017); Sesc Pompéia, São Paulo (2016); Museu da Cidade, Lisbon (2015); Galerie Invaliden, Berlin (2013); Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo (2010); and Fundação Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2009). His work has been shown in several important group exhibitions including Metrópole: experiência paulista, Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo (2017); Fourth Trienal Poligráfica de San Juan, San Juan (2015); Imagine Brazil, MAC Lyon, Lyon (2014); El Arte Contemporaneo de la X Bienal Monterrey FEMSA, Mexico City (2013); When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2012); Para ser Construidos, Museu de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Léon (2010); and 28th Bienal de São Paulo, Fundação Bienal de São Paulo (2008). Working individually and in collaboration with other artists, Robbio's practice extends to the production of artist books and editions, with commissions for the Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo; and a book for Trienal Poli/Gráfica in San Juan.