ASMA at Projet Pangée

Artist: ASMA

Exhibition title: Vermin Gloom

Venue: Projet Pangée, Montreal, Canada

Date: September 25 – October 30, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Projet Pangée, Montreal

Something becomes a vermin only in relation to any human activity or environment. When nature proliferates unexpectedly, it reveals an autonomy that overcomes our human desire for control. How can something feel out of their habitat even within their own home? A vermin can be multiple kinds of species, depending on the context of its inconvenience to human habitation.

Mold growing on the ceiling, critters making pathways within the walls, ants nest by the window, many roommates at the haunt. Can these uninvited visitors become closer to our desired image of nature? Like the memory of a walk into the trails of a landscape? Why is this natural idealized spectre often distant to our mundane experience of unpleasant otherness?

The exhibition presents a series of sculptural wall works along with small floor sculptures that set an imaginary stage within a young human’s room in the midst of its abandonment. An array of insect figurations occupies the space, as encounters with an omen. A streaming sound comes out of a sweat-stained pillow on the floor: a speechless voice attempting some sort of communication, composed from fragments of our world ingested into a new gentle groan.

“Gregor had a shock as he heard his own voice answering hers, unmistakably his own voice, it was true, but with a persistent horrible twittering mixed squeak behind it like an undertone, which left the words in their clear shape only for the first moment and then rose up reverberating around them to destroy their sense, so that one could not be sure one had heard them rightly.”

– Franz Kafka
Text: Courtesy of the artists

ASMA is an artist duo based in Mexico City, formed by Matias Armendaris (Ecuador, b. 1990) and Hanya Beliá (México, b. 1994). The duo focuses on developing work produced exclusively through active collaboration. Their work uses open narratives and architectural spaces exploring formal interrelations between painterly and sculptural expressions. In their collaborative process, they explore the act of interaction and how things in contact start affecting each other. In this interrelation, things start erasing their boundaries and begin to fuse, they play with the potential of this process of transformation, both formally and conceptually.

Recent solo exhibitions include “Janus” presented at Embajada (San Juan, Puerto Rico), 2020; “Half Blood Princess”, Peana, (Monterrey, Mexico), 2019; and “Blossoming Carcass”, Make Room Gallery (Los Angeles, USA), 2019. The duo also participated in multiple group exhibitions such as “Trama”, 80m2LiviaBenavides (Lima, Perú), 2021; “Theorem X”, Rachel Uffner Gallery (New York, USA), 2021; “Theorem Y”, Mrs. Gallery (New York, USA), 2021; “You sit in a Garden”, Centre Clark (Montreal, Canada), 2021; and “44 Signs of The Time”, Mana Contemporary (New Jersey, USA), 2021.