Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle is known for his architectural interventions, which often take the form of architecture-within-architecture. Red Factor features a large geodesic dome comprised of nylon fabric, aluminum tubes, and cable, all under precise tension. The geodesic hemisphere is a direct reference to Buckminster Fuller, the American architect, engineer, inventor, and futurist who began experimenting with these structures in the mid 1940s. Manglano-Ovalle considers its presentation in this gallery a site-specific installation, and describes it as “a Bucky parachute and toy canary both in suspended animation.” The colorful bird, which is perched on the primary cable piercing the gallery space, is a Red Factor Canary, from the order of Passeriformes (known as perching birds). The Red Factor is the only canary with an element of red plumage, and exists as a cross between the now endangered Venezuelan Black Hooded Red (Siskin Spinus cocullatus) and the Domestic Canary (Serinus canaria domestica). Its gaze is indifferent to the ideologically charged structures that hover above; instead, the bird focuses upon the viewer, who is perhaps the true subject of this work.
Manglano-Ovalle was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1961, and was raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and Chicago, Illinois. He earned a BA in art and art history, and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature, from Williams College (1983), and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1989). He has received many awards, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award (2001) and a Media Arts Award from the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (1997–2001), as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1995). He has had major exhibitions at the Rochester Art Center, Minnesota (2006); the Art Institute of Chicago (2005); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico (2003); Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (2002); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1997). Manglano-Ovalle lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.