Thursday, 15 May 2014 18:41

CIFO presents The Prisoner's Dilemma: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection

CIFO presents The Prisoner's Dilemma: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection 






How Artists Respond to the Exercise of Power in Contemporary Life


Exhibition drawn from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 in December Curated by Leanne Mella


Miami, Florida - The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, known as CIFO, is proud to present The Prisoner's Dilemma: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, an exhibition curated by Leanne Mella showcasing contemporary art works in the collection that articulate the ways in which artists respond to the exercise of power in contemporary life. On view from December 3, 2008 to March 01, 2009, the exhibition will coincide with the international art fair Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 3-7 2008). It will feature works by leading artists such as Alexander Apóstol, Judith Barry, Paolo Canevari, Stan Douglas, Jimmie Durham, Cao Fei, Regina Galindo, Carlos Garaicoa, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Carlos Motta, Shirin Neshat, Julian Rosefeldt, and Eve Sussman drawn from the exceptional collection assembled by international arts patron Ella Fontanals-Cisneros.


Throughout history, artists have used many means to highlight and analyze the societal exercise of power and social control. The examples are so well-known-from contemporaneous drawings and Medieval tapestries depicting the 10th Century Sack of Tunis, depictions of The Rape of the Sabine Women by Rubens, Poussin and David, and Goya's Disasters of War, to more recent examples in the post-World War II films of Roberto Rossellini, and the Vietnam-era work of Jean-Luc Godard, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, and others. These images and narratives continue to shock and move us even after, in some cases, hundreds of years.


In our age, visual artists have seized considerable territory from Hollywood and feature film in depicting contemporary social issues. Through works in photography, installation, performance, the moving image and new media, often deployed in combination, artists address contemporary social issues with a resonance and power that a corporatized film industry seems unable to achieve. The works in this exhibition comment upon confront and challenge strategies of totalizing power and social control. Issues of powerlessness, exclusion and marginalization, subversion, escapism, transcendence, warfare, protest and resistance are all inventively addressed in this selection of works from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection.


Artists such as Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Francis Alÿs and Alexandre Arrechea, interrogate the ever expanding landscape of the society under surveillance. In Tension Superficial (Surface Tension)(1992), Lozano-Hemmer's all-seeing eye, animated by complex computer technology, follows our every move. Here, there is no unobtrusive camera hidden high up in corner; but a sizable screen through which we are instead invited to watch ourselves being watched, even as we marvel at the technological innovations that make it possible. Longing and fear of connection is explored by artists Cao Fei, Jenny Holzer, and Judith Barry. Cao Fei's i.Mirror by China Tracy (AKA: Cao Fei)(2007) documents Cao's avatar on an odyssey through Second Life-a virtual world described by its founders as a place to have fun, buy real estate and run a business. The flat and stilted animation that is a hallmark of Second Life and the musical score that accompanies her wanderings combine to produce an overwhelming sense of dislocation and loneliness that interestingly mirrors reality. The belief in a steadily progressive modernity dead-ends in Julian Rosefeldt's The Perfectionist (Trilogy of Failure, Part III). In a three-screen film installation, Rosefeldt gives us a protagonist as a metaphor for failed promises and broken dreams. A tragic-comic hero, he wants to fly but his every effort to do so is thwarted by a series of seemingly arbitrary events.


The conceptual focus of this exhibition as well as the artworks selected highlights one of the most important roles of the artist today: to construct and maintain a space of mental, political and aesthetic freedom from today's systems of control. "It has been our aim to invite guest curators to organize some of our shows, because we consider presenting different readings and perspectives of the collection of chief importance," said CIFO's founder Ella Fontanals-Cisneros.  "The exhibition The Prisoner's Dilemma is one more proof of the richness and expansiveness of contemporary art, in that it offers us ever-changing, powerful, broad platforms for inspiration, for thinking, for debating ideas and for enjoyment."


