Los espíritus relocalizados [Relocalized spirits] / Group Exhibition / Curator: Sebastián Vidal Mackinson
HACHE | Buenos Aires, Argentina / September 26 to November 3, 2018

Los espíritus relocalizados [Relocalized Spirit]

The works by Santiago Contreras Soux (Bolivia), Juan Duque (Colombia), Patricio Gil Flood (Argentina), and Marco Pando (Peru) in the exhibition Los espíritus... put forth different visions of the topos of journey, territory, and leisure in the work of South American artists. The show lays out a relationship between history, landscape, vision, and gender while examining the plausibility of “peripheral” artists effectively tackling that relationship.

The nature of the “artistic journeys” to Europe taken by South American artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has been altered in the present by the coordinates of cognitive capitalism and the development of critical tools for symbolic decolonization. Many different actors take part in academic programs, residencies, and alike devised using epistemic instruments developed in the Old Continent that envision the art field as a place to uphold thought, as a tool of emancipation. Their careers take shape as part of a global meta-culture to which negotiation with a set of artistic operations and methodologies for international codification is indispensable.

Los espíritus... exhibits visual artifacts that problematize the topics of the journey, the configuration of the landscape, and the notion of history as totalizing discourse. These artists’ critical vision, consolidated by years of circulation in Europe, enable them to navigate the expectations that take shape around South American production, as well as regimes of representation and visuality that establish authority in the representations of those topics.

What type of expectations and knowledge is navigated? The figures of the artist and of the researcher are connected to the development of European modernism, and the image it has created of itself and of the regions and agents it has called “periphery.”Specific regimes of vision in the colonial project constituted a corpus of images of South America as place and as set of characteristics. With that operation, the landscape was transformed from territory to scene, and its inhabitants exoticized and rendered capable of being represented, classified, politicized, and ideologized. The use of the entire range of gnosiologies available for mediation and classification in the discovery of “new worlds” implied not only a process of representation but also of creation. The works in this exhibition, meanwhile, diagram visual exercises on the constructs of journey, immigration, landscape, and the use of time. They revert the operations by which, with critical humor, the relationship between art, culture, and internalization upends the declaration of an essentiality for South American art in terms of a set of topics and procedures. They do so by insisting on the permeability of zones of contextual and global contact between the local and the international.

This exhibition is also part by long-standing research that has taken shape in, among other things, Europa (prize for young curators, arteBA 2015), an exhibition with works by women artists Milena Bonilla (Colombia), Nicole Franchy (Peru), Amalia Pica (Argentina), and Luisa Ungar (Colombia). The works in that show lucidly addressed the same set of topics as the works in this one, a next chapter of sorts. Los espíritus..., however, includes other visions as it displays artifacts constructed by men in which humor is, once again, a major factor.

Time and its use as leisure, as diversion, as rest, as something other than efficient production; the authority to configure landscapes by appropriating an artistic-historical semantic to position the body as critical device; humor as critical tool of exoticism and figurative constructions of national territory; clear mental focus in order to find parallel interventions taken from different contexts, the folds that the steamroller of history has not been able to flatten out ...

The critical spirit that is not lost in the firework glitters of artifice, but rather relocated.

Sebastián Vidal Mackinson

ph. Ignacio Iasparra