Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

Phantom Truck + Always After


The North American premiere of Phantom Truck, featured at documenta 12, presented alongside Always After (The Glass House), a key 2006 video projection from Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle's much-discussed body of work based around the buildings of Mies van der Rohe.

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s sculpture and video works have explored such phenomena as war, migration, the environment, and the legacies of modernist architecture with impeccable formal elegance and metaphoric power. For much of the 2000s, Manglano-Ovalle has been producing work exploring the “climate” of our times – both in terms of meteorology and the state of global geo-political affairs. Originally produced as a project for documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, Manglano-Ovalle’s enigmatic sculptural installation Phantom Truck (2007) will be exhibited in North America for the first time. It will be presented alongside Always After (The Glass House), a key 2006 video projection from his much-discussed body of work based around the buildings of Mies van der Rohe.

Phantom Truck is a full-scale reproduction of a mobile truck trailer ostensibly containing a biological weapons lab. Such a truck was described by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell when addressing the United Nations Security Council prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. After the invasion, no trailer was ever found that was capable of biological weapons production, so Manglano-Ovalle has built one: a Platonic idealization of Powell’s lab. Parked in existential limbo in a darkened space, the barely perceptible yet massive truck austerely reflects on its own status as a fiction while towering above those who view it.

Employing long, graceful takes, Always After (The Glass House) focuses on the broken glass accumulated after the windows of the Mies-designed Illinois Institute of Technology’s Crown Hall were smashed as part of a ceremony in advance of the building’s renovation. For Manglano-Ovalle, this dreamlike scene of destruction – where modernist progress meets crisis – is a potent metaphor for our twenty-first century way of seeing the world “as a condition of a post-event.” For Manglano-Ovalle, we are doomed to always clean up our messes – as the custodians here sweep up the shards – rather than thinking through the consequences of creating them in the first place.

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (born in Madrid, 1961) has had solo exhibitions at El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey and Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City (2004), the Art Institute of Chicago (2005) and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams (2009), among many others. Group exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial, New York (2000), Liverpool Biennial (2004), documenta 12, Kassel (2007), and Universal Code: Art and Cosmology in the Information Age at The Power Plant (2009).

Curated by Gregory Burke (Director of The Power Plant), the exhibition is accompanied by a publication featuring an essay on Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle's recent work by Programs/Publications Coordinator Ed Kanerva and full-colour images of Phantom Truck and Always After (The Glass House).

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