Postcommodity, a collective comprised of Kade L. Twist and SFAI Art + Technology Chair Cristóbal Martínez, has been awarded the 2018 Carnegie International Fine Prize!
Founded in 1896, Carnegie International is the second-oldest Contemporary Art exhibition in the world and has made Pittsburgh a hub for the contemporary art scene and artists alike. It takes place at the Carnegie Museum of Art every 3-5 years, and includes works from prominent current contemporary artists and collectives. This year, the indigenous collective Postcommodity contributed an enormous installation made of coal, white glass, and rusted steel harvested from local factories and mines entitled From Smoke and Tangled Waters We Carried Fire Home.
The piece consumes the first floor of CMoA’s Hall of Sculpture, commanding the viewer’s attention on the industrial landscape of Pittsburgh. Shards of glass, coal, and industrial steel are organized in patterns reminiscent of indigenous sand paintings, connecting Postcommodity directly to the marginalized labor force upon which Pittsburgh’s steel industry was built. Pointedly referring to the history of colonized peoples whose labor was used to build the individual wealth that later funds art institutions such as the Carnegie Museum of Art.
According to Martínez, this work aims to rectify the romanization of these narratives by reincorporating the complexity of its colonial past. From Smoke and Tangled Waters We Carried Fire Home brings to life the story of black labor unions born from these shards and empowered through music; a poetic take on a difficult history. Keeping in tune with the contemporary use of the space, jazz musicians will draw from the piece in their scores expanding the viewer’s experience from one that is merely visual to one that is environmental. During its lifetime at Carnegie, the piece will become a new foundation to rebuild this historical fantasy of an industrial America.
In addition to the major accomplishment of winning the globally-recognized Fine Prize, Postcommodity provided SFAI students with the opportunity to participate in Carnegie International. Their interactive work will be shown in November at CMoA’s University Night with Postcommodity. Cristóbal Martínez and Kade Twist of Postcommodity will speak about their work, and the challenges of communicating complex stories through visual language. Doors will be open to university students, faculty and staff.
Images: (1-2) Postcommodity, Through Smoke and Tangled Waters We Carried Fire Home, 2018. Installation photos courtesy of Carnegie International. (3) Cristóbal Martínez installing Through Smoke and Tangled Waters We Carried Fire Home at Carnegie Museum of Art, 2018. Photo courtesy of Carnegie International.