From November 19, 2013 to April 6, 2014, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain will present América Latina 1960-2013, coproduced with the Museo Amparo in Puebla (Mexico). The exhibition will offer a new perspective on Latin American photography from 1960 to today, focusing on the relationship between text and the photographic image. Bringing together seventy-two artists from eleven different countries, it reveals the great diversity of photographic practices of artists who appropriate the medium in different ways. This unique presentation will provide the visitor with the opportunity to delve into the history of the continent and to rediscover the works of major artists rarely exhibited in Europe
Latin America: a Fascinating Continent
Over centuries, Latin America has fascinated observers as much as it has mystified them; there is a sense of the exotic that derives perhaps from it having once been perceived as a “new world.” Today, while contemporary Latin American culture has received much attention, the historical circumstances surrounding its production are often less widely explored. The exhibition América Latina 1960-2013 will cover the period from 1960—the year following the Cuban revolution—to today. In many Latin American countries, this period has been marked by political and economic instability, and has seen a succession of revolutionary movements and repressive military regimes, the emergence of guerilla movements as well as transitions toward democracy. By exploring the interaction between text and image in the art of Latin America over the course of the last fifty years, the exhibition provides a vivid look into this tumultuous period of history through the eyes of the artists.
© Adriana Lestido, Mujeres presas series 1991–93 Gelatin silver print.
Vintage print. Collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain,Paris.
Photography and Text in a Shifting World
The close connections that exist between art and literature, text and image, in Latin American art and culture have several historic precedents. Luis Camnitzer—a pioneering conceptual artist and writer—has insisted on the importance of references such as the 19th century educator Simón Rodríguez (tutor of Simón Bolívar), who used formal textual devices as a tool for struggle and resistance, the concrete poets of the 1950s, who used the written word as a visual element in their work, or the more general cultural influence of writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz. This long literary tradition has strongly influenced Latin American visual culture, and beginning in the 1960s many artists found that bringing text and image together in their work provided them with a particularly rich field of experimentation. This approach allowed them to address the pressing needs afflicting their countries and to communicate more easily, an ever-growing preoccupation for artists reacting to repressive governments. This is perhaps because photography is a medium that rapidly and realistically records reality while text providesa way of expanding or altering the meaning of the image. Harnessing the tension between these two media, artists strived to chronicle the complexity and violence of the world around them and in some cases avoid censorship. Artist today continue to combine photography and text to explore notions of territory, memory and identity.
A Diversity of Artists and Practices
America Latina traces this bond between text and image, showing how artists have harnessed the resulting tensions to explore Latin America as a geographical concept. Divided into four sections that reflect these key ideas — Territory, The City, Informing–Resisting, Memory and Identity — the exhibition presents the myriad ways in which Latin American artists have seized new modes of expression, and of reproduction, to explore their reality. Expanding from traditional notions of the photographic print, it thus encompasses a wide range of media including photo-offset printing, silk-screening and collages, as well as film, performance, video, and installation. For example, Brazilian artist Regina Silveira explores stereotypical ideas about Latin America in To Be Continued... (Latin American Puzzle), an enormous mural puzzle that she created out of images appropriated from magazines and tourist guides. Using a more traditional photographic approach, Venezuela’s Paolo Gasparini captures the visual cacophony of signs engendered by rapid urban development. Using a digital printing technique to reproduce images from the popular press, Argentinean artist Juan Carlos Romero graphically denounces the rampant violence in Argentine society in his work entitled Violencia. A video called Bocas de ceniza, by Columbian artist Juan Manuel Echavarría, portrays those who use poetry and song to relate their personal experiences of guerilla-related violence.
Discovering Remarkable Artists
A film commissioned by the Fondation Cartier and realized by the Paraguayan photographer and director Fredi Casco gives a voice to many of the artists presented in the exhibition. Fredi Casco traveled throughout Latin America to interview 30 of the 72 artists included in the exhibition. These exclusive interviews provide revealing portraits of historical value offering rare and personal insight into each artist’s creative process and the context in which he or she works. Including over 500 works, América Latina 1960-2013 highlights kinships in sensibilities across generations and countries, reflecting a richness of voices and a diversity of visual languages. It chronicles the vital legacy of Latin American artists, showing how their influence extends beyond their immediate creative circles to an audience outside the continent. A large body of work from Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and Paraguay reveals the significance of art scenes that have remained outside mainstream channels, bringing visitors a more complete and dynamic understanding of their influence on the world of contemporary art.
AROUND THE EXHIBITION
The catalog of the exhibition
A definitive work of reference on Latin American photography with over 500 color and black-and-white reproductions.Texts by Luis Camnitzer, Olivier Compagnon, and Alfonso Morales Carrillo.
Nomadic Nights The Nomadic Nights have collaborated with the América Latina 1960-2013 exhibition by organizing concerts, screenings, lectures, and performances, and bringing in some of the artists featured to ‘‘take the pulse’’ of the performing and visual arts on the South American scene. Nights of Uncertainty The next Night of Uncertainty América Latina, hosted by Stéphane Paoli, features artists from
the exhibition América Latina 1960-2013 and will be accessible on fondation.cartier.com in video, and in its entirety at the end of November 2013.
Activities for children
The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain has put together family tours and creative workshops specially designed for children for the duration of the exhibition.
© Roberto Fantozzi, Tarma, Perú 1979 Gelatin silver print.
Vintage print. Private collection, courtesy Toluca Fine Art, Paris.