Artists featured in exhibition


Francis Alÿs                                          Barbara Kruger

Alexander Apóstol                                 Rafael  Lozano-Hemmer

Alexandre Arrechea                               Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck                     Daniel Joseph Martinez

Judith Barry                                          Priscilla Monge

Tania Brugera                                       Carlos Motta

Paolo Canevari                                      Antoni Muntadas

Stan Douglas                                        Shirin Neshat

Jimmie Durham                                    Julian Rosefeldt

Cao Fei                                                Laurie Simmons

Regina José Galindo                              Eve Sussman

Carlos Garaicoa                                    Frank Thiel

Mathilde ter Heijne                               Susan Turcot

Thomas Hirschhorn                              Monika Weiss

Jenny Holzer                                      


About the Curator

Leanne Mella is a contemporary art curator, specializing in American artists' work in film, video, performance, photography and new media.  Among the exhibitions she has organized are Along the Frontier: Ann Hamilton, Bruce Nauman, Francesc Torres and Bill Viola, inaugurated at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and presented in other cities in Central and Eastern Europe; Set in Motion, an exhibition celebrating the New York State Council on the Arts' 30-year history of support for independent film and video; and Public Figures, a critical exhibition of installations and photo-based work at Indiana University.

Ms. Mella has consulted extensively to non-profit arts and culture organizations in the U.S. and abroad.  She has organized exhibitions and lectured at numerous institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York State Council on the Arts; New Museum of Contemporary Art; the Film Society of Lincoln Center; Open Society Institute and Pro Arte, St. Petersburg, Russia; Video Data Bank of the Art Institute of Chicago; Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria. More recently, Ms. Mella served for close to seven years as the manager of International Visual Arts Programs in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She was responsible for programs supporting the participation of U.S. artists in major international exhibitions and cultural exchange programs in the visual arts.


About the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros began collecting contemporary art in the 1970s, and today her collection includes important and cutting-edge pieces by some of the leading artists of our time.  Collection highlights include photography by Barbara Kruger, Ana Mendieta, and Thomas Struth; abstract works by Barbara Hepworth, Jesús Soto, and Gego; and video installations by Bill Viola, Chantal Akerman, and Julian Rosefeldt.

CIFO Special Events & Hours during Art Basel Miami Beach 
The Prisoner's Dilemma: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection
December 3, 2008 - March 1, 2009

Hours during Art Basel Miami Beach
Wednesday, December 3 - Sunday, December 7, 9am - 4pm

CIFO Events
Wednesday, December 3 - Sunday, December 7, 9am - Noon

Breakfasts @ CIFO  
Wednesday, December 3
10:30am: Just a question, a performance by Tania Bruguera

Thursday, December 4
10:30am: The Shape of Things to Come - Artists as Public Intellectuals

A panel discussion moderated by curator Leanne Mella and including Tania Brugera, Paolo Canevari, Daniel Joseph Martinez and Carlos Motta

Friday, December 5
9 a.m. - Noon: Opening Brunch for The Prisoner's Dilemma: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection
By Invitation Only

Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7
10:30am: Gallery tour with exhibition curator, Leanne Mella


CIFO Related Events Around Town:


Tuesday, December 2 - Sunday, December 7, Art Video | New Media Lounge, ART MIAMI

Movement as Meditations on Modernity
Free for CIFO Members

Wednesday, December 3 - Sunday, December 7, SCOPE Miami 08
Narrative / Non-Narrative: Contemporary Artists from the CIFO Programs 
Free for CIFO Members

Saturday, December 6, Gusman Concert Hall, University of Miami
8:00 pm: Miami Symphony Orchestra: Some Art, Jazz and Basil

Sunday, December 7, Lincoln Theatre
8:00 pm: Miami Symphony Orchestra: Some Art, Jazz and Basil

Please visit for ticket prices

Special admission prices for CIFO Members 


Exhibition Catalogue and Brochure

The Prisoner's Dilemma: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 100-page color catalogue. This catalogue can be purchased for $35.

Visitors to the show are provided with a variety of education materials, including a free, illustrated brochure designed to provide information concerning the exhibition and its related programs and events.  The exhibition and programs brochure and the catalogue will be available in the admissions desk.


About CIFO

The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2002 by Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and her family to foster cultural and educational exchange within the visual arts.  CIFO has three primary initiatives:

  • CIFO Art Space - a permanent venue for the presentation of engaging and provocative contemporary art exhibitions highlighting works from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, works by its grantees and commissioned artists, and experimental, challenging art programs;
  • Grants and Commissions Programs supporting emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from Latin America; and
  • Foundation-initiated support for other arts and culture projects.

Additional Info

  • Published Date: Friday, 17 October 2008