Virgil Ortiz set to unveil Meow Wolf installation - Albuquerque Journal

Virgil Ortiz set to unveil Meow Wolf installation

Cochiti Pueblo artist Virgil Ortiz is collaborating with Meow Wolf in Santa Fe on an installation to be opened in fall 2022. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Throughout his career, Virgil Ortiz has pushed boundaries through art.

The Cochiti Pueblo artist is teaming up with Meow Wolf to create a permanent installation at “House of Eternal Return” in Santa Fe.

Ortiz is known as one of the most avant-garde artists of his time, fusing his Pueblo culture with sci-fi, fantasy and apocalyptic themes that yield provocative and futuristic imagery.

His installation is “Sirens: Secret Passkeys & Portals” and features a cast of characters from his “Revolt 1680/2180” saga — an ongoing project Ortiz has been working on for the past two decades.

“Revolt 1680/2180” is the vision of a dys­topian future 500 years after the Pueblo Revolt in which time-travelers return to the era to aid their ancestors. They quickly gather the survivors and search for any remaining clay artifacts from the battlefields, realizing that challenges and persecution will continue, making the preservation of their clay, culture, language, and traditions from extinction imperative.

“The freedom to touch, feel, take pictures, and explore an immersive installation opens up many possibilities,” said Ortiz. “It has challenged me to adapt to the idea of having people interact with the displays, decode patterns, listen to the soundtrack and wander around it all.”

Oritz is one of three new installations planned, according to Meow Wolf.

The other is “The Ancestral Crypt,” by Squidlicker and “until i see you again” by Jacob Fisher.

According to Meow Wolf, the installations will be unveiled in the fall.

Squidlicker, also known as Lauren YS, is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work is influenced by dreams, mythology, death, comics, love, sex, psychedelia, animation and their Asian-American heritage.

“The Ancestral Crypt” will be in a two-story room accessed through a round portal from the exhibition’s central forest.

“Between every plane there is a liminal space — between yin and yang, body and soul, life and death, between the sacred and the profane, reality and surreality, past and future, male and female,” said Squidlicker. “This space is meant to act as a haven for fluidity: a temple to the liminal, to bring into materiality a space for that which defies absolution. An homage to the queer, to the nonbinary, to the shifting, monstrous and in-process.”

Fisher is a New York-based artist and his large scale, site-specific installations have been exhibited nationally. His process, which he calls “highly repetitive and obsessive” allows for introspection and escape while creating works, a feeling he attempts to activate in his viewers. The interactive and accessible pieces–viewers can walk in it, under it, around it–create moments of interactivity, imagination, reflection and play with their contrasting forces of gravity, light and energy.

Fisher’s installation will be located in the depths of the exhibition space shrouding Space Sphere, the giant interstellar traveling ball.

“As you enter the installation, shape, structure, color, detail, and light grasp your attention,” said Fisher. “The environment diverts your consciousness away from the comings and goings of the outside world, and towards sensation of the physical — the present moment. My hope is that, for a moment, in this odd beautiful world, you forget your efforts to order the chaos of the everyday. For a moment you are filled with tranquility.”

Susan Garbett, general manager of the “House of Eternal Return,” said the permanent exhibition is constantly changing.

“The new installations go beyond their respective rooms, adding the creative psyche of Virgil, Lauren and Jacob to the hundreds of works already displayed. The intention and experience of the entire space evolves with every new brushstroke, every new sculpture, every new touch of an artist’s hand,” Garbett said. “In the case of Ortiz’s work, history serves as a powerful lens for examining ourselves creatively, changing course and improving how we value art and artists. Fisher’s work brings us the opportunity to find peace in the present, and Squidlicker’s installation is a space of deep ancestral acceptance of the liminal. All of these combine to make some of the most powerful experiences we have offered yet.”

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