Copy, Translate, Repeat: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros at Hunter College Art Galleries
The Brazilian artists Jonathas de Andrade and Waltercio Caldas participate in a collective show at Hunter College Art Galleries with works from the Collection Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. In view until April 1, 2018.
The 205 Hudson Gallery–located in Tribeca–presents the exhibition “Copy, Translate, Repeat: Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros” organized with twelve students from the Curatorial Certificate Program. With works of thirteen artists from different Latin American countries, the exhibition calls attention to questions of cultural formation and art production.
As the title indicates, by retaking existing documents, texts, or other artworks, these pieces explore forms of appropriation in art practices and how they serve as basis for new discussions. In “The Velázquez” (1994), Waltercio Caldas exposes his research on perception and spatial construction on a depopulated version of the famous painting “The Ladies in Waiting” (1656). The operations presented in the exhibition also expand the dialogue with other artistic formats and mediums since these appropriations not only happen within the visual arts, but also relate to other fields such as literature and architecture. In “The Club” (2010), Jonathas de Andrade combines his photographs of abandoned beach clubs to excerpts from “Antes que Anocheza,” a memoir of the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas that brings questions of homosexuality, sexual freedom and incarceration. By paring with the texts, the images acquire a narrative dimension and change in character doubled by a sense of public space and private affairs.
Although it is through these operations–copying, translating and repeating–that the works are connected, and to my understanding also arranged in space, it is crucial to reflect on how these works address aspects of cultural formation and how this can be put in perspective to the collection, one focused on Latin American art. The works deal with a variety of questions, but it is interesting to notice that they commonly confront Latin American historical accounts and pursuits of its own cultural identity. For example, Christian Vinck’s “According to the General Archive of the Indies” (2012) addresses the archive as a form of knowledge control and historical edition indicating a certain dominance by those who own and organize historical documents, while Leandro Katz’s works from the series “The Catherwood Project” question spatial representation and historical conventions in XIX century drawings of Mayan ruins and how they served to represent these monuments internationally.
The show allows the establishment of interesting reflections on appropriation both in artistic and cultural terms. The latter deserves great attention since what is selected, copied and repeated affects in different ways the collective memory of various generations.
* For more information on the exhibition, visit www.205hudsongallery.org