By Dorothée Dupuis, Lima, Perú
April 18, 2018 – April 22, 2018
After being in São Paulo the week before for SP-Arte, I travelled to Lima, transitioning—as I’ve been joking with dark humor since the beginning of the week—between two countries that currently don’t have presidents. Both in Brazil and Peru, this doesn’t seem to be a problem. The countries continue to operate without a leader, like chickens without heads. This tepidity is also found in the art world as cynically noted by Vik Muniz last week in Artnet News: “If you have money to buy art, maybe you are simply immune to many of these fluctuations.” After the Brazilian context, it is interesting to note the effects of similar phenomena on a different economy and artistic environment such as Peru. The Lima fairs opened few days after SP-Arte. I say “the fairs” because in Lima there are two at the same time: on the one hand, PArC, produced with the support of PROMPERÚ and directed by Diego Costa Peuser also owner of the specialized magazine Arte al día as well as the fairs Lima and Buenos Aires Photo and Pinta London, New York and Miami; on the other hand, Art Lima, which is managed by the group El Comercio (owners of the Peruvian newspaper with the same name).
If this situation exists in other parts of the Americas in larger markets, such as Mexico with Zona Maco and Material, it is delicate in Peru where the two fairs have more or less the same position, attracting medium-sized galleries that could often be neighbors in other fairs of the world. It is a bit sad to say that a kind of latent animosity between groups is felt in the city, especially by the more experienced people. The youngest are the most mature, keeping silence at the right moment and trying to take advantage of this fauna of international visitors that Peru seems to lack a lot outside of that art week.
The PArC fair invited Terremoto as part of the Tijuana book fair promoted by the Brazilian gallery Vermelho and carried out by the curator Ana Luiza Fonseca. There was a selection of Latin American publishers, such as Gráficos y Pulso (Buenos Aires), Ediciones Popolet (Chile), as well as several editorials of Lima like vm&, Membrana ediciones or La Crema Lima, among others. For its sixth edition, PArC had a general section, and two special sections: NEXT curated by Florencia Portocarrero from Lima, and the SOLO section curated by the Ecuadorian Manuela Moscoso. Among the many international galleries of excellent quality, several interesting proposals stand out, such as Y Gallery (New York) with works by Alberto Borea and Natalia Iguiñiz; Paseo Gallery (Lima / Punta del Este) with historical works by Marco Maggi; Gallery Nosco, recently relocated to Marseille after ten years in London, which brought works by the young Kuwaiti Ibrahim Ahmed and the Uruguayan Verónica Vázquez; Henrique Faria (Buenos Aires / New York) with works from the eighties by Herman Schwartz and Herbert Rodríguez; Vermelho (São Paulo) with work by Marcelo Cidade and Tania Candiani; and Diego Obligado (Rosario) who presented a wall of small graphic works by María Suardi. In the NEXT section, the young Crisis Gallery (Lima) presented an assortment of young Peruvian sculptors and painters: Jimena Chávez Delion, Javier Bravo de Rueda and Alexia Pedal; same in Abra (Caracas) with three Venezuelans, Leonardo Nieves, Elías Toro and Óscar Abraham Pabón, mostly based in Europe due to the current political climate in the country. Piedras (Buenos Aires) focused its program on female artists, presenting a 3D video by Mónica Heller, as well as several paintings by Teresa Giarcovich inspired by Christian martyrs made with superimposed transparent colorful fabrics.
I also discovered the work of the young Colombian artist Luz Adriana Vera in El Dorado (Bogotá), which addressed the weight of Catholic religion in the deep corners of the Americas, a very important political issue in these days of growing conservatism, an issue sometimes forgotten by many artists based in the major urban centers of the continent. In the SOLO section, we could see the post-internet works of Ignacio Gatica at Die Ecke (Santiago), the expanded paintings of Mariela Scafati at Isla Flotante (Buenos Aires) and Andrés Pereira Paz—Bolivian based in Lima for a few years and also member of the collective Bisagra— at Nube Gallery (Santa Cruz, Bolivia). Likewise, the fair had a program of talks among which stood out the presentation of the monograph of the Peruvian artist based in the USA, Elena Tejada-Herrera, published by Proyecto AMIL following the exhibition of the same artist in their space, a highlight of the foundation’s last year exhibition program. This talk allowed us to start a reflection on the urgency of historicizing the art produced in Peru in the last decades, a reflection that crossed many of the peripheral exhibitions to the two fairs, as I will mention later in this report.
