ONTOPO : ¿Hablas Turista?
On view | May 15 – August 15, 2019

Opening Reception & Performances |
Sat. May 18, 4-6pm

515 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

Opening Performances
Audio | Keetin Mayakara
Dance | Juri Onuki
Audio | Kamau Patton

RLWindow Installation Series
Priscilla Jeong  | Kamau Patton  | Amy Yao
Organizer | Jon Santos


RYAN LEE is pleased to announce ONTOPO : ¿Hablas Turista? organized by Jon Santos with site-specific photographic window installations by Priscilla Jeong, Kamau Patton, and Amy Yao from May 15 to August 15. Performances by Keetin Mayakara, Juri Onuki, and Kamau Patton will take place during the opening reception and in the gallery space.The project is site responsive to RLWindow designed to engage High Line visitors and tourists through architecture, performance, and participation. The RLWindow can be viewed on the High Line at 26th Street overlooking the gallery.

ONTOPO is an on-going series of performative and participatory projects based on collective creative exchange. The project reimagines the relationship between creating and consuming, author and audience, with a multi-faceted embrace of visual art, cuisine, design, sound, architecture, and performance. The project’s core is the willingness to experiment and the collective energy of contributing artists from different regions. Each site creates freedom from familiar constraints allowing for more present participation among artists and audience.

ONTOPO : ¿Hablas Turista? meaning “Do You Speak Tourist?” references a series of projects created over the last several years in Tulum, Mexico where participants spontaneously assembled for recreation, contemplation, rest, artistic production, and performance. In this context, the artists’ surroundings and their temporary community informed the works. The artists reconsider their voices and modes of production outside their studio within the dynamic context of localism and tourism. Juri Onuki and Kamau Patton participated in the Magick City City and the Outlier Inn Recording ONTOPO projects respectively. Collectively the artists’ experiences and works fold into the RLWindow site and project series.

Priscilla Jeong‘s site specific installation, Logee’s Growth Habits 1,2,3 (2018), was originally created during ONTOPO in Mexico. The work consisted of three pillow cases. Each pillowcase contains excerpts of a plant catalogue specializing in tropical exotic plants in the US paired with locally sourced “exotic” materials. Jeong focuses on the entanglement of digital sociology, labor, gender, and technology. Her work explores contemporary spiritualism with an emphasis on the role of humanics and machinics.

Juriri Ohnukkie‘s dance and choreography responds to George Miyasaki’s abstract expressionist work on view in the gallery and his legacy. Her approach posits Zen philosophy as a stabilizing mechanism for Japanese Americans, like Miyasaki, confronting a period of intense discrimination against them after World War II. Onuki will question Japanese American identity by performing everyday gestures and movements based on Miyasaki’s Bay Area-inflected brand of abstract expressionism. Onuki is a Japanese artist working primarily in performance as a dancer and choreographer.

The Tel_ project is Kamau Patton’s opening acoustic and social performance. The work derives its name from the archeological term ‘Tell’, an artificial mound formed from the accumulated refuse of people living on the same site for hundreds of years. The performance project is an examination of history or memory considered as layers and residue. Tel_ aims to question how the nature of memory has changed in relation to cyberspace and transmission technologies. Patton’s photo installation for RLWindow, Masten Lake Rd, Wurtsboro, New York, offers a ‘google view’ and vantage point of the natural features surrounding a Buddhist monastery in upstate New York where his original ONTOPO experience took place.

Jon Santos Santos is the organizer of the ONTOPO : ¿Hablas Turista? project. Santos is an artist working in sound, video, design and installation. His works seek to expand graphic design beyond traditional media (print, digital and screen based) towards participatory, performative, improvisational, and experiential modes. As the founder of ONTOPO, he is interested in exploring informal learning through site-specific and cross-platform performances.

Amy Yow work was created in Mexico in 2018. The photographic work featured in RLWindow is a mixed-media installation created from freshly cooked bacon placed in the sand, on top of found objects, and on rubbish in the property where ONTOPO was being held. She is interested in making work in many different mediums informed by ideas of waste and consumption.

RLWindow is a dedicated exhibition space for video, installation, and performance at the gallery engaging High Line visitors through a window. Capitalizing on the gallery’s position overlooking the High Line and its visibility to the 4.6 million yearly visitors, RLWindow will show innovative, experimental, and collaborative projects by international, contemporary artists, both represented by the gallery and invited. By launching active programming in this site-specific space, the gallery will expand its mission to work with leading artists and curators.

Feature artwork by David Brandon Geeting from our 2018 retreat in Tulum.

A recap video of our 2015 program at the Outlier Inn, a recording studio located near the town of Woodridge in Upstate New York. Soundtrack by Alex Drewchin aka Eartheater, Shelley Burgon and Kamau Patton. Photos and video by Jayne Lies, Monica Kapoor and Lisa Nguyen