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Tour the exhibition: More about Regeneration from bucarolito

By Tyler Emerson-Dorsch

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Regeneration is prominently featured in bucarolito, a exhibition and project by alfonso borragán with 3 main collaborators: Blanca Pujols, Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Orlando Plein and Kira Tippenhauer. borragán’s project centers on the act of acting clay bucaros, as part of the artist’s overarching concern with the act of eating earth. borragán and Reyes Villaveces connected iguanas’ ability to regenerate their tails to the stories circulating around the benefits of taking clay in and on one’s body. Within the many concerns built into the project, the artists were concerned with notions of place and belonging. During bucaro inscription workshops leading up to the exhibition, the artists led conversations with participants about aspects of place in Miami and at what point they felt they belonged if ever. Around the ceramic studio where they were inscribing the bucaros, the artists hung pictures of Miami architectural details and of species considered invasive to FL, among them, of course, the iguana.

Brought to Florida as a pet, enough pet owners released it into the wild, where it flourished with no natural predators. It is now the scourge of coastal living. Though intriguing looking, they are pests that defecate on lawns, pools and boats and can be a nuisance. Some property owners now employ iguana hunters to address the problem. The tails here are sourced through some of these hunters. They are curing in a formalin solution, which is part of a taxidermy process, at the end of which the formalin will be replaced with clear acrylic. The look of the sculpture will remain the same. And so, Regeneration is connected to a storied property of clay, and the iguanas are connected to aspects of this place – they are plentiful and they are among many non-native species considered invasive. The sculpture is also connected to a thematic in the exhibition which questions the distinction between inorganic and organic matter. Us fleshy beings are much closer to rocks than we like to think. Within the momento mori direction is the threshold between our status as living and as inert, as earth and as rock. Neither rock or earth is inert of course. It does change, but over temporalities much harder for us humans to comprehend rationally. Reyes Villaveces asks, is the difference between rock and flesh a difference in temporalities?

alfonso borragán and Santiago Reyes Villaveces, 2019
alfonso borragán and Santiago Reyes Villaveces Regeneration, 2019 Made in Miami 4 Miami iguana tails, acrylic tube, formalin and steel. The tails are fossils of the possible secret of regeneration. Only a few animals have this quality. Those animals are some of the oldest animals on earth. 86 39/64 x 64 61/64 x 3 15/16 inches

Us fleshy beings are much closer to rocks than we like to think.

alfonso borragan and Santiago Reyes Villaveces
alfonso borragan and Santiago Reyes Villaveces Detail of Regeneration, 2019

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