Dario Robleto, “The Minor Chords Are Ours”
D’Amelio Terras, New York
February 26 – April 16, 2011
D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present The Minor Chords Are Ours, its second solo exhibition with Dario Robleto. In recent years, Robleto’s handcrafted sculptures have integrated a variety of historical objects to explore themes of war, mourning, and the fragile relationship between humans and the natural environment. In The Minor Chords Are Ours, Robleto returns to a material essential to his earlier work: the vinyl record. Records have long been used as a means of artistic expression for many contemporary artists, as the exhibition The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, which features Robleto’s work, testifies to. Trevor Schoonmaker writes in the catalogue essay, “Artists…engage with records in many ways: as performance or critique, icon, document or archive, artifact, metaphor, portrait, or transcendent object.”
For Robleto, the material of the vinyl record and the graphics of album covers allows him to explore a universal musical culture and the ways in which our experiences of music shape our identity. This body of work asks the question: How do familial music choices, made before you were born, set the tone for the rest of your life? And how is this sensibility handed down, perhaps subconsciously, through each succeeding generation? Robleto acknowledges the influence of others’ musical choices on ones own identity, as he works mostly from his personal, his mother’s and his grandmother’s music collection as both physical and conceptual source material, but also suggesting a similar story can be told from everyone’s familial musical lineage. Working from this multigenerational perspective, Robleto samples a collective musical heritage as he melts down vinyl discs and excerpts or erases imagery from album covers. Stripped of specific reference to performers, the album covers and other ephemera are reworked into encrypted ciphers while the melted vinyl takes new symbolic forms. Also extending his interest in mourning traditions, these works reflect on death from an unusual perspective – the loss of a band member, a favorite artist, and even the slow death of the album itself. Like the vinyl’s permanently pressed spiral groove that persists as a map of once realized melodic potential, Robleto’s works take on a new state of being while remaining carriers of a shared history.