Mario Suardiaz, 1, 11–12 May 2022
Mario Suardiaz ordered this text to be written sixty to ninety minutes before the opening of the exhibition.
The title of the exhibition is 1, because it’s the artist’s first exhibition. But what kind of artistry is involved in ordering four pallets, loaded with contents unknown to the artist and sealed in plastic, to be sent to a provincial suburban location? Mario Suardiaz’s exhibition at Guzzler is not art but filler.
What is filler? It takes up space in the gallery for a period of time; it is documented and archived on the website. Filler is one of the core values of the Guzzler franchise (as well as high turn-over, technical ineptitude, and the dirt floor). The insides of Suardiaz’s four arrivals are unknown because they are ‘mystery pallets’, random groups of products returned to Walmart, Target and Sam’s. After the products were returned, they were sent to a second party (a surplus auction house), which packaged them on pallets and sold them to a third-party (the artist), who arranged for the dispatch of the pallets to the gallery. Suardiaz’s show looks like a generic artistic critique of labour, but it’s primarily a way to fill the gallery remotely.
The arrival of the pallets marked a glut in the schedule, a driveway/entry blockage. They didn’t fit through the gallery door, so had to be cut up and disassembled, then carried inside, repackaged and rewrapped. The mystery pallets are, in other words, not mystery pallets but reconstructions (not fourth-hand but fifth-hand). They look the same as when they arrived on a DHL truck a week ago, except there are no stickers, the plastic wrapping is from a hardware store and some products are missing.
When does the artist relinquish control? When an exhibition becomes a transaction? The author has not shown his face (we know him by a display icon of Hillary Clinton), and many times his Whatsapp calls have come from different countries. He is calling from a NYC number, but informs the gallery he is in Ibiza; a couple of months later the calls come from a number marked with an Inglewood location. Is Rosanna merely a port for contraband? Mules?
From a distance this might seem like a Kum & Go show, but there was a lot of red tape, logistical complications etc. The gallerists thank the artist for his perseverance, and for funding this tasteful contribution to the Guzzler program. We enjoyed working for you, and look forward to collaborating again in the future.