All posts tagged: latin america

The everyday through new eyes: Andrés Durán’s Edited Monument series

Chilean photographer Andrés Durán’s recent work has centred on reinterpreting everyday sights in Santiago, his native city. In the series, Cartel House (2001), he documenting hidden locations in the city’s residential outskirts via appropriated billboards. Meanwhile in Viewpoint (2011), he captured inverse perspectives on advertising. In his latest body of work, Edited Monument (2014), he digitally transforms Santiago’s public sculptures, resulting in images that trick our perceptions. Neglected military figures, politicians and national heroes are seen from a new perspective, with their pedestal inverted and placed over the top of the effigy. In this way, he draws our attention to historically and politically important statues that have long been forgotten about – expect perhaps for the occasional photo by a passing tourist. Durán was born in 1974 and is currently a professor in the digital image department at Universidad ARCIS in Santiago. Photo: Prócer de pie, 2014, (S#1, P#2) © Andrés Durán. Courtesy of the artist and Metales Pesados. Santiago.    

To hell and back: the Brazilian artist making dramatic works

Brazilian-born Tiago Carneiro da Cunha has made a body foray into painting in his latest body of work, Trânsito dos Infernos (Transit through Hell). The artist, who has gained a reputation in the past for his sculptures and video work, has made a body of oil paintings that are the result of four years’ research. These intense, sensual works evoke dramatic landscapes and characters using a simple, unmixed palette. Though innately recognizable, these scenes are also exotic, fantastical – and in their strangeness, disconcerting. The artist was born in São Paulo in 1973 and now lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. He started out drawing comics that was published in underground magazines in Sao Paolo, before working as a freelance illustrator for the Folha de S. Paolo newspaper. He later went on to study art at the Parsons School in New York and Goldsmiths College in London. Tiago Carneiro da Cunha’s paintings are currently on show at Galeria Fortes Vilaca in Sao Paolo. The exhibition Trânsito dos Infernos brings together 20 oil paintings. Photo: Noite …

Revolutionary in Rio

A young girl’s long hair is blown by the wind, while she stares ahead at a small collection of trees. Three heads – human or animal we are not sure — protrude from wellington boots on the pavement. It is hard to describe what it happening in the paintings of Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973), even though the colours and the shapes are vivid. Upon first glance, some of these works can resemble France’s Henri Rousseau, the self-taught artist who captured now-famous jungle scenes. In others, she is more like the Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte. But in all her work, she is overwhelmingly Brazilian – with her bold use of colour and indigenous subject matter. Her legacy can be seen in the vivid work of contemporary Brazilian painters like Beatriz Milhazes. Indeed, Tarsila (as she is known in Brazil) has been described as the Brazilian painter who best achieved a nationalistic modern style in her country. She is also credited with having revolutionised Brazilian art. The much-loved artist is one of a number of female Brazilian …

Constructing modernity

Radical Uruguayan artist Joaquin Torres-Garcia (1874–1949) epitomised individuality in the arts. A key figure in Latin American modernism, his influence nonetheless extended much further than the continent of his birth. A number of North American artists, including Louise Bourgeois and Barnett Newman, felt his idiosyncratic influence. The artist was born in Montevideo. He left for Barcelona aged 17, where he trained as an artist. In the Catalan capital, he became active in the local artistic movement known as Noucentisme, or “Nineteen-hundreds Style.” The artists and intellectuals that worked within this movement were reacting against what they considered the aesthetic excesses of Modernisme. Noucentista art was characterized by a return to order. Its artists set out to embody the timeless values of the Mediterranean through their art, as well as revive the classical past. In the decorative arts, the values of Noucentisme were seen in an emphasis on traditional hand-craftsmanship. As one of the leading members of Noucentisme, Torres-Garcia became a well-known painter during his years in Barcelona. His first major commission was for a series …

