Galeria Nara Roesler | New York is pleased to present Paul Ramírez Jonas: Give and Take, the artist’s third solo exhibition with the Gallery and first at its New York location. For the past five years Ramírez Jonas has exclusively focused on new public participatory projects. This return to the exhibition format will feature intimate and subjective drawings and small objects that have been made concurrently with the artist’s public projects.
Over the last twenty-five years Ramírez Jonas has created works that range from large-scale public installations and monumental sculptures to intimate drawings, performances and videos. Through his practice he seeks to challenge the definitions of art and the public and to engineer active audience participation and exchange in a variety of public spaces. His 2010 Creative Time project, Key to the City, for example, involved 20,000 participants and centered around a key as a vehicle for exploring social contracts pertaining to trust, access, and belonging. Meanwhile his presentation of “Alternative Facts” at Art Basel 2018, focused on co-creating 500 drawings based on individual lies told by the public and transformed into truths by the artist. Multiples based on everyday objects such as coins and keys or the public’s own words, also are a reoccurring motif allowing the artist to question notions of value, circulation and societal rituals or behaviors.
Ramírez Jonas’ latest series of drawings take the form of ledgers, charting abstract systems of equivalences and exchange rates. The artist links various elements in these diagrams; from pennies to buttons, his own finger prints, and the words “give” and “take” to complete coin-shaped idioms. In addition to their accounting of transactions, the works also address the passage of time, as currency waxes and wanes in lunar-like cycles. These drawings share a formal language with Ramírez Jonas’ public projects. They focus on the small gestures, marks and objects that we use for exchange; and the forms we use to determine value, to keep records and keep both material and immaterial accounts.