...in anticipation, let me share the 'official' release on this new unveiling. It offers some insight into my themes and process. Hope it's of some interest!
Introducing Visual Poet Carola Perla
Miami Author Highlights Transience and Transculturation
in Illuminated Paper Sculptures
ATELIER 1022 Studio and Fine Art Gallery introduces resident ‘paper sculptor and visual linguist’, artist Carola Perla, whose latest visual poetry installation "Se Vende" is set to be unveiled at ATELIER 1022's 2nd Anniversary Exhibit - "Perla Projekt 2.0" - on May 11th, 2013. The young German-Peruvian author launched her literary fiction novel "Gibbin House" at the opening of ATELIER 1022 in May 2011, and has in the ensuing two years expanded on her published prose with an impressive collection of floor-to-ceiling visual poetry 'illuminations' that explore transience, permanence, and transculturation through cut paper, light, graphite drawings, and autobiographical source material.
Carola Perla's soon-to-be unveiled "Se Vende" integrates all these elements and introduces as its autobiographical component the real-life demolition of Casa Marsano, an ancestral estate and Lima landmark. A graphite representation of this site emerges from behind a carved wall-sized 'chant' poem that uses the Spanish 'For Sale' expression (Se Vende) as its central 'word motif'. In "Se Vende", the poem invokes Limean history and folk references, their melancholy devaluation mirrored by the ever-crumbling letters and the building's spectral silhouette which hovers amid fine incisions. Back lighting and the artist's recorded voice performance of the poem add multi-sensory resonance.
The artist has dubbed her poems 'chants' because they evolve from a word or phrase on which she must meditate during the process of cutting each letter freehand. The perpetual incantation organically inspires the sound or image of the next, the motif functioning as both a visual and musical building block that slowly draws in other elements. Since such poems depend on the immediacy of the physical creation, they are composed entirely in the moment. Each piece, despite its graphic precision, is therefore an absolute and spontaneous original.
"I see my paper installations as room-sized conversations - visual echoes of my personal fascination with displacement and the way language shapes identity, having spent much of my early childhood traveling across borders, from Romania to Peru to Germany to Miami all before the age of ten," explains the artist.
"The search for 'home' and 'voice' is what drives both my personal and aesthetic decisions. It led me to write about exile in Gibbin House and to create a mute protagonist. However, living in Miami, which is this very transient, multi-lingual city, is a daily reminder that the struggle for 'home' and 'voice' is not my own, but universal. My hope is that the visual impact of these sculptures, coupled with the familiarity of at least one of the languages I use in my poems extends that same reaffirmation to others."
In addition to her poetry chants, Carola features in her pieces excerpts from her novel Gibbin House, as in "Off the Page", the first of the artist's cut-paper sculptures born out of her wish to transcend the inherently hermetic nature of the writing process. The installation, which debuted during Art Basel Miami 2011 to public acclaim, was comprised of the material culture amassed over a nine-year writing odyssey, and punctuated by the last page of the book - a cascading blanket of white paper, carved delicately with letters dangling off the page. Imbued with movement and aglow with diffused light, these floating letters translated the extemporaneous vibrancy of language and became for the artist an ethereal manifestation of the spoken word. "The ephemeral quality of paper adds to the effect with its frailty," says Carola, "yet the irreversible act of cutting reinforces the permanent nature of words. As words cannot be unsaid, so a paper cut is the ultimate in commitment. The possibilities seemed endless."
Indeed, the potential for this art form sparked the series of transience- and transculturation-themed works that round out the collection currently on display at ATELIER 1022: "Spelling Bee", a whimsical floor-to-ceiling visual poem in four languages that traces a young girl's linguistic journey across continents; the German-language "Illegible", incorporating a graphite portrait and the original poetry 'chant' that addresses identity through language; as well as the small-scale "A-Mended Conversation" cut from Mexican amate bark and embroidered with printed text from the Gibbin House manuscript, the medium's traditional uses highlighting gender and class roles as defined by the novel's fictional characters.