SinCrónicas. Horizons of Peruvian Contemporary Art from the Collecting Perspective
Madrid, Spain | February 22, 2019 - March 22, 2019
Rita Ponce de León. Untitled (detail). 2014. 25.5x25.5 cm. Ink and colored pencils. Photo: Courtesy The Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection and the artist.
SinCrónicas. Horizons of Peruvian Contemporary Art from the Collecting Perspective traces four key thematic itineraries in Peruvian contemporary art—as recorded in private collections—providing a cross-section of current artistic production, though they are prefigured in late 20th Century Peruvian art.
The concept of territory emerged as a central concern for local artists, both women and men, in the 1980’s - a decade whose beginnings were marked by the flare-up of the "Sendero Luminoso" (Shining Path) in the interior of the country and a conflict with Ecuador on the border - . On the one hand, this concept has been addressed as a space of drifting, a dérive, as seen in the constellations of geographic imagination configured by Elena Damiani, the networks of visual, historical, and affective associations traced by Fernando Bryce, or José Carlos Martinat’s décollages, which compile the electoral fluctuations of the country. Conversely, it has been seen as an area in dispute, as in the struggle for resources suggested by Sandra Gamarra, the confrontations over symbolic representation invoked by Claudia Martínez Garay, or the opposing ways in which the sense of belonging is reconfigured in the public sphere, as treated by Gabriel Acevedo Velarde. But the notion of territory also trains its gaze on the range of historical problematics of the Peruvian nation-state, such as the struggle for human rights in the work of Herbert Rodríguez, the frictions between the private, the state, and the commons in Katherinne Fiedler’s video installation, or the encounters, "disencounters”, and confrontations of ideology and identity suggested by the work of Giancarlo Scaglia.
The narrative of the everyday emerges on the horizon in the 1990’s, a decade marked by a “socialization of survival,” which incorporated the need for a refuge from the growing violence, in the face of the long years of economic crisis. If indeed much of the decade’s art suggests introspection, individualism, and regression (in the psychoanalytic sense), later elaborations of the imaginary of the every day gave rise to allusions to an ordinary world marked by the political and economic situation. Hence, the placid recycled environment of Ishmael Randall-Weeks makes reference to subsistence economies, with echoes of the bloody history of rubber extraction in the Peruvian jungle, Alberto Borea’s forms allude both to street violence and to the liberalization and informality of public transportation in Lima, and Juan Javier Salazar’s sculptures link the cultural forms of the millenary past with a basic grocery basket from the commissary, projecting a temporal arc that spans a glorious past and a dubious present. For their part, Daniela Ortiz and Eliana Otta reveal how the passage of the very life of those who facilitate and safeguard the daily life of other, more affluent, persons, is limited by the physical conditions imposed on them, which remain “hidden” at first glance.
Images of the body have come to constitute a fierce witness to the political violence that characterized the final decades of the 20th Century, while also serving as an emblem of the history we must digest. In this regard, the body has incarnated a demand not only for justice (in the face of terrorist violence and the abuses of the State), but also for the recognition of difference, to some extent as an accompaniment to the demands derived from the social challenges confronted by 21st Century Peru. Thus, a body of agitation and struggle emerges in the work of Christian Bendayán, Elena Tejada-Herrera, María Abaddon and, more obliquely, Armando Andrade Tudela, on the topics of gender equality, LGBTQI+ rights, and the recognition of the pluriculturalism of the country that has not yet been fully and successfully assimilated. But the body is also on display as an affirmative and critical acknowledgement of being, both in the protean and ebullient eroticism of Wynnie Mynerva, or in Sandra Salazar’s figures, spilling over formats and subverting social norms. Similarly, the visual and verbal games of Emilio Rodríguez Larraín and Alberto Casari also lay claim to a space for the body that will, above all, occupy the mind.
Abstraction, which historically appeared in Peru towards the mid-20th Century, underwent a shift in the second half of the 1960s, exploring the margins of the modern model and opening up to contemporary art. This is evidenced by the references to design in Regina Aprijaskis, the use of industrial materials and the winking allusion to the participation of the spectator in Rubela Dávila, or in Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s manipulations of the pictorial support, which incorporate ideas of process and introduce physical forces as active agents in the work. Thus a path is opened for the exploration of the possibilities of abstraction centered on processes and materials, as in the cement geometries of Iosu Aramburu (a “double date” with modern architecture and painting) or the “material yoga” constructed by Fernando Prieto, in search of physical and metaphysical equilibrium. For their part, Rita Ponce de León and Alonso León Velarde incorporate both allusions to the organic and figurative elements in their suggestive and disconcerting images, in order to reflect on the history and possibilities of current abstract art.
The work of these 29 artists allows for a recognition of the historical, political, and social contexts and references that operate in the local imaginary, while also featuring the collections that have welcomed these practices—and have played a fundamental role in the current international launching of Peruvian art, epitomized in the context in which this exposition is taking place, with Peru as the guest country at ARCO 2019. Indeed, this show would be impossible without the support of the following collectors: Juan Carlos Verme, whose extensive collection has covered many of the blind spots of the local art market, as he committed to giving visibility to young artists, particularly through the Proyecto Amil (Amil Project), a platform for the diffusion of contemporary art. Carlos Marsano, whose collection is driven by the search for discovery, and who recently launched Artus, a program of grants for residencies abroad for Peruvian artists. Armando Andrade de Lucio, who has long accompanied the development of the Peruvian arts and whose enormous interest in textile art has led him to promote the revalorization of Peruvian textiles, from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Alberto and Ginette Rebaza, whose deep commitment to the development of the Peruvian artistic scene has led them to promote exchanges between international and local artists, through their project Residencia de Al Lado (Residency Next Door). And, of course, Ella Fontanals Cisneros and the CIFO Foundation, the person and the institution behind the realization of this exhibition, whose institutional stake has been the foundation for the consolidation of a broad dialogue between these artists and the Latin American and European public.
Max Hernández Calvo
Curator of the Exhibition
The exhibition will be on view from February 22 through March 22, 2019, at El Instante Fundación in Madrid, Spain.