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Reconstrucciones | Rodrigo Arenas-Carter

17.06.2021 - 18.07.2021

Terremoto La Postal is an exhibition program located in our office in the center of Mexico City that fosters the dissemination of archival research projects within the artistic field through public exhibits. On september 2020, we launched an open call for a special edition of this program, as an incitement to rethink how to maintain and active dialogue considering the issues and limitations of the pandemic present. Terremoto La Postal’s 2021 program is made possible by the generous support of Fondation Antoine de Galbert.

The history of performance as an artistic practice is problematic. Not only because it is impossible to characterize it as unitary, but, and particularly in the case of the territories that we have conceived as Latin America, it is a silenced history, little investigated and obscured both by the hegemonic antecedents that, although they cross it, they do not nullify or subordinate it; as well as for the scant interest from cultural agents. Let us remember that in these territories there were always creative performative practices before this term was conceived and that a large part of that repertoire was lost during the colonization processes. All this, while considering that the term performance is also a nomenclature that refers to a specific type of social practices, which often find areas of intersection with artistic practices.

Obviously, the task of reassembling a story is a long-term one. Although this project does not pretend to do so, it does aspire to recall some key moments of its beginnings through reconstructions. This concept responds to the idea of ​​re-activating pieces in a non-literal way; that is, allowing degrees of freedom to the activators, an idea that is connected with Richard Schechner’s “restored behaviour”.

Reconstrucciones is a research process by the artist Rodrigo Arenas-Carter that consists of an exhaustive search of documents and records of different historical projects of performance as a contemporary artistic practice. In a second moment, it seeks to recreate some of these actions, where the constant insufficiencies and scarcity of information allow not only to resignify the gaps and omissions that the historical discourse suffers and demands, but at the same time they configure a narrative about performance art, from action itsef.

For this edition of Terremoto – La Postal, four performances by artists of Latin American origin were chosen and later instructions were sent on how to carry out each of these reconstructions in different venues located in the cities where they were originally made. The artists chosen are Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Yvonne von Mollendorff, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alberto Greco and Lygia Clark.

The reconstructions, venues and dates of each event are the following:

  • Mattress Destruction Ritual (1966) by Raphael Montanez Ortiz in Terremoto Magazine, Mexico City, June 17

  • Narrative Dance Piece [Ballet Verbal] (1970) by Yvonne von Mollendorff at elgalpon.espacio, Lima, Perú, June 24

  • An action from Efímeros de Taller (1948-1949) by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Enrique Lihn in collaboration with Perrera Arte, Santiago, Chile, July 1

  • Alberto Greco ¡Qué grande sos! (1961) by Alberto Greco in collaboration with Homenajes Urbanos, Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 8

Rodrigo Arenas-Carter is a visual artist, writer, cultural manager and independent researcher. Master in English and North American Literature, Universidad de Playa Ancha, Valparaíso. Diploma in Contemporary Art, Municipal School of Visual Arts of Guatemala. He has focused his work on performance, Internet art and video art. His works have been exhibited in the United States, France, Guatemala, Chile, Cuba, Belgium, Colombia and Canada, obtaining scholarships such as Nonesuch One Second Residency for the ‘Migrant Experience’ 2016-2017 (Canada), and Experimenta / Sur 2016 (Colombia). His essay “Bodies in scrutiny: discussions about transraciality and performance” was awarded in the First Performance Theory Contest (Mexico 2016), while “Practice and Poetics of the Art of Performance as Resistance in Latin America” ​​obtained an Honorable Mention in the essay contest “Pensar a Contracorriente” (Cuba 2016). He is the author of the novel Once (2015), and the poetry volumes NYC30H (2010) and La Santa Trinidad 1: El Padre. (2015). He has given art and performance workshops in Guatemala and Chile. He recently published “The Vital Precariety. Poetry and Performance in Latin America and Chile ”, by Editorial Académica Española. He is currently a member of the Central American Art Network (RACA).

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