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What We Do

Rafael Pérez Evans, 'Insulin'

Site-specific installation at No Show Space, London
£3,000 awarded

For Insulin, Pérez Evans has sourced and temporarily relocated agricultural machinery and 1,000kg of oats from Cumbria to London.

In the project space, the machinery is arranged into an infinity fountain for the sucking up and spewing out of grain from one heap to the other. The agricultural purpose of the machines are for the transfer of large quantities of grain for storage. In the confines of the space, the motorised work carries out a manic stockpiling.

In the dual action of extraction and dumping, of swallowing and defecating, a deranged metabolic system comes into play with all of the noise and smells that entails.

Rafael Pérez Evans’ latest sculpture sees the artist continuing to work with key issues in ecology, farming and agriculture.

Insulin presents a new live site-specific solo exhibition at No Show Space in London, on display between 20 October and 19 November 2022.

Rafael Pérez Evans, 'Insulin' 2022.

About the exhibition

The title of the exhibition, Insulin, references storage in the role insulin takes in the body’s capacity to store and control blood glucose levels.Insulin spikes abound in the stress scape of the post-industrial city, pushing the body to crave. Our digestive surplus is then stored as glucose, and paid into fats.

Through this economy of excess, Pérez Evans reminds us the world systems around us are not only an extension of our minds, but also of our enteric nervous system, and thus biochemistry.

The motorised work is conceived as a never-ending cycle; however, due to the ongoing climate and energy crises, and the necessity to reduce energy use, it will function for limited periods only.

After the period of the exhibition, all mechanical elements will be returned to use and the animal-grade grain will be used as animal feed.


Related works

Insulin follows recent large-scale institutional shows like Handful, 2021 at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, or Pica, 2022 at TEA Museum in Tenerife.

For Handful, the artist installed nine meter tall silos outside the gallery and filled a room with milk, drawing on legacies of 1960s sculpture, Land Art and acts of social protest to explore a tension between basic human need and the overproduction of food.

In Pica, a lava mound partially buries a large pile of green bananas. It references both the local practice of ‘Pica’, in which at times vast amounts of bananas get buried in order to maintain a high price point and avoid product market saturation, and the 2020 volcanic eruption of La Palma island that painfully buried vast amounts of land, housing and banana plantations.

Insulin is part of a growing body of work from Pérez Evans that also includes: Ictus, 2022 to be exhibited at PLATA, Córdoba, Spain; and Grounding, 2020 at Goldsmiths University.

About the artist

Rafael Pérez Evans. Image courtesy of the artist.

Rafael Pérez Evans, Spanish – Welsh (b. Málaga 1983) lives and works in London and Spain. He received an MFA and BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, and is currently reading for an Art Practice PhD at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, kindly supported by the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Award, University of Oxford (2022-2026).

His work has been exhibited internationally with solo exhibitions including Handful at The Henry Moore Institute, UK (2021), Pavo Realengo at Nogueras Blanchard Gallery, Barcelona (2017); Pararrayo at Abierto Theredoom Gallery, Madrid (2017).

Two-person and group exhibitions include Unpacking, Wheels at The Royal Academy, South London Gallery & Leeds Art Gallery, UK (2019-2022); Pica at TEA Museum, Spain (2022); Thief, Invigilate at C3A Museum, Spain (2020); Salvation at Saatchi Gallery (2020); The Devil’s Bird – Ornithomancy at Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (2019); L’Dounne – Divination at Matadero, Madrid (2018); and Queima at Despina, Rio de Janeiro (2015).

“Through my work, I try to generate and inhabit questions about ecology, healing, rurality, the urban and conditions of the Southern Mediterranean. I mainly work with readymades, foodstuffs and plants that I Intervene. I like to create large-scale installations that have a sense of urgency, my objects feel rushed, they are parked, spilt and dumped into public and institutional spaces. By looking into shame in queer and rural communities, I try to draw out installations, sculptures and images which are often charged with anger and hope.

Looking at agriculture and the post-industrial city as a deranged metabolic system. I like to search for new voices and antidotes to this derangement, especially in agricultural protests. These voices help me develop a sculptural language, which can tie commodities back to people and the lands that made them.

My father grew lemons until a historic price devaluation in the 1990s made them more expensive to pick than sell. Forcing many families to cut their lemon tree fields and a whole town throwing their produce and way of living, this strong yellow monochrome stuck with me and led me to research farmers’ protests as a vulnerable material gesture against the absurdity of market policies and devaluations, one that can become an extension to the legacy of land art.”

Rafael Pérez Evans