Early Christian texts describe acedia as a demon that besieges the soul at noon, when the day listlessly drags and delirious visions momentarily reign in the blinding light. Seven sculptural works by the artists Allora & Calzadilla in the exhibition Allora & Calzadilla: Specters of Noon revolve around this concept, serving as a manifestation of noon’s hold over humankind and as a metaphor for the uncertainties defining our time.
Created specifically for the Menil Collection’s main building, the works use sounds, cast shadows, and novel sculptural materials to evoke an awe-inducing atmosphere of bewilderment and beauty. According to the artists: “In the fourth century, Evagrius Ponticus, in laying out the seven deadly sins, described the ‘most oppressive’ of all temptations as acedia, a spiritual dryness and lack of care towards the world that plagues during the hot midday hours and is characterized by a feeling of psychic exhaustion and listlessness.
The Puerto Rico-based artists visited the Menil Collection repeatedly over the course of four years to develop this exhibition, and studied the museum’s renowned archives and holdings of Surrealist works of art. They explored the historic role that Surrealism played in the Caribbean in the years surrounding World War II, including its pivotal role in anti-colonialism, and the movement’s fascination with the importance of noon.
Wednesday–Sunday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross Street
Houston, Texas 77006