Ernesto Klar
Invisible Disparities began with loss. In 2004, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her wish was to have her ashes scattered in the shallow waters of an uninhabited island off the Venezuelan coast. It was my sister and I who, together, took her ashes into the sea. As we scattered her ashes, a sudden gust of wind engulfed us in a thick cloud and when it settled, our bodies were covered with a fine veil of dust. We stayed put, silently looking at each other while thinking that, perhaps, what had happened was a final embrace from her. Eventually, we submerged our bodies in the water, and let her go. In that moment, I became obsessed with dust and began to think about how it radically affects our values and emotions based on its origins; how it challenges human perception by existing at the threshold between the perceptible and imperceptible; how it defies time by aggregating asynchronous temporalities. In 2011, I decided on a performance-oriented approach through which I would collect dust from around the world. In 2015, Invisible Disparities became an ongoing project with no projected end date within my lifetime. At this time, the project is subdivided into "Junctures," which refer to the merging of dust collection phases into discrete objects/volumes: the "anthropic rocks."
"Junctures" relate to each other in their final material outcome, but differ in conceptual focus. Invisible Disparities, Juncture I, 2011-2015 explores an experimental reading of temporality in our material world. I selected sites from around the world where a plurality of histories, times, and potentialities physically co-exist within their man-made infrastructural elements; traveled to each site to collect, store, and archive its dust; and documented the dust collection and archival process on video (in uniform and using a portable duster). The actual vacuuming of dust is a centrifugal gesture that instigates, both literally and metaphorically, the convergence of disparate temporal, historical, and material relationships. Dust from forty sites from around the world make up the first "anthropic rock" in which dust particles transmute into new matter. At this time, I am working on Invisible Disparities, Juncture II, 2015-ongoing which focuses on sites with a different set of conditions. Mainly, I am interested in sites from around the world that manifest, in peculiar ways, colliding forces and tensions between nature and humans.
I do not, at least currently, include the research-oriented aspects of the project in the exhibit proper nor the social interaction with the localities I visit. Before documenting my performances, I spend substantial periods of time at each location, where I experience everyday dynamics and attempt to absorb as much as possible local knowledge from human interactions. I embark on my travels alone and do not employ assistants when documenting my performances. It is a solitary endeavor, a kind of pilgrimage–not the religious kind, of course. But devotional nonetheless, in a quixotic way.
In my work in general, I approach volumes as fragile, transient, impermanent constructs. Invisible Disparities pushes this way of thinking to an extreme: it is an ambitious and absurd undertaking to create what appear to be simple rocks. Ultimately, the project is my personal ongoing reflection on the historical time span of our existence, as well as a kind of redemptive journey.
Ernesto Klar (Venezuelan, b.1976 Cleveland, Ohio) earned an MFA from Parsons School of Design at The New School (2006), a BMD from Berklee College of Music (1999). He has exhibited his work internationally, including solo shows at Postmasters Gallery, New York, NY (2015), and group exhibitions at Salón Banesco, Caracas, Venezuela (2014); Sala Mendoza, Caracas, Venezuela (2013); Zentrum für Internationale Lichtkunst, Unna, Germany (2012); Bienal de Video y Artes Mediales, Santiago, Chile (2012); Microwave Festival, Hong Kong, SAR, China (2012); and La Gaite Lyrique, Paris, France (2011). He has been a recipient of awards including the Individual Artist Grant, New York State Council on the Arts, NY (2010); FILE Prix Lux, São Paulo, Brazil (2010); and Artist Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, NY (2007). Klar has been an artist-in-residence in programs including A.I.R., Ubud, Indonesia (2016), What About Art?, Mumbai, India (2014), Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, São Paulo, Brazil (2013), Maumau (2013), Hong Kong Arts Center (2013). He has given talks at institutions including Campus in Camps, Dheisheh Camp, Palestinian Territories (2013), Tamagawa University, Tokyo, Japan (2013), F.A.A.P. University, São Paulo, Brazil (2013), Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Chile (2012). Klar is a faculty member at Parsons School of Design at The New School and The School of Media Studies at the New School University, New York, NY. He lives in Rego Park, Queens.