Ernesto Pujol: Walking Ground

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    The performers of "Speaking in Silence" at The Contemporary Museum. The performance happens June 18.

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    Ernesto Pujol. "Entrance" from "Walk 1," 2004. Archival digital sepia print. Courtesy of the artist.

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May 29, 2011 - October 02, 2011
The Contemporary Museum (Spalding House)

Exhibition Overview

Ernesto Pujol (born Cuba, 1957), who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, is a site-specific performance artist and social choreographer who became known during the 1990s through a series of sited international installation projects addressing the loss and reclamation of individual and collective memories. For the past decade, Pujol's performances have portrayed the essence of threatened communities and landscapes by staging their collective interiority, while also reclaiming urban spaces from speed, clutter, and noise. The artist formally creates silent secular cloisters against the background of classical and historic architecture, fostering reflection about critical issues.

The exhibition title, Walking Ground, reflects Pujol’s performance practice of pilgrimage, or walking, and the notion of sacred ground, his belief in the sacredness of places. This first ever museum thematic survey of Pujol’s walking performances is a partial overview of this aspect of his work during the past 10 years through selected drawings, photographs, videos/slide shows, and objects generated by 16 of his projects.

Special group performance: Speaking in Silence, June 18

Where: Aloha Tower, Chinatown (Maunakea Street between Hotel and Pauahi streets), Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawai‘i State Library, Iolani Palace, Mission Houses Museum, National Memorial Cemeterey of the Pacific (Punchbowl), Oahu Cemetery, State Capitol, Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial.
Saturday, June 18, all day
Performers: Bernice Akamine, Mary Babcock, Jackie Burke, Mihoko Furuya, Carolyn Hilton, Eva Enriquez, Sheri Lyles, Jessica Orfe, Heather Matsuura, Ernesto Pujol, Ryan Schulz, Emily Sewell, Molly Timmers, Jorge Veras, Ayano Yasumoto, Kate Werner, Kimberlie Wong, Rex Vlcek, and Erin Yuasa.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Pujol is developing a durational group performance, Speaking in Silence, based on his interest “in fragile indigenous histories and the cultural diversity of consciousness, in terms of its native Hawaiian, Christian, Buddhist, and secular components, both in the islands and across the globe.”  The day-long, sunrise-to-sunset performance by Pujol and an island-based group of performers will take place in 12 sites across Honolulu.

The performers will be simultaneously scattered, alone or in pairs, throughout Honolulu for an entire day, alternating between acting as public speakers and silent monastics.

At each site, pedestrians will receive free map handouts indicating all performance locations, allowing them to follow Speaking in Silence across the city. The performers will dress in red, appear silently and humbly at sunrise, and disappear silently and humbly at sunset. "It will be a non-spectacle, nevertheless, a non-profit, very public event," says Pujol.

Performance schedule:

Sunrise to sunset: Aloha Tower, Ryan Schulz

Sunrise to sunset: Chinatown Historic District, Jorge Veras & Ayano Yasumoto

Sunrise to sunset: Hawai’i State Capitol, Mary Babcock & Kate Werner

Sunrise to sunset: Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial, Rex Vclek

7am-6pm: Oahu Cemetery, Nu‘uanu, Heather Matsuura & Kimberlie Wong

7:30am-4pm: Mission Houses Museum, Carolyn Hilton

8am-6:30pm: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl – Sheri Lyles & Eva Enriquez,

9am-4pm: Foster Botanical Garden, Molly Timmers & Jessica Orfe

9am-6pm, Hawai’i State Library, Emily Sewell

9:30am-sunset: Iolani Palace, Bernice Akamine & Erin Yuasa

10am-4:30pm: Honolulu Academy of Arts, Mihoko Furuya (in Banyan Courtyard) & Ernesto Pujol (in Pavillion Courtyard)

10am-4pm: Hawai‘i State Art Museum, Jackie Burke

Learn more about Ernesto Pujol and his work.

Ernesto Pujol: Walking Ground and the performance Speaking in Silence were organized by The Contemporary Museum, with James Jensen, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Collections, as curator. The exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, the Toshiko Takaezu Foundation, and an anonymous donor.