Ricardo Brey

Every Life is a Fire

2009–2015

The Black Cube, 2012
Metals, ceramic, glass, pigment, lead, wood, rope, cardboard, paper, one drawing and one leporello stile book
Dimensions variable

The Black Cube, 2012
Metals, ceramic, glass, pigment, lead, wood, rope, cardboard, paper, one drawing and one leporello stile book
Dimensions variable

Uncreated heaven, 2009
Metallic paint, egg casting, metal cups, buttons, rings, cowrie shells, dice, keys, nest, 
three leporello books, folder with drawings
Dimensions variable

Oblivion, 2010/12
Fabric, ceramics, metal, stone, lead, two boxes, glass, chalk
Dimensions variable

 

Silver, 2011
Aged silver metallic paper, paper, lead, necklaces, chain, bell, trinkets, one leporello book
Dimensions variable

Vienna, 2012
Paper, aged gold metallic paper, metallic objects, coin, bronze objects, stone, wire, two leporello books, one notebook
6.69h x  25.59w x 25.59d in (17h x 65w x 65d cm)
 

Heir of Nothing, 2015–2017
Cardboard,  paper,  fabric, wood, metallic mirror, bronce, crown and four leporello books
Installation view, Museum Mayer Van Den Berg (2017)

Every Life is a Fire (2009–15)
Installation view, detail
All the World's Futures, Venice Biennial, Italy (2015)

Every Life is a Fire (2009–15)
Installation view, detail
All the World's Futures, Venice Biennial, Italy (2015)

Every Life is a Fire (2009–15)
Installation view, detail
All the World's Futures, Venice Biennial, Italy (2015)

Every Life is a Fire (2009–15)
Installation view, detail
All the World's Futures, Venice Biennial, Italy (2015)

Every Life is a Fire (2009–15)
Installation view, detail
All the World's Futures, Venice Biennial, Italy (2015)

Description

The ongoing project Every Life is a Fire consists of a series of boxes that unfold to reveal miniature worlds of sculptural assemblages. For example, the current final piece from this body of work, Heir of Nothing (2015—2017), first shown at the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp, Belgium, opens to reveal a coronet balanced on a series of texts. In contrast to the expansive transparency of Universe, this work and others in the series celebrate interiority while inviting performative engagement. As the art historian John Welchman notes, “Brey’s boxes don’t simply open, instead they unfurl like a flag. The box also houses its own field of reference activated by the very process of opening … as if the box were the site of so many bodily organs and the acts of viewing or entering it a kind of surgical procedure.” (When these pieces were first shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA) in Antwerp, Belgium, volunteers unfolded and folded them twice a day for viewers; their ritualized actions imbuing the boxes with the charged sacredness of reliquaries.) Engaging with concepts of internality, Every Life is a Fire poses metaphysical questions about the nature of being, constructing, in Brey’s words, a “hermeneutics of the soul.”