Pays rêvé, pays revers
Curated by Juliana Caffé
Petite Galerie – Cité internationale des arts, Paris
16 February – 5 March 2023

Pays rêvé, pays revers presents works by four artists who reflect, from a political imaginary of the border, on the global cultural flows that point to a world in redesign.

In the contemporary context of globalisation, the dynamics of capital promote intense displacements of objects, people, and ideas. Mercantile logic crosses borders imposing optimization, quantification, productivity, and profitability criteria. How do these transits materialise on individual and collective subjectivities? In the landscape, seen as a lived space-time reality, endowed with symbolic and political characteristics?
With works by Ayesha Hameed, Daniel Jablonski, Noara Quintana, and Sofía Salazar Rosales, the exhibition weaves poetic reflections on the relations between Latin America and Europe since the 19th century and its contemporary developments.

Some of the themes dealt with in the exhibition are the importation of Art Nouveau by Brazilian modernism; the latex trade in France, an Amazon indigenous exploitation; the modernization of Ecuador resulting in an urban aesthetic conflict between reinforced concrete, wood, and bamboo cane; the relationship between climate change and plantation economies; the fiction of origin in historically «othered» cultures; and the condition of being an immigrant abroad.

In Sofía Salazar Rosales’ sculptures, the relationship between the materials used and their signifiers is the starting point for affective reflections. In Meeting space(s), she reproduces in cement a set of mats typical of Latin America, woven in vegetable fibers. The overlapping gesture alludes to the modernization of the port city of Guayaquil, in Ecuador, which with the arrival of European builders in the early 20th century saw wood and bamboo cane quickly replaced by reinforced concrete. However, features of vernacular architecture still survive, even in the modern buildings. This essence of something that resists is used by the artist as a metaphorical thread to build on her condition as a foreigner. The cemented mats, used in her studio as the base for other works, allude here to her attempt to preserve something that is structural to her in the world.

In another set of cement sculptures, the artist reproduces construction and planting equipment. In the installation, however, these devices are bent and tired. Treated with affection by the artist, who handles the objects with pads of gauze and cocoa butter to hydrate and warm them, they are like transitional objects, deeply related to her process of separation from her homeland, as well as to the need to, as she says, ‘‘take root’’. The weight of carrying a seed around the neck references Lé onora Miano’s vision of frontier identities anchored in a permanent space by care and affection, not rupture.

Photos by Kevin Andrés Cristi