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.
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 BazaarRussia, La Repubblica, and Elle Décor.