Juan Antonio Olivares | Group Show | Perforated Tympani | Aguirre


8 February - 8 March, 2023


Aguirre presents the work of Joseph Grigely (United States, 1956) in an exhibition that brings together a series of objects, photographs, sculptures and drawings based on the Perforated Tympani (1988-1991) archive, making its international premiere. The exhibition is presented in dialogue with the work of Juan Antonio Olivares (Puerto Rico, 1988).

Deaf since the age of ten, Grigely has focused his work on issues of communication—both its problems and possibilities—by creatively dealing with the absence of speech. His work can be understood as a journey through visual strategies and compositions based on the written word.

Between the late 1980s and early 1990s, he created a series of conceptual sculptures called Perforated Tympani, forming a body of experimental work that is highlighted in the exhibit. The title of the series is a reference to an incident; in 1967 he fell down a hill during a game of “King on the Mountain,” and a tree branch on the ground punctured his one good ear, leaving him totally deaf. The Tympani sculptures became a medium to return the trauma to the trees, as steel beams pierce large slabs of oak and elm.

In all, he made about 20 large-scale Tympani, which were created using chainsaws, hoists, scaffolding, and industrial cranes. He worked in his yard in Silver Spring, Maryland; in a studio in Baltimore, Maryland; and in New Jersey. The largest sculptures in his studio in Baltimore were too big to move and were destroyed when he gave up the studio in 1997. The smaller pieces that he was able to save were finally destroyed in a mysterious fire in his studio in Jersey City a few years later.

This exhibition is the first exhibit of what is left from the sculptures, based on a conversation with Carla Ferna╠ündez that started at the end of 2021. Perforated Tympani continues Grigely’s interest in analyzing the ways in which communication can be established or transformed from materials and objects, while activating the potential of the archive in relation to memory, loss, and longing.
The dialogue continues with Olivares’ work, whose existential and philosophical motifs often take the form of complex installations, that involve drawing, video, sound and animation.


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February 20, 2023