América Latina 1960-2013 – Exhibition tour – 2013


This is the “Territoires” section, one of the four themes
of the America Latina exhibition. One theme is, “What is Latin America?
What is the connection “between photography and text?” One of the first works
is Damiàn Ortega’s América, nuevo orden. By deconstructing
the word “America” it makes a political statement. Chilean artist Elías Adasme created this piece
entitled A Chile . He made it in 1979, right in the middle
of the Pinochet dictatorship. It deals with the relationship
of the physical and social bodies. The “social body” is
represented by the nation-states, in this particular case,
the state of Chile. The last work, Esperanza para Chile ,
is lovely. It means, “Hope for Chile.” He crosses the word “Chile” off the map and writes it on his body to say, “Chile is not a territory.
We are what creates Chile. “It depends on us.
We cannot allow “the government in power
to decide for us “who we are
and how to build our country.” Regina Silveira’s To Be Continued…
(Latin American Puzzle) is never assembled the same way. Here, we assembled it ourselves.
The artist only provides the pieces. Each new word-image association
changes the interpretation of this continent,
in which some pieces remain black, pieces of history
that have not yet been uncovered. The concept of territory
is particularly unstable in Latin America. Cities present another sort of instability: Exponential growth. In Latin America,
80% of the population live in cities. The city is a central theme
for these photographers, a way for many of them
to question the world around them. Pablo López Luz
is the show’s youngest artist. His series is entitled Pyramids. In urban settings,
he sought out patterns overtly or subtly influenced by
pyramidal pre-Hispanic patterns. It’s a way of embracing
the pre-Hispanic heritage as well as a reference to
the Kinetic art movement which was phenomenally popular
in Latin America in the ’60s and ’70s. Rosario López is a Columbian artist. Rather than depict poverty, she uses other means
to portray it. Here, she uses downtown Bogotá, capturing corners on the streets
where homeless often take shelter. Local residents fill them in with concrete to keep the homeless from sleeping there. It’s also a direct reference
to American Minimalist art yet it also expresses
deeper social issues in a deeply critical manner
which is characteristic of these Latin American artists. The “Informer/Dénoncer” room
is where we most strongly sense the influence of politics on the aesthetics
of Latin American photography: Political violence is omnipresent. In the ’60s, Juan Carlos Romero collected a series of front pages that portray the subversive nature
of numerous worker and student movements
in Argentina. It emphasizes
that this violence has invaded the society of image
emerging at that time, at the cusp of the ’60s and ’70s. You might assume
that this political violence was limited to the ’60s and ’70s, and then,
with the return of democracy, the politically engaged nature of Latin American artistic photography
would fade away. But that isn’t the case,
as shown in Léon Ferrari’s work. In the ’90s,
around 1995, he created a series of images
entitled Nunca más which portray,
in the democratic Argentina of that time, how the scars and memories
of the dictatorship’s political violence, causing over 30,000 deaths
and disappearances, remain present. This section is called
“Mémoire et identité”. It deals with identity:
What is the Latin American identity? Is there a unity? A diversity? This is the work of a Peruvian
photographer, Mílagros de la Torre, a series entitled Antiballes . At first glance,
we don’t realize it, but these are actually pieces
of bullet-proof clothing to protect their wearers
from armed attacks. These clothes are made in Colombia, bought by clients around the world. Perhaps she is telling us that when violence
becomes so omnipresent, it starts to become part of our identity,
our dress code. This is a series by Marcos López,
an Argentinean photographer, created in the ’90s:
Pop Latino. Marcos López lived in Cuba
for two years, and when he returned, he was astonished by
how Argentina had changed. He decided to start
this very ironic series, sometimes funny, as a way to talk about
a society torn between tradition and the effects of globalism. English Translation
Lynn MASSEY S O F T I T R A G E C O M

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