Gabriel Sierra, The First Impressions of the Year 2018 (During the early days of the year 2017), installation view, Secession 2017, Photo: Oliver Ottenschläger

Gabriel Sierra

The First Impressions of the Year 2018 (During the early days of the year 2017)

February 2 – March 26, 2017

“This project works as a setting to represent an abstract situation about perceiving the future during the present time, using the gallery space and its boundaries as a container in which the future will, in a metaphorical sense, dwell for the duration of the exhibition. The exhibition is a fictional event that operates with the introduction of site-specific works resembling boxes to resonate with the physical qualities of the place and the light entering from outside to produce a particular atmosphere. Space and time collide in a phenomenological experience during the opening hours, while the present, the year 2017, is on the other side of the walls, in adjacent rooms and outside the Secession building.” (Gabriel Sierra)

Conceived especially for the Secession, Gabriel Sierra’s installation grows out of his philosophical reflections on space and time. He is concerned with the idea of the present time and the moment when the visitor—as spectator—enters the gallery to see the show. As Sierra developed this most recent installation, he also worked closely with the concrete site, the downstairs galleries at the Secession.

The title Sierra has chosen for his show, The first impressions of the year 2018 (During the early days of the year 2017), outlines the framework of the exhibition as an “abstract situation” and locus of the imagination. Entering the gallery, the visitors are summoned to imagine stepping into the future, though the scene remains embedded in the present of the year 2017. On the visual level, the construction is sustained by the special light direction. The present is brightly illuminated and clearly visible; the exhibition, by contrast, is immersed in relative darkness: only the light entering from outside limns the contours of the space and the mysterious fixtures that have been installed in it. The longer the visitors linger in the rooms and the more their eyes adapt to the twilight, the more distinctly the elements of the exhibition emerge into view.


Gabriel Sierra, born in 1975 in San Juan Nepomuceno, Bolívar (Colombia), lives and works in Bogotá.