Arte Lima, located in the military school of the Chorrillos neighborhood (soldiers in uniform included, memory of the eternal militarization of Latin America), seemed an initiative supported by the Peruvian elites—or so it seemed during the inauguration. Peru’s main galleries were there, such as Revolver, Ginsberg and 80m2, among others. Likewise other galleries of international quality were part of the fair as is the case of Instituto de Visión (Bogota), Lamb Arts (London), Patricia Ready (Santiago), Isabel Aninat Gallery (Santiago), Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City), (bis) | oficina de proyectos (Cali). In the Plataforma section you could find a nice selection of projects / spaces of independent artists or small galleries such as Breve (Mexico City), Proyecto NASA(L) (Ecuador), Km 0.2 (Puerto Rico), Sagrada Mercancía (Santiago), or the Food of War collective (London). A small editorial section was algo a highlight, curated with the help of the Lima publishers Meier Ramírez—among its titles stood out an incredible book by artist José Vera Matos, whose works were on display at the 80m2 booth. In this section, I also bought an issue of the magazine of the Lima artistic and curatorial collective, Bisagra, which I was missing in my collection.
In the city, galleries tried to show off with very distinct strategies. Revolver tried a different strategy than usual, with an exhibition of two deceased historical Peruvian artists, Jorge Eielson and Emilio Rodríguez-Larraín, curated by Jorge Villacorta. Livia Benavides – 80m2, on the contrary, honored the artists of the gallery, with a focus on newcomers to her program—a pleasure to note the presence of several women like Sandra Gamarra and Gilda Mantilla who joined Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Rita Ponce de León and the veteran Teresa Burga. The show also featured an amazing work by Gabriel Acevedo Velarde. It also featured a great work by Gabriel Acevedo Velarde. For his part, Ginsberg invited the French curator Jerôme Sans to do an exhibition of artists from the gallery, with the intention of giving an international touch to their program. The young Crisis Gallery (located two steps from 80m2) had a collective of young artists—I loved the post-human video of Emilia Curatola.
On the market side, we must mention the ambitious initiative of the young gallerist Ilan Karpio, which seeks to activate artistic bridges between Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and beyond. Espacio Tomado occupied an office building in Miraflores for three days and presented the work of more than 30 Latin American artists—more than half of them being women artists. Among those artists whose works stood notably for the freshness of their proposals were Diego Fernandini, Viviana Balcázar, Sandra Salazar (who also had works in the alternative fair of Proyecto AMIL), Debora Levy, Erik Bendix, Pierina Seinfeld and the Mexican Allan Villavicencio. Karpio also included in his proposal works from the eighties and nineties, among which, in my opinion, a highlight was the excellent work of Ramiro Llona, who due to historical circumstances could never really touch an international audience. Taking advantage of the context previously mentioned around the rescue of the history of contemporary art from the last decades in several Latin American countries, including Peru, the initiative seemed remarkable both for its prospective side and for its intention to strengthen collecting through the promising format of the pop-up show.
Likewise, Proyecto AMIL, a foundation located in the basement of the Camino Real shopping center, joined the expanded market idea by presenting an art “fair” for emerging artists without commercial representation at several of the empty galleries around its main space (where a monumental video installation was located that transformed everything the space of the artist David Zink Yi, a Peruvian based in Berlin). La Carnicería, curated by María Abaddon and Rodrigo Gómez Olivos, during a week presented several works at very accessible prices (Julio Urbina Rey’s intimate photomontages standing out), but also concerts of noise and electro music (DJ Orieta Chrem, excellent!).
The institutions tried to occupy the land too. In the ICPNA, after the exhibition of Natalia Iguiñiz last year, curator Miguel López proposed an individual exhibition of Alfredo Márquez, following his exploration of the Peruvian scenes of the 90s and 00s in his political and activist dimension. The exhibition explores Márquez’s practice both individual and collective (from the groups Las Bestias or Taller NN), as well as manages to weave intransigent activism to his graphic design business.
The AMANO, Pre-Columbian Textile Museum of Lima, invited Gerardo Chávez-Maza, curator of the Plataforma section of Arte Lima, to articulate works of contemporary art within its historical collection focused on Inca and pre-Columbian textiles and which was assembled by the Japanese engineer Yoshitaro Amano and donated to the museum in 1964. The result, although unequal, is an attempt of seduction that brings together the today with the yesterday—notable inaugurating the exhibition a painting of the mythical, recently deceased, Peruvian painter Milner Cajahuaringa. Finally, although the MALI presented two exhibitions, one by Miró and the other by Juan Enrique Bedoya, a Peruvian photographer, it certainly choose to shine through an on-site installation of the Colombian star Iván Argote, as well as organizing a giant party that I missed because of an early flight the next day. Another institutional and popular strategy that the one of the party: while the legs dance nothing is asked to the head—may you have one or not.