Eggcentricity

The Argentine artist Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos (1939 – 1992) and his famous egg sculpture are examined in a new exhibition at the MALBA, La Era Metabolica (The Metabolic Era). The sculpture, known as Nosotros afuera (Us Outside) and originally made in 1965, has been specially reconstructed for the show. Peralta Ramos was one of the country’s most eccentric artists. At the vanguard of modern art in Buenos Aires in the 1970s, he has been linked to the Dadaism art movement and is also considered a pioneer of conceptual art in Argentina. He made himself the subject of many of his works. One of six siblings born in the Argentine coastal city of Mar del Plata, Peralta Ramos would study at the Instituto Di Tella with Marta Minujin, another key figure in Argentine 20th Century art. She would go on to become a pioneer of conceptual and performance art in Argentina, becoming one of the country’s most subversive artists. Several other Peralta Ramos works are featured in the show including the 1981 work Mi vida es …

Santiago nights: Leonora Vicuña’s lyrical work

Chilean photographer Leonora Vicuña (b.1952) creates timeless, lyrical images that capture nightlife in her native Santiago as well as in Paris and Barcelona. Her photos immortalize these nocturnal scenes, giving us a rich array of bohemian characters, including musicians, waiters, transvestites and vagabonds. During the dictatorship of General Pinochet in the 1970s and ‘80s, Vicuña spent some years living and working in France. She was one of the founders of the AFI, the first association of professional independent photographers in Chile, which fought for the restoration of democracy in the 1980s. Vicuña, who is also a Professor of Photography in Santiago, has been employing colour pigments and pencils on the surface of her silver gelatin prints since the late 1970s to bring her images of popular culture to life. In this way, she is able to add a personal touch to the images and recall the atmosphere of the original scene. The photos are a nostalgic, personal interpretation of everyday activities – playing cards, dancing, having a drink at a tapas bar – that take …

Radical leanings

Cultural production in Eastern Europe and Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s shared certain characteristics, namely radical experimentation and a dissemination of ideas. There was also a marked scepticism towards authority, including artistic authorities and hierarchies. As such, there was an emphasis on creative production outside of the market. The parallels between cultural production in these geographically distant regions are explored in a new exhibition at New York’s MoMA. At that time, anti-art magazines circulated and radical artists operated in underground collectives that were outside of the cultural mainstream. There was a proliferation in process-directed exercises, games, gatherings, walks, alternative music, and concrete poetry. Anti-art groups sprung up, like Gorgona in Yugoslavia, Aktual in Czechoslovakia, and El techo della ballena (The Roof of the Whale) in Venezuela. A community of avant-garde artists operating in Argentina in that period is explored in some depth. The artists Oscar Bony, David Lamelas, Lea Lublin and Marta Minujín – who were all associated with the influential Instituto Torcuato Di Tella – confronted mass media communication. These politically-engaged artists …

Domestic friction: Mexican artist Pia Camil’s ‘homely’ Modernism

Mexican artist Pia Camil draws inspiration for her objects, seen in the following pages, from contemporary consumerism, incorporating signs and objects from everyday life. The artist, born in Mexico City in 1980, also reclaims abandoned structures from highways, driven by her belief in the failure of capitalism. Her wide-ranging practice, which takes in hand dyed wall hangings, ponchos and ceramic vases, often ends with the presentation of multiple objects in the same room. She also undertakes live performances that experiment with notions of domestic space. Her work appears to create a friction between domestic comfort – indicated by the ‘homely’ crafted feel of many of her ceramics and textiles – and a more hard-edged Modernism. Carry on reading about Pia Camil, and see more images of her work, in the latest issue of The Kurios. Photo: installation view: Pia Camil. Pangaea II. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London (c) Justin Piperger, 2015

The Belgian engineer who captured the lives of Chile’s remote Mapuche

The Belgian engineer Gustave Verniory (1865-1949) arrived in Chile at the end of the 19th Century to build a railway in the remote region of Araucanía, in the mid-south of the country. The region, occupied by indigeneous Mapuche tribes, had not become part of Chile until the 1880s. Verniory came to know a group of Mapuche people, and he began to photograph them, in their everyday attire. He also captured images of the railway’s construction and other viaducts and bridges that had been built as the Chilean government drove modernization of Chile’s remoter regions. His photos document an interesting time in the history of the province when industrialization was rapidly changing the lives of the Mapuche. The government had occupied Araucania in the 1880s to end the resistance of Mapuche tribes. Subsequently European and Chileans settled in the area, with the population of Araucania growing considerably in the early 20th Century. A region of mountains and lakes and fertile agricultural land, it came to be known as the “granary of Chile.” Around one third of …

