Ella's Gift

Cifo is an oasis in a desert of concrete rot

One of the targets hanging outside, which was peppered with bullets from Galindo's long-barrel .38, shows she hit the bull's-eye almost every time.

With violence against women a hot-button topic, and the artist's homeland a region where violence permeates daily life, the riveting video performances seem to advocate that everyone should stay strapped if they want to survive in a hostile world.

Venezuelan Alessandro Balteo's UNstabile-Mobile links the histories of art, politics, and power in an installation referencing the natural contours of Iraqi oil fields in an Alexander Calder-esque sculpture. He includes historical documentation and wall text alluding to the region's instability and occupation by military forces.

From Regina José Galindo's Plomo project
From Regina José Galindo's Plomo project


Through November 12
Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, 1018 N Miami Ave, Miami; 305-455-3380

Among the documentation Balteo has placed as a handout for his project are Iraqi oil field maps relinquished under a March 5, 2003 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerning the activities of the 2001 Cheney Energy Task Force.

The artist's sculpture, assembled from pieces prefabricated industrially from petrochemical materials, conveys a sense of the pipelines and oil fields depicted on the map.

Carlos Motta takes the spectator on a journey through the history of Saint Petersburg, Russia, in his provocative series of videos, Leningrad, Petrograd, Petersburg.

In one video, the Colombian artist offers a poignant take on the Leningrad that underwent years of political repression under Stalin's rule. Two poems — Anna Akhmatova's "Petrograd, 1919" and Osip Mandelstam's "Leningrad (1930)" — are heard solemnly intoned in Russian over the video montage of modern-day Saint Petersburg in stark black-and-white.

The image of a seagull is seen gliding in the sky in one scene, and a slow-motion closeup of a man speaking into a microphone is captured in the next. Other scenes jump to sailors wearing striped tank tops while swabbing a ship's deck.

As a woman's voice reads lines from the poems, subtitles reveal the words: "I live in a black, black staircase, and a bell ripped from its meat kicks and stabs at my forehead."

In one segment of the video, the camera lingers on the shoes of someone walking on a rain-slicked street, as the umbrella the person is holding overhead casts a shadowy nimbus on the ground.

These works — and those of Mariana Castillo Deball, Jacqueline Lacasa, Rubens Mano, and Carla Zaccagnini, also on display — not only are remarkable for their diversity, but also leave one praying that cifo's accomplishment here will somehow breathe life into the necrotic streets outside.

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