Sérvulo Esmeraldo’s “Les Excitables 1966-1975”

Most galleries will toss out anyone who tries to touch the art. Sicardi Gallery won’t, though; in fact, they’ll give you a pair of soft gloves and a personal invitation to go right ahead. It’s Sérvulo Esmeraldo’s “Les Excitables 1966-1975,” a series of boxes, that visitors get to touch. Each piece contains material that reacts to the static electricity viewers create by rubbing their hands on the box’s cover.

The series features some of Esmeraldo’s earliest work — small, brightly colored food containers filled with bits of paper and covered with plastic film from 1966 (Foodtainer 1). From later in that decade, there are larger boxes, filled with carefully ordered rows of string (E68001) or bits of metallic paper (E68003) hanging from pins. As viewers pass their hands over the clear Plexiglas cover, the pieces move in waves toward or away from the charge, each pass creating a different pattern. Esmeraldo began using opaque Plexiglas in the 1970s. E7008 seems to be a monochromatic box — until you touch it and the tips of colored wooden cylinders pop to the surface. What was an empty white surface becomes filled with dots and shadows.

Many of these works have been quietly stored away for the last 20 years in a Paris studio. Don’t miss the opportunity to see — and touch — them. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 2246 Richmond. Through January 12, 2008. For information, call 713-529-1313 or visit www.sicardi.com. Free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 2007


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