Time Out New York / Nov 26–Dec 2, 2010

William Cordova

Taking the image and idea of the labyrinth—specifically as explored in the writings of Jorge Luis Borges and Octavio Paz—as a point of departure, Peruvian artist William Cordova tracks some of the form’s many associations through a variety of motifs and materials. At times, as in a maze constructed from old record covers with which the show shares its title, the reference is plain; more often, it is willfully oblique. But if a labyrinth isn’t something in which to lose oneself, what is? Playing as well on a juxtaposition of the childlike, the handmade and the rural with the tough glamour of metropolitan hip-hop culture, Cordova concocts a refreshing and resonant mix in his first solo outing at this gallery.

In drawings, collages, constructions and videos, Cordova makes extensive and beguiling use of fragments salvaged from both the popular media and his immediate physical surroundings, often bringing the two together in surprising ways. In a suite of 100 small drawings, Untitled (The Echo in Nicolas Guillen Landrians Bolex), the artist pays homage to the tradition of swapping stories over a familial meal via the iconography of cameras and microphones, platforms and stages, massive speaker stacks and teetering piles of vinyl. Sometimes cartoonlike in their ready wit, sometimes more abstruse, they convey a lively sense of everyday life as an ongoing performance. Combining gold leaf with graphite, old book covers with fresh chocolate, booming rap fragments with hazy film footage, Cordova stirs up a likable chaos that, as essayist Andrés Estefane writes, “places our habits under siege.”

Image: William Cordova, untitled (geronimo), 2009