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Gabriel Barcia-Colombo | Secret Society of Forbidden Literature | Art in the Corner Room Exhibition Series


January 9th, 2014 - May 22nd, 2014
 Gabriel Barcia-Colombo
LED sign, 2014. Credit: Gabriel Barcia-Colombo


The Art and Picture Collections at Mid-Manhattan Library are pleased to present the site-specific digital and sculptural installation Secret Society of Forbidden Literature by artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo. The installation celebrates the physicality of books through an exploration of banned works of literature. Each of the windows invite the viewer to relish in the sensual experience of reading a “traditional” book while at the same time exploring the history of restricting or censoring literature. The installation also brings to light what is lost in the process of reading electronic books; the smell, sight and touch of real paper.

Join us for a What Inspires Artists series event on Saturday February 15 at 2:30 p.m. inside the Corner Room. Gabriel Barcia-Colombo and senior art librarian Arezoo Moseni discuss natural history museums the main source of influence on Barcia-Colombo’s work.  

Benita de Wit and Gabriel Barcia-Colombo present Banned!, a Performance Art Series event, on Monday April 14, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Corner Room. This event is specificall held in celebration of Library Week.

Art in the Corner Room exhibition series is curated by Arezoo Moseni.

 Gabriel Barcia-Colombo
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Banned September 20, 2013; North Carolina County. Glass, ashes of the burned book, 2014. Credit: Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

Artist Statement

My work focuses on memorialization and, more specifically, the act of leaving one's imprint for the next generation. While formally implemented by natural history museums and collections (which find their roots in Renaissance era "cabinets of curiosity"), this process has grown more pointed and pervasive in the modern-day obsession with personal digital archiving and the corresponding growth of social media culture. My video sculptures play upon this exigency in our culture to chronicle, preserve and wax nostalgic, an idea which I  render visually by “collecting” human beings (alongside cultural archetypes) as scientific specimens. This installation falls in line with my previous work in the sense that I am memorializing literature and specifically banned books through an exploration of three senses: touch, smell and sight.

 Gabriel Barcia- Colombo

Brave New World (perfume), glass, acrylic, custom perfumes based on the plots of Banned Books, 2014. Credit: Gabriel Barcia- Colombo

Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is a New Media artist based in Brooklyn, New York.  His work has been featured in group shows and art fairs across the globe. Barcia-Colombo’s early work Animalia Chordata won honorable mention at the 2007 Prix Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. His short films and animations have been featured in numerous national film festivals and in 2008 he was awarded both the Concordia Career Opportunity Advancement grant and the New York Foundation for the Arts grant in video. In 2012 he gave a TED talk entitled Capturing memories in Video Art and he was recently made a TED fellow. Barcia-Colombo received his Bachelor’s degree in film production from the University of Southern California and his Master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where he now serves as a member of the faculty. He also serves as a member of the artist advisory board at the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as an education committee member at the Museum of Art and Design in Columbus circle.

 Gabriel Barcia-Colombo
LED sign streaming sentences from Beloved by Toni Morrison, 2014. Credit: Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

Beloved by Toni Morrison

THERE IS a loneliness that can be rocked.
Arms crossed, knees drawn up; holding,
holding on, this motion, unlike a ship's,
smooths and contains the rocker. It's an
inside kind--wrapped tight like skin.
Then there is a loneliness that roams. No
rocking can hold it down.
It is alive, on its own. A dry and spreading
thing that makes the sound of one's own feet
going seem to come from a far-off place.