At the End of Art There Is Adrián Villar Rojas’ ‘The Theater of Disappearance’

Contemporary art lovers in the know are all talking about the relatively unknown artist, Adrián Villar Rojas’ “The Theater of Disappearance.” This modern addition to the avant-garde may not have drawn much attention yet, but Rojas is set to be one of the defining artists of the 21st Century for his critique on the Institution, with his eclectic assemblage environments that fundamentally upset the viewer’s relationship to art. No longer are we passive observers looking at the outside of an object, in Rojas’ work we are literally enveloped by the art, swallowed whole, and transported to a new landscape pulled straight from one man’s mind.

Inside vast rooms there are assemblages of surreal materials and iconography, mixing comic books, sci fi, anime with film, to stir up references from the past, present, as well as eerily projecting into the future with the decaying remains of civilizations piled next to rubble, with plants growing just outside our vision behind the ceiling, casting ghostly shadows in the dimly lit room. Inside another room, all reference seem to melt away as the ceiling, floor and walls are collapsed by white. On a monolithic plinth in the center of the space is a white sculpture, defined only by its shadows, which creates subtle grey tones to separate it from the engulfing white background. We always associate black with emptiness, but here Rojas puts the void of the blank page on display, as he plays with notions of heaven and nothingness.

The “Theatre of Disappearance” has lost none of its power, even after travelling from the roof garden of The Met in New York. The off white figures collapsed on tables in a huge display (meant to evoke the scene after a feast or banquet) from The Met suddenly take on new meaning in relation to the other installations, as a metaphor for the apocalypse.

Adrián Villar Rojas’ “The Theater of Disappearance” is on display at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA from Oct. 22, 2017 – May 13, 2018. Tickets are available here.