The first exhibition in the Institute of Contemporary Art's Momentum series to be presented at the ICA's new waterfront museum will feature artist Sergio Vega. This is the sixth exhibition in the series, which examines new developments in contemporary art, inviting artists from the U.S. and around the world to create new work for the ICA. Born in Argentina and now based in Florida, Vega is known for an ongoing mixed-media project entitled Paradise in the New World, exploring the mythologies of paradise underlying the culture and history of Brazil. Momentum 6: Sergio Vega will open on December 10, 2006, and remain on view through March 11, 2007.

"Sergio Vega's colorful, humorous, and interactive displays will create a very rich experience for visitors to the new ICA," says Jill Medvedow, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. "His work provides a multi-sensory immersion, where visitors can read his writings, engage his many images and objects, or simply enjoy the vibrant space."

For the ICA, Vega will present Tropicalounge, a room-scale installation inspired by a 17th-century colonial manuscript purporting to map the "New Eden" of South America. Seeking to discover this place for himself, Vega ultimately arrived at the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, a region comprised of rainforests, swamps, mountains, archaeological sites, indigenous reservations, rural towns, shanty-towns, and cities. The history, culture, and mythology of this area inspire his work, which presents a sort of travel diary exploring the site through installation, sculpture, photography, video, and text.

At the ICA, Vega combines elements of the Tropicalounge that premiered at the 2005 Venice Biennale-brightly colored furniture, potted palms, photographs, architectural models, and sculpture, including a parrot-shaped payphone-with work made especially for the ICA. While adopting the role of anthropologist or ethnographer, Vega acknowledges the fantasy and mythology that affects our understanding of a foreign place, especially one imagined as "paradise found."

"Vega's work is visually appealing and richly poetic," says Bennett Simpson, Associate Curator at the ICA. "It tells a complex tale layered with history, fantasy, philosophy, and the experience of everyday life in Brazil."

Sergio Vega was born in 1959 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and currently lives and works in Gainesville, Florida, where he is a professor of sculpture at the University of Florida. He received an MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1996. Vega's work has been exhibited at many museum exhibitions and biennials, including the Queens Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, New York, the 51st Venice Biennale, the Villa Medici in Rome, and the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale.

The 2006-2007 Momentum series is sponsored by Sotheby's.

Momentum 6: Sergio Vega is supported by Group Momentum: Nick Adams, Janice and Mickey Cartin, Corinne and Tim Ferguson, Sue and Nat Jeppson, Barbara Lee, Carol and Sol LeWitt, and Marlene and David Persky.

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