STILL TO BE NAMED / AÚN POR NOMBRAR
Curated by Paola Peña
NOVEMBER 12, 2022 – JANUARY 15, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—ps122 gallery is pleased to present Still to be named / Aún por nombrar, an exhibition curated by Paola Peña that brings together artists from Latin America whose works seek to reveal and reverse the colonial framework. The exhibition is on view from November 12, 2022 – January 15, 2023.
Colonial legacies are being exposed with increased vigor; the works gathered in this exhibition are an attempt to signal the willpower of many voices transforming them. This effort manifests through two phenomena that, with gestures, actions, and claims, seek to reveal and reverse the colonial framework. The first is related to the resignification and reclamation of ancestral heritages, and the second is the iconoclastic action of tearing down, destroying, or altering statues. In different ways, both phenomena represent a new dimension of struggle, which establishes that taking charge of the past is not an “abstract task or a purely intellectual exercise. On the contrary, it requires a collective effort and cannot be dissociated from political action.”
This struggle focuses on revealing how many socially valued cultural objects and artifacts were obtained or constructed, as well as their ongoing management by intertwining colonial practices and subjectivities. However, after years of voices questioning these hegemonic narratives of history, an unusual debate is taking center stage in the public sphere, not only to account for the past’s hidden injustices but, above all, to promote the emergence of other possible futures.
Gala Berger’s collages on canvas are part of a larger project called “Objetos Salvaje” (Wild Objects), in which the Argentinean artist reflects on the cultural artifacts stolen from Latin America. The artist composed the visual proposal by extracting information from the Interpol database on stolen works of art, where the lack of information on the pieces is quite evident. Juan Covelli’s series Speculative Treasures is based on a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) that is trained to reconstruct images of archaeological artifacts of the Quimbaya Treasure. The model is generated by a machine learning algorithm that is designed to recreate 2D representations of the original objects keep in the Museo de America in Madrid.
In Cultural kidnapping for Caucan dignity (2021), MINGA Prácticas De-coloniales* document how the bust of Guillermo León Valencia, toppled by the front line during the Colombian national strike in the Cauca territory in 2021, was taken to trial by the community. The elders ordered a harmonization, a popular exercise of justice against colonial symbols. José Ruiz’s project is the result of a journey made by the artist during the Colombian national strike of 2021, following the monuments that felt, were built, or intervened throughout the social uprising.
Andrea Ferrero’s El baile del Centenario is an edible project that revolves around the idea of celebration, starting from two specific events: the banquets for the independence of Peru in 1821 and the centennial of Mexico’s independence. Both events celebrated independence from European rule and established national narratives; however, they were paradoxically filled with European imagery, romanticizing the idea of “progress” through neoclassical elements. Through digital collage, Laura Campaz intervenes archival images that allude to the historical struggles of Afro communities. The image of photographer Stephen Shames, in which a child salutes the Black Panthers, raising his fist in the New Haven County Courthouse on May 1st, 1970, is appropriated, and intervened by the Cali-born artist, turning it into a sign of a global diasporic struggle.
As a queer migrant and exile, Andrés Monzón has been interested in finding new ways of representing their cultural heritage. A heritage that at times and due to the distance imposed by displacement, appears to be far away. This has led him to reproduce and alter cultural artifacts, specifically from the pre-Columbian Tumaco La-Tolita and Quimbaya cultures. These covered reproductions invite us to reflect on the complexity of mestizo identity. For Monzón, “the concept of memory and forgetting [are treated] not as passive and involuntary experiences, but as societal methods that can be constructed and modified.”
Participating Artists: Andrea Ferrero, Andrés Monzón, Gala Berger, José Ruiz, Juan Covelli, Laura Campaz, Minga Prácticas De-coloniales (*Emiliano Çxayu’çe and Edison Quiñones Falla of Nasa origin, Estefanía García Pineda of the Caribbean coast, Miller Muñoz of Cauca, Taita Lorenzo Tunubalá Hurtado Mørøpik Misak, Phuyu Uma (Jenniffer Ávila Jordan) and Isua Pørøpik (Eyder Calambás Tróchez) of the Misak nation).
Still to be Named / Aún por Nombrar
Curated by Paola Peña
November 12, 2022 – January 15, 2023
150 First Avenue
New York, NY 10009
Free and Open to the Public, Saturday + Sunday, 1–6pm
Masking and Vaccination Proof Required for Entry
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Paola Peña Ospina is a sociologist from the University of Antioquia (2009) and holds a Master’s degree in Art History from Salamanca University (2012). She works as a researcher, teacher, and independent curator, and is the writer of several texts focused on enriching discussions concerning contemporary artistic practices and allowing the emergence of new discourses in this field. Peña has received several distinctions and awards, including recently published research, Sobre Arte: Carlos Echeverry y el arte correo (2021), which won the Grant in Plastic Arts Research of the District Institute of the Arts (IDARTES) (2019); with Juan Bermúdez, they were winners of the National Award in Historical Curatorship of the Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation (FUGA) (2017), the result of which was the book Al mismo tiempo: historias paralelas del videoarte en Colombia (2019). She was the winner of the Scholarship in Curatorship (2015) and Art Criticism (2014) from the Mayor’s Office of Medellin; and, in 2015, she was selected to participate in the Independent Curators International (ICI) curatorial training program in Bogota. In 2014, she was awarded the Visual Arts Research Grant from the Ministry of Culture, published in the book Nuevas prácticas artísticas contemporáneas: espacios autogestionados en la ciudad de Medellín (2019). Peña lives and works in Bogota.