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TENRI CULTURAL INSTITUTE OF NEW YORK
43A WEST 13TH STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10011 TELEPHONE 212.645.2800 EMAIL tci@tenri.org

 

Rodney Zelenka

Dominion and Frailty

November 17 - December 22, 2022


Opening Reception: 11/17 (Thu) 5:00 - 8:00 pm

New York: Tenri Cultural Institute, proudly presents Rodney Zelenka: Dominion and Frailty, an exhibition comprising the Panamanian artist’s recent works. The show is co-curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos and Elga Wimmer and will run from November 17th through December 22nd, 2022 with a reception on November 17th, from 5-8 PM, 43A West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Zelenka’s Dominion and Frailty features paintings from the last three-year Covid period that speak to the issues of poverty, power, discrimination and disenfranchisement. Generally speaking, Zelenka engages with the existential quandary and its empirical questions – who are we; what is the purpose of life; what is its meaning; what defines us as humans? Zelenka’s painting Colors and Black and White, 2021 demonstrates such a conundrum where a poverty-stricken homeless man sits on the ground amid countless objects from dispossessed migrants. The top part of his body is nude while the bottom portion is covered in the same grey and black striped drapery as the other four figures in the scene. The latter stand off to the left side and are shown receding in space within the collection of objects; the first holds a long piece of brown metal, another behind him clutches a bundle, the next in further recession balances a rather large container on his head, and the smallest one all the way in the back is situated on the diagonal horizon line. They are all studying piles of possessions on the ground; hats, bags, suitcases, carpets, shoes, bottles, a bed, a bureau all the accrued wealth displayed like a memento mori that reminds us of our mortality. Zelenka’s words resonate with this work “..we are all quite similar” he writes. “We want to live, to procreate, to protect our family, our system, we need to eat, and we will all die. Thus, we are a community of souls in a temporary existence. This means we all co-exist and are required to follow the rules of engagement in order to leave behind a meaningful legacy and to enjoy a peaceful co-existence for which respect is necessary.”

In his compositions Zelenka uses color imbued with symbolic significance “white implies silence, black darkness, red, a touch of sex and violence while blues are more peaceful as are the yellows.” Zelenka analyzes world power as he portrays the overt and covert differences between class structure and ethnic identity. He experiments to find the right balance in depicting his subjects but feels his calling is “to create a narrative of situations of human existence vs an individual’s own self.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact the curators Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos at 646-344-9009, tvrachopoulos@gmail.com or Elga Wimmer at elgawimmer@gmail.com, 646-515-4898.