Violence meets art

Colombian artist Doris Salcedo (b. 1958) is the subject of a new retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Over the past three decades, Salcedo’s sculptures and installations have addressed the often-violent history of modern-day Colombia. Her work also addresses other forms of social injustice, some of which are the result of colonialism and racism. The exhibition, displayed over four floors, features the artist’s most important series, made between the late 1980s and today. It also includes a video documenting her site-specific public projects and architectural interventions. Check out the latest issue of The Kurios for more exhibitions news from around the world. Doris Salcedo is on until October 12th 2015 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photo: Doris Salcedo, Plegaria Muda (detail), 2008–10. Wood, concrete, earth, and grass in 122 parts, dimensions variable. Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York.

Revolutionary in Brazil

Tarsila and Modern Women in Rio at the Museu de Arte do Rio pays tribute to a number of female Brazilian artists, who worked between the end of the 19th century and the end of the Second World War. The women featured were all selected for the revolutionary work they did, albeit in very different areas of creative production. Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973), known simply as Tarsila, is the central figure of the exhibition. Considered to be one of the leading Latin American modernist artists, she was a member of the notorious Grupo dos Cinco (Group of Five), perhaps the biggest influence on modern art in Brazil. She is also credited with having inspired Oswald de Andrade’s famous essay Manifesto Antropófago (Cannibal Manifesto), a key Brazilian cultural text which argued that the country’s history of of “cannibalizing” other cultures is its greatest strength. Tarsila and Modern Women in Rio is on at the Museu de Arte do Rio until 20th September 2015. Photo: Tarsila do Amaral, O Lago (The Lake) (1928). Courtesy of Museu de Arte do Rio.

History of violence

A dynamic new exhibition at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)  brings together the work of several international artists whose work has strong social and political themes. Featuring the works of Brazil’s Jonathas de Andrade, Argentina’s Leon Ferrari and Lebanon’s Walid Raad, the show includes works dealing with the conquest of Brazil by the Portuguese, the military coup in Chile, the civil war in Lebanon and the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China. Photo: Liu Wei, Unforgettable Memory (2009). Courtesy of MALBA. Memorias Imborrables (Indelible memories) is on at MALBA until 20th August 2015.

Floating fantasy

In Carlos Bongiovanni’s works, objects are not what they seem. Seen from afar, these unsettling paintings may appear to contain conventional imagery – birds, pieces of fruit, for instance – but upon closer inspection, strange, unsettling objects appear. They retain some elements of the original image, but morph into something else, something less obviously recognisable and disconcerting. Bongiovanni was born in Ushuaia, Argentina in 1983 and now lives in Buenos Aires. To see more images of Bongiovanni’s work, read the  July/August issue of The Kurios. Photo: Heart © Carlos Bongiovanni. Courtesy of Galeria Mar Dulce, Buenos Aires.

Now who’s wearing the trousers?

Pioneering photographer Annemarie Heinrich (1912-2005) had hard mountains to climb but her persistence eventually paid off. The daring Argentine artist, who moved to Argentina with her family to escape the Nazis, lived at a time when photography was considered a lesser cultural form in Buenos Aires. To complicate matters further, Heinrich liked to experiment with photographing nudity. She kept this a secret which, given that society even disapproved of her habit of wearing trousers to work, was probably wise. A comprehensive retrospective of the German-born photographer’s work at the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) — which ended earlier this month — uncovered her passionate, and very private, experiments with photography. Heinrich photographed many stars of the cinema, theatre and ballet in the 1930s and 1940s, when Argentina cinema was experiencing its Golden Age. In this era, Buenos Aires – dubbed the ‘Paris of the South’ — was a magnet for foreign performers who relished the rich cultural life of the city. The resplendent Colon Theatre is still considered one of the …

