Gabriel Chaile and Sin Wai Kin Premiere New Work in BAMPFA’s Contemporary Art Program
(Berkeley, CA) October 25, 2023—On December 13, the internationally recognized artists Gabriel Chaile and Sin Wai Kin will open solo exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) as part of MATRIX, a signature exhibition series that provides artists with an experimental platform to make and show new work. Both artists will premiere new artworks at BAMPFA—Chaile with a monumental BAMPFA-commissioned sculpture that connects to his ongoing research into the forms and rituals of precolonial cultures in northwestern Argentina, and Sin with visually kaleidoscopic video works that use speculative fiction and storytelling to imagine new worlds. Both presentations mark the artists’ first solo exhibitions in the United States.
MATRIX 283 / Gabriel Chaile: No hay nada que destruya el corazón como la pobreza centers on Chaile’s large-scale sculptural commission, which he will complete onsite in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Art Practice department during a residency preceding the exhibition. Born in San Miguel de Tucumán, the Lisbon-based artist has been celebrated worldwide—including at the 59th Venice Biennale last year—for his soaring, anthropomorphic clay sculptures that expand on the forms, rituals, and traditions of precolonial cultures in his native Argentina. His practice intertwines Indigenous mythologies and contemporary sociopolitical references, including Tucumán Arde (Tucumán is Burning), an important series of art events that exposed the region’s widespread poverty following the federal government’s closure of key sugar mills in the 1960s. Chaile’s MATRIX exhibition, the title of which translates to “Nothing destroys the heart like poverty,” will remain on view at BAMPFA through April 14, 2024.
Best known for their category-defying performances and moving image works, Sin will also present new work in MATRIX 284 / Sin Wai Kin: The Story Changing. In addition to their most recent video work, Dreaming the End (2023), Sin’s six-channel video work The Breaking Story (2022) will spill out from the galleries and into the museum’s public space. The Toronto-born artist draws on references ranging from Cantonese and Peking opera to their early performances in London’s experimental drag scene, in which their popular onstage persona pastiched an idealized version of Western femininity. Since then, their cast has grown to encompass an expanding universe of characters who in their multiplicity address how forms of embodiment have the potential to dismantle binary constructs and transform social narratives. Sin’s MATRIX exhibition will remain on view at BAMPFA through March 10, 2024.
Chaile and Sin join a distinguished forty-five-year legacy of nearly 300 artists who have shown their work at BAMPFA at pivotal moments in their careers through the MATRIX Program, including Nan Goldin, Alfredo Jaar, Julie Mehretu, Adrian Piper, Martin Puryear, and Cecilia Vicuña, among many others. MATRIX was established at BAMPFA in 1978 as one of the first programs at a US museum to showcase changing exhibitions of cutting-edge contemporary art, giving artists a crucial platform to expand their creative practices in new and exciting ways.
Under the leadership of BAMPFA’s new curatorial team, which was appointed earlier this year, MATRIX will focus on commissioning and premiering new work by artists from the Bay Area to across the globe. The team is led by Chief Curator Margot Norton, who is curating Chaile’s MATRIX exhibition. Also new to BAMPFA are the Phyllis C. Wattis Senior Curator Victoria Sung, who is curating Sin’s exhibition, and Senior Curator Anthony Graham.
“Both Chaile and Sin connect to important sociopolitical issues of the present, weaving traditional forms of artmaking and contemporary references with reverence and humor,” Norton said. “These artists are making some of today’s most innovative and insightful work across media, and it is an honor to present their first US solo exhibitions through the MATRIX Program at BAMPFA.”
“BAMPFA’s MATRIX Program has long been a touchstone for contemporary artists and audiences nationally and internationally,” said Sung. “We are excited to build on this important legacy with a new generation of MATRIX artists and to underscore our commitment to centering and supporting artists through the production of bold, ambitious new work.”
About Gabriel Chaile
Gabriel Chaile (b. 1985, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina) makes sculptures, paintings, and large-scale installations that reflect how social issues of the present connect to long histories of anti-colonial resistance. His works have been included in prominent group exhibitions, including the 59th Venice Biennale (2022) and the 5th New Museum Triennial (2021). He has had solo and group exhibitions at Studio Voltaire, London (2023); The Highline, New York (2023); Foundation Thalie, Brussels (2021); Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (2017); Centro Cultural San Pablo T, Tucumán (2016); and Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires (2015); among others.
About Sin Wai Kin
Sin Wai Kin is an artist who uses speculative fiction within the realms of performance, moving image, writing, and print to interrupt normative processes of desire, identification, and objectification. Sin was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2022. Their works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at Fondazione Memmo, Rome (2023); Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève (2023); Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2022); Para Site, Hong Kong (2022); Somerset House, London (2022); ICA, Los Angeles (2022); The Guggenheim, New York (2022); and Tank Museum, Shanghai (2020); among others.
One of the nation’s leading university museums, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is a forum for cultural experiences that transform individuals and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and film. As the premier visual arts venue at the top U.S. public research university, BAMPFA is uniquely dedicated to art and film in equal measure. Its annual program encompasses exhibitions, screenings, and public programs that connect visitors from campus, across the Bay Area, and beyond with the leading artists and filmmakers of our time.
BAMPFA takes a contemporary and critical perspective on its wide-ranging collections. The museum’s holdings of more than 25,000 works of art include particular strengths in 20th- and 21st-century work, including Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, conceptual art, and African American quilts, along with focused historical collections of 19th-century American folk art and early American painting, Italian Baroque painting, Old Master works on paper, and East Asian paintings. BAMPFA’s collection also includes more than 18,000 films and videos, representing the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan and impressive holdings of Soviet cinema, West Coast avant-garde film, and seminal video art, as well as hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film.
Founded as the University Art Museum in 1970 and initially housed in a Brutalist structure designed by Mario Ciampi, BAMPFA relocated in 2016 to a new facility designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in the heart of downtown Berkeley, where it has become an anchor for the city’s flourishing arts district. The museum’s curatorial strategies reflect the rich diversity of the UC Berkeley campus and the greater Bay Area through programming that is interdisciplinary, intergenerational, and international in scope. A locally connected, globally relevant institution, BAMPFA is deeply dedicated to its role as an educational space for UC Berkeley scholars and the general public. It fulfills this mission with three distinguished study centers—the James Cahill Asian Art Study Center, the Film Library and Study Center, and the Florence Helzel Works on Paper Study Center—as well as a range of collaborations with the university’s academic departments and student organizations.
MATRIX 283 / Gabriel Chaile: No hay nada que destruya el corazón como la pobreza is curated by Margot Norton, Chief Curator, with Matthew Villar Miranda, Curatorial Associate. MATRIX 284 / Sin Wai Kin: The Story Changing is curated by Victoria Sung, Phyllis C. Wattis Senior Curator. Both exhibitions are part of BAMPFA’s ongoing MATRIX series of contemporary art exhibitions. Founded in 1978, MATRIX provides artists with an experimental platform to make and show new work.
The MATRIX program is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis.