No se me quita lo naco
Meridiano, Puerto Escondido
September 2023 – January 2024

Through the synthesis of sculptural and social practices, Gabriel Chaile (b. 1985; Argentina) creates communal spaces where material histories, cultural heritage, and contemporary life interact. Known for his large-scale anthropomorphic sculptures crafted from adobe clay, Chaile engages with the archaeological and ethnographic narratives embedded within traditional ceramic artifacts across the northwestern region of his native Argentina. Often referencing pre-Columbian vessels used for nourishment and gathering, such as pots and clay ovens, Chaile traces how the visual accumulation of objects that have survived to the present day enact a symbol of resistance to colonial legacies of erasure and suppression.

Comprised of a single monumental work that activates the inner and outer structure of Meridiano in Puerto Escondido, Chaile presents his first ever black monochromatic sculpture. The new site-specific installation crafted alongside local artisans develops on the artist’s recent sculptural presentations at the Venice Biennale in The Milk of Dreams (2022), the New Museum Triennial (2021), and Studio Voltaire (2023).

In No se me quita lo naco Chaile uses a black- pigmented clay extracted from the soil of Agua Zarca, a local Oaxacan town, engaging with long-held family traditional practices. The work marks an aesthetic departure from the artist’s signature terra cotta surfaces, in keeping with Meridiano’s mission of inviting artists to make use of the unique site as an opportunity for experimentation.

Reaching through and beyond the rectangular atrium of Meridiano, which remains open to the sun and stars, the height of Chaile’s columnar chimney both receives and interacts with the specificities of Meridiano’s structure and surrounding landscape. As a continuance of ancestral craft, Chaile’s intervention echoes the site as a type of vessel with shared sculptural properties that correspond to the built environment’s form, space, and sacred architecture. Nested within its interior, the vessel emerges from the inner chamber of the gallery toward the sky.

Expanding upon the artist’s interest in ritual objects and spaces, the installation emphasizes the metaphoric dualities between light and dark, earth and sky, and inner and outer realms.

Photos by Alex Krotov