Rio remembered

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Kurt Klagsbrunn (1918-2005) arrived in Rio de Janeiro, the then-capital of Brazil. The Austrian medical student of Jewish descent had been forced to abandon university with the rise of the Nazis. He fled from Vienna, seeking refuge first in Lisbon, then Rotterdam,with his family. He finally alighted in Rio in 1939. Klagsbrunn began, slowly but surely, to start taking photographs of life on the other side of the Atlantic. His work began to reflect the diverse panorama of people living in this vibrant city, from slave descendants to aristocrats. Rio would become a source of lasting inspiration to the young immigrant and he began to document parties as well as social and political events. More than 200 of his Rio photographs are brought together in the enlightening exhibition Kurt Klagsbrunn, a humanist photographer in Rio (1940-1960), at the Museu de Arte do Rio. “One of Kurt’s features is a very loving relationship with Rio de Janeiro,” said Paulo Herkenhoff, one of the exhibition’s curators. “Klagsbrunn produced an …

Nature overflows

Janaina Tschäpe’s organic and ethereal work reflects the abundance of nature in Brazil. Her beautiful multi-layered paintings are like nature itself. She has said she seeks not to portray a dream world, but the sensation of being inside one. Tschäpe was born in 1973 in Munich, Germany and was raised in São Paolo, Brazil. She lives and works between New York and Rio de Janeiro. To continue reading about Janaina Tschäpe’s work and see more images of her paintings, read the May/June issue of The Kurios. Photo credits: Janaina Tschäpe, Contemplating Landscape (2014), Installation View. Photo courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery.

Building Latin America

More than a half-century after its landmark 1955 exhibition, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is revisiting the fascinating terrain of Latin American architecture. Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 provides a complex overview of architectural innovation spanning eleven countries: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Sprawling cities such as Mexico City and São Paulo were among the fastest growing cities in the world at this time. The region’s unprecedented urbanization was characterized by avant-garde artistic practices, often in challenging political circumstances. During this period, a number of Latin American countries experienced volatile political change. Many saw periods of military dictatorship. Bringing together the architectural achievements of such a large continent for over three decades is no mean feat. Please continue reading in the May/June issue of The Kurios, out now. Photo credits: Affonso Eduardo Reidy. Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro (MAM), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1934-1947. ©Núcleo de Documentação e Pesquisa? Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade Federal do Rio …

Lunar mysteries

Eugenio Cuttica: The inward gaze at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires brings together the paintings of the Argentine artist Eugenio Cuttica from the 1970s to the current day. The first part of the exhibition presents Cuttica’s early works, in which he grappled with new forms of expression. Cuttica was part of an expressionist revival that took place in Argentina in the 1980s. This room also includes a painting by Argentina’s most celebrated impressionist painter, Fernando Fader, which Cuttica selected from the museum collection himself. The second room showcases a series of Cuttica’s paintings from the 1980s and 1990s which present large-scale mythical themes. Finally we are presented with a series of the artist’s latest works, centred on the representation of a little girl known as Luna (Moon). In these semi-fantastical paintings, the figure of the girl dissolves mysteriously into a landscape, suggesting a ghostly presence. Eugenio Cuttica is featured in the May/June issue of The Kurios. Get your copy here. Photo courtesy of Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

Desert hope

An exhibition at the Museo de la Memoria in Santiago,Chile, is showing 58 photographs from the Flowers in the Desert series by New York-based photographer Paula Allen. These photographs tell the story of a group of Chileans, known as the women of Calama,who spent 17 years searching for their relatives who disappeared after the 1973 military coup of General Augusto Pinochet. In the first few months after their disappearance, the women of Calama met in secret but in time, frustrated by the lack of state information about their loved ones fates, they took to the desert themselves with shovels to try to find the bodies. The husbands, fathers and brothers of these women went missing during the infamous Caravan of Death, a term used to describe the journey taken by five soldiers to four northern cities. They murdered a total of 72 people on their way, including 26 men in the city of Calama. Their bodies were buried in a secret grave in the desert. Continue reading about Flowers in the Desert in the May/June issue of The Kurios, out …