...And as It Passed It Cast a Long Shadow

Shotgun Review

...And as It Passed It Cast a Long Shadow

By Sarah Hotchkiss September 24, 2015

In the language of emoji, the “Hundred Points Symbol” recalls an exuberant “100” handwritten on a school exam and underlined twice for emphasis. It means 100%, 100 out of 100, a perfect score. A gallery named 100% might connote a total commitment of space to art: 100% art, all the time, 24-7-365.

When that gallery is inside the gallerist’s apartment and occupies 100% of what is typically the gallerist’s bedroom, with all the trappings of said bedroom (bed, bedding, clothes, books, desk, chair, side table) removed, I’d say the name is fitting.

Nando Alvarez-Perez’s installation at 100% demonstrates a similarly single-minded commitment to the project at hand. Under the harsh lumens of one daylight energy-saving bulb, extruded aluminum frames support photographic prints over floor-to-ceiling strips of printed vinyl. ...And as It Passed It Cast a Long Shadow, a show of just two pieces, is ruthlessly precise.

And it is all about flags. Instead of large swaths of primary colors, Alvarez-Perez fills his flags with enigmatic photographs, carefully arranged tableaux, and frenetic patterning. Subverting the vexillological symbols of national pride for symbols of advertising, entertainment, and excess, he presents Post-Industrial Vexilloid for Home or Office (1 & 2) (2015), flags for an image-filled age.

Nando Alvarez-Perez. Post-Industrial Vexilloid for Home or Office 2, 2015; installation view, ...And as It Passed It Cast a Long Shadow. Courtesy of the Artist and 100%, San Francisco.

Once the flag motif enters, it’s hard to ignore. The larger shape of Vexilloid 1 is that of a symmetrical cross (picture the Swiss flag); the larger shape of Vexilloid 2 is that of the Nordic cross (picture any Scandinavian flag). Both adopt the abstract forms of stationary tricolor flags.

Vexilloid 1 is full of diagonals (within heraldry, this particular pattern is called “bend sinister”). Much like the anachronistic process of looking up ancient heraldic terms on the internet, Alvarez-Perez’s imagery toggles back and forth between analog and digital. The wall vinyl resembles the tiled madness of an early Angelfire website, and yet one of its images is the mythical figure of Atlas, carrying the world.

Mixing street photography with carefully composed studio shots, Alvarez-Perez exerts tight control over the arrangement of both subject matter and printed photograph. In Vexilloid 2, he opts for markers of fleeting beauty: glamorous eyelashes, a marble statue of Dionysus, a blue-and-red-lit rose. Up and down, left to right, he directs the eye from background to foreground, along the axis of his Nordic cross.

With utilitarian materials and a few delirious touches, the artist organizes what to most of us would be an overwhelming number of images into a heraldic structure of ghostly echoes. With an average of 70 million images uploaded to Instagram alone every day, these may be the flags under which we all currently operate, in home or office, 100% of the time.

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...And as It Passed It Cast a Long Shadow is on view at 100%, through October 11, 2015.

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