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Baggage: Alex Caldiero In Retrospect

Feb 24, 2021 – Jun 19, 2021

Alex Caldiero, Ah! performance still from Kinesthesia, a distillation, photograph, mixed media, breastplate, and un-mask, c. 1994

For me, making language is a function of my organism. . .and yet, in reality there is only one medium: the body, with all the resources for sensation, perception, and conception. The rest is baggage.

—Alex Caldiero, February 2021

Referred to by the artist as a “grand examination of his consciousness,” this retrospective exhibition explores the 50-year career of polyartist, poet, wordshaker, scholar, sonosopher, performance artist Alex Caldiero.

On display are Caldiero’s notebooks, drawings, monoprints, assemblage, sculptures, para-objects, performances, and distillations. Such an arrangement—organized without any sort of linear or chronological burden and set on custom-made shelves and pedestals that echo the studio from which they came—seeks to summarize an expansive career full of a labyrinth of ideas.

Caldiero works with an array of materials, willing to let the idea determine the best method. From there, he is open to all policies, and possibilities, willing to flatten those alphabetic symbols into visual forms and abstract them, twist them, turn them upside down, to sample, overdub, and reveal them, destroy them, dematerialize them, and then make them whole. Ideas repeat, repeat, repeat over years, and in that repetition, evolve. For him, this evolutionary alchemical process purifies, filters, and vaporizes an idea. Not quite about refinement and density, his process, as with his poetry, is closer to words becoming sounds, images becoming language, the 23 letters flattening into abstract symbols—finding all possible variants.

Supported by ZAP, Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation, George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, and Thrive 125.