Solo exhibition, March 2018

El Museo de Los Sures, March

Press Release


Written By SaraCrown, Exhibition Curator

'darkness VISIBLE' is the first solo exhibition by Simone Couto in New York and will open on March 11 at El Museo de Los Sures. This exhibition is about light, darkness, and what veers in between—the body as a rolling stone. This exhibition is also about landscape and our physical and emotional relationship to it. This exhibition is, firstly, a display of artworks and, secondly, an observatory.

1. Every journey through time and space gives us the opportunity to tune in to the surroundings and ourselves. So it was with the artist’s discovery of Iceland, its landscape, its materials, and, ultimately, with the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Departing from a personal place, the journey soon became the discovery of Anicca (or Anitya), one of the essential Buddhist doctrines that assert that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, evanescent, and inconstant. All physical and mental events come into being and dissolve. Human life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of repeated birth and death. Nothing lasts and everything decays, which is applicable to all beings and their environs, and landscape as well.

2. All of our experiences are registered in both a physical and mental memory. When our body moves within a certain terrain, our brain registers the surroundings and our muscles memorize any encountered resistance or harmony. The physical and mental practices (Aikido and Zen) that the artist learned in order to do the work were ultimately combined forces through the path of reciprocity between body and space.

The discovery of these concepts and the possibility of finding living evidence in nature, especially in the magical volcanic landscape of Eyjafjallajökull, led to a series of deep and complex works which emphasize two important aspects: where we stand as humans between the natural world (landscape) and the fabricated world (city), and the potential of change that lies in everything and everywhere. Installed following the geography of a fictional landscape, darkness VISIBLE is a collection of drawings, sculptures, videos, and a mandala oil painting, all born out of Couto’s engagement with the landscape of Iceland combined with the above-mentioned physical and mental creative exercises. The viewer is invited to enter the work as an observer as well as an active participant in a similar emotional journey.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a sound installation, made specifically by sound artist and composer Brian Mountford; a comprehensive catalog; and a Butoh movement performance by the artist herself during the opening reception. A panel discussion based on the Socratic Seminar format with Minumus (Art Practice and Theory Collective: Hovey Brock, Donna Cleary, Simone Couto, Alexandra Hammond), Sarah Crown (curator and art historian), Jaewook Lee (interdisciplinary artist and art critic), Brian Mountford (composer and musician), Alistair Miur (geologist), and moderator Hovey Brock (artist and art historian) will be held at the end of the exhibition on March 24.

Opening: March 11, 2018, 4–6 p.m.

El Museo de Los Sures 120 S 1st St, Brooklyn, NY 11249

On view: March 11–24, 2018

Public hours: Daily 12–6 p.m. and by appointment

Panel: March 24, 4–6 p.m.

For more info: info@sarahcrown.com

Title: Darkness Visible

Video: 6:47 minutes. 2015/2016

Outskirts of Posmork National Park and the volcano Eyjafjallajökull as a site for engagement. Since April 2010, this is an area with high seismic volcanic activity and one major eruption. I produced a film while hiking three days, exploring the area, and performing silence and immobility.

In 2016, Couto returned to the area and climbed to the crater of the volcano.

Title: Fire Mountains of the Island

Video: 6 minutes. 2016/2017

I return to the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Choosing mobility this time as a response to my previous  experience, I walked to the top of the mountain as her site-specific performative gesture engaging with the wind, the clouds, the rocks, the unstable soil, ashes, and the unseen changes of the volcanic landscape post-eruption. Under challenging conditions, the wind, clouds, stones, ashes, activates imagination, no matter how present or absent they are. Imagination becomes the medium where our massive bodies transit. It allows the artist to collapse this dicotomy and experience the place and things as timeless. In the video, imagination is filled with height, elevation, depth, and sinking. When the body experiences extreme physical dislocations in the environment, it is possible to re-enter other kinds of dormant subjectivities.


Gouache and Graffiti on Arches Canson 22 x 30 inches Cold Press Paper


Concrete, Black sand, 3D Iceland Poppy, Brass

5"x 5" x 5" Concrete Base


Oil, Charcoal, Black Sand

5 x 5 feet

Grace & Gravity, Performance, Simone Couto, 2018

Photo Documentation by On White Wall


Darkness Visible, 120 pages, Published by Rodhium Productions/ Simone Couto Studio, 2018


Four Elements, Designed and Performed by Brian Mountford, 2018