BETWEEN ABSENCE AND PRESENCE
On Thursday, March 16, 2023, The Bass unveils Carola Bravo’s Between Absence and Presence, the third cycle winner of the museum’s New Monuments open artist call, a project supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through the museum’s Knight Art Commissions Program. Installed in Collins Park, Bravo’s temporary, site-specific monument will be on view through January 2024.
Miami-based, Venezuelan artist Carola Bravo’s work includes architectural public art and immersive site-specific video and art installations. Through her practice she explores the geometry of our spaces and how they intersect with history, memory and time. Touching on themes such as change, home, exile and hope, Bravo examines our sense of belonging through the ordering of space. Her interest in landscape, places and territories form the basis of her examination of the conceptual and emotional implications of our relationships with space and time.
With Between Absence and Presence, Bravo challenges traditional commemoration and the use of public monuments by inverting a pedestal and covering it in a mirrored surface, reflecting spectators and the surrounding environment. The reflective presence of the spectator integrated into the absence of where a commemorative object is expected to be is meant to highlight society’s inverted values by directing the viewers’ gaze towards themselves, initiating questions about this legitimizing form of the monument, long recognized as means for assigning value to people, events and things.
The Bass is situated in Collins Park, a public park in Miami Beach, where there are presently four monuments that were commissioned by different groups at various times. Sitting atop stone plinths in the south side of the park, these existing monuments pay homage to Cuban epidemiologist Dr. Carlos Finlay, Venezuelan political leader Simón Bolívar, Nicaraguan scientist Dr. Luis Henry Debayle and Cuban writer Jose Martí. Amid an international debate on monuments and their legitimacy, New Monuments seeks to provide artists the opportunity to produce a new, temporary fifth monument.
“The Bass conceived of New Monuments as a way to elevate artistic voices in Miami,” said Silvia Karman Cubiñá, Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Bass. “In its third year, we’re excited to continue to provide a forum where local artists engage in the national conversation redefining monuments and who or what they honor and represent.”
Building upon the question of “what is a monument” and engaging in current conversations, Between Absence and Presence is the third work in the New Monuments open artist call.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Carola Bravo has been subject to numerous group and solo exhibitions in galleries, institutions, and museums worldwide. She has been featured in, among others, The Wall Street Journal, El Nuevo Herald, ArtNexus Magazine, and other international newspapers and publications. Her solo exhibitions in Miami, Florida, include: “Inhabited Geometries” (2019)- Bernice Steinbaum Gallery; “Blurred Borders” (2016) – The Frost Art Museum; “We are where we are not” (2013) – The Screening Room.
Some of her awards and public art commissions are Winner of the Open Calls for MiGlo Project-Miami Lakes (2021); The Baptist Hospital-Doral Public Art Competition (2019); Miami Dade Art in Public Places-Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Line Innovation Lab, Miami (2017); Honorable Mention for Public Intervention- XI Architecture National Biennale, Caracas-Venezuela (2014); “Lorenzo Il Magnífico Award” VII Biennale Internazionale dell’ Arte Contemporanea, Florence-Italy (1999); and the “First Prize” – 24th annual National Art Salon of Aragua. Maracay, Venezuela (1999).
With a commitment to education, in 2014, she founded HARTVEST PROJECT, an art venture dedicated to promoting art appreciation and collecting.
Bravo is a former Titular Professor, Chair of the Architecture and Art Department, and Head of the Art Section at the Simon Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela. Carola holds a Ph.D. in Architecture (2016), an MA. in Art History (2003) from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, as well as a BSc in Architecture from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, USA (1987).