Ricardo Brey

Universe

2002–06

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Hall Athena Royal Atheneum (2015)

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Hall Athena Royal Atheneum (2015)

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Hall Athena Royal Atheneum (2015)

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Hall Athena Royal Atheneum (2015)

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Hall Athena Royal Atheneum (2015)

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) (2006) 

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) (2006) 

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) (2006) 

Universe, 2002–06
Installation view
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) (2006) 

Corola cruciforme, 2002–03
Ink and transfer on color cardboard
45.15h x 3.46w in (11.4h x 8.8w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Ink and transfer on color cardboard
4.40h x 3.54w in (11.2h x 9.0w cm)

Pistilo y masa de polen, 2002–03
Pencil, ink, and transfer on color cardboard
4.48h x 3.54 in (11.4h x 9.0w cm)

Malva, 2002–03
Pencil, ink, and transfer on color cardboard
4.48h x 3.50w in (11.4h x 8.9w cm)

Cordones de el desierto, 2002–03
Cardboard, print, rope, cloth, acrylic, sand and horse hair on cardboard
5.31h x 7.87w in (13.5h x 20.0w cm)
 

Mémoire N° . La lluvia de sangre, 2002–03
Print, sanguine, cardboard and ink on cardboard
0.33h x 5.23w in (0.86h x 1.33w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Ink and Cassel earth pigment on cardboard
3.38 x 5.19 in (8.6h x 13.2w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Iron oxide, transfer lettering  and pencil on cardboard
5.19h x 3.38 in (13.2h x 8.6w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Transfer, transfer lettering and pencil on cardboard
2.0h x 3.38w (5.1h x 8.6w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Cardboard, pencil ink and transfer on cardboard
2.44h x 1.96w in (6.2h x 5.0w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Ink and transfer on cardboard
2.59h x 3.38w in (6.6h x 8.6w mm)

Chironomus riparus, 2002–03
Ink and pencil on cardboard
3.38h x 2.63w in (8.6h x 6.7w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Cardboard, transfer, and ink on cardboard
5.23h x 3.38w in (13.3h x 8.6w mm)

Microgaster glomeratus (grossi), 2002–03
Ink, pencil, and transfer on cardboard
3.38h x 5.23w in (8.6h x 13.3w cm)

Myriapoda, 2002–03
Transfer and pencil on cardboard
5.23h x 3.38w in (13.3h x 8.6w cm)

Ice age, 2002–03
Two different rice paper, transfer, ink, and pencil on cardboard
5.19h x 3.38w in (13.2h x 8.6w cm)

Theora, 2002–03
Ink and pencil on cardboard
3.38h x 4.56w in (8.6h x 11.6w cm)

Chiasognathus granti, 2002–03
Ink, transfer lettering and pencil on cardboard
5.19h x 3.38w in (13.2h x 8.6w cm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Ink on cardboard  
3.34h x 4.44w in (8.5h x 11.3w cm)

Ambar, 2002–03
Transparent paper, transfer on rice  paper and pencil on cardboard
6.25h x 6.25w in (15.9h x 15.9w cm)

Mémoire N°, Pl1, 2002–03
Print, cardboard, ink, stones, and wire on cardboard
4.44h x 4.21w x 0.59 in (11.3h x 17.0w x 1.5d cm)

Oriviano, 2002–03
Transfer, pastel, pencil, insulation tape, acrylic, glass and quartz crystals on cardboard
9.17h x 7.08w in (23.3h x 18.0w mm)

Untitled, 2002–03
Cardboard, print, rice paper, oil, sand, acrylic, and ink on cardboard
9.44h x 11.65w in (24.0h x 29.6w cm)

3 inches, 2002–03
Print, oil, cardboard, rice paper acrylic, insulation tape, cloth, rope and pastel on cardboard
11.49h x 9.40w in (29.2h x 23.9w cm)

Description

Ricardo Brey’s encyclopedic installation Universe (2002—2006) consists of 1,004 drawings made between 2002 and 2003 displayed in 99 glass vitrines. In a 2013 interview, Brey reflected on the work, stating, “I wasn’t creating the universe, just my universe, with all my anxieties, my dreams, my leitmotifs. All the techniques I’ve used, and even some I invented at the time, were in the drawings. I told myself, I’m almost at drawing seven hundred, and the human figure had not appeared. I realized that the humans would be excluded. Nor did I include cows, donkeys, or houses. It was like the stone of Sisyphus, you push it up and it comes down again, and on in an unproductive effort. Really, it was a universe within the ‘Universe,’ contained in 99 glass vitrines.” Presented for the first time at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK) in Ghent, Belgium in 2006, the piece not only represents a visual encyclopedia of flora and fauna—the images are divided into categories like fish, birds, plants, floods, insects, and the moon—but also reads as a compendium of the artist’s techniques, featuring drawings, paintings, and assemblages. At once a highly personal and idiosyncratic work—as Brey summarizes, “my universe … my anxieties, my dreams, my leitmotifs”—Universe unfolds through its sheer scale and scientific presentation into a larger reflection on evolution, time, and the limits of knowledge, the impossibility of classifying the unwieldy totality of reality.