Past Exhibition

Nina Surel: Sailing to Byzantium

November 14, 2015 – January 24, 2016
Opening reception: Fri., Nov. 13, 2015
6 – 9 pm


In Sailing to Byzantium, Nina Surel translates William Butler Yeats’ poetic allegory of aging into an imaginary physical and spiritual journey using sculpture, installation, sound, and video. An ordinary boat is the mode of transport from one realm to another, from the temporal to the eternal. The transformation from youth to old age for women involves negotiation with biology. While we desire to remain perfect and unchanging, we are in fact prone to wrinkles, the decline of physical beauty, decay, and eventual disappearance. Surel locates Yeats’ “singing masters of the soul” in the form of golden birds. The material of gold leaf is associated with the “artifice of eternity”, which is superior to the natural which fades. Surel’s works have frequently involved the use of resin to embalm ornaments and decorative elements that are suggestive of nature made artificial: flowers, birds, plants.

“The lyrical trumps the prosaic and the abstract trumps the literal in Miami-based artist Nina Surel’s Sailing to Byzantium

John Thomason, Boca Magazine
“A gold-leaf-painted boat suspends from the ceiling at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood as part of Nina Surel’s Sailing to Byzantium, a new exhibit that borrows its title from William Butler Yeats’ celebrated poem about the agony of old age. The Miami-based Surel translates the poem’s themes — spirituality, immortality, longing to be artificial instead of natural — with a handful of resin sculptures, sound and video, including one that features Surel sailing in a 6-foot rowboat.”

Phillip Valys, Sun Sentinel

Nina Surel was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has lived and worked in Miami since 2001. She studied fashion and textile design at the Architecture & Urban Planning University of Buenos Aires, and costume and set design at the Art Institute Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. Her work has been exhibited widely in institutions and galleries both in the United States and abroad, including Claudio Poleschi Arte Contemporaneoa and Chiesa di San Matteo in Lucca, Italy; Lyle O. Reitzel in Dominican Republic; Franco Valli Art Gallery in Miami; the Naples Museum of Art in Florida; and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California. She has participated in Art Fairs in Buenos Aires, Chicago, New York, Miami, and London. She has been featured in national and international magazines such as Vanity Fair Italy, Art Nexus, Corriere della Sera, Harper’s Bazaar Russia, La Repubblica, and Elle Décor.

Artist Talk

Thursday, January 14, Doors open at 6 pm (Talk begins at 6:30 pm)

A conversation with artist Nina Surel and Michelle Weinberg, artistic director for Nina Surel: Sailing to Byzantium. In addition, Surel will give a tour of her exhibition. Refreshments will be served. Complimentary with paid admission ($7 non members); free for members.

Green Screen Workshop for Students

Saturday, January 16, 1 – 3 pm
For students grades 5 – 12

Students will collaborate with one another and with the artist as they create a set, use props, costumes and makeup to shoot a mini-video work using a green screen. Green screens allow film and video artists to place a new backdrop behind the actors and objects in any scene. This technique is used by Nina Surel in the production of her videos on view. This workshop involves working both in front of and behind the camera. No previous video or film experience is required.Registration required. Admission $20 (maximum 20 students).

Nina Surel Green Screen Workshop from Art and Culture Center on Vimeo.

Artist Talk in Spanish

Thursday, January 23, 3 pm

Nina Surel will give a guided tour of her exhibition in Spanish. This event is organized by Letra Urbana. Complimentary with paid admission ($7 non members); free for members.

Image: Nina Surel, Sailing to Byzantium, 2015, Digital photograph, 90 × 45 in