Extractivism and colonization in Latin America: the 34th Bienal de São Paulo presents Ximena Garrido-Lecca

February 6, 2020

Carla Zaccagnini, guest curator of the 34th Bienal, explains: “We begin the 34th Bienal de São Paulo with this series of works by Ximena Garrido-Lecca, artworks that can help us see the relationships that exist between the invention of electricity, the mining of copper, the demarcation of the land, the depredation of the soil and the scattering of peoples. Because we know that art can give us tools to deal with difficult moments, when other languages are fruitless or absent.”

The 34th Bienal de São Paulo – Faz escuro mas eu canto [Though it’s dark, still I sing] opens on Saturday, February 8 at 9 a.m., with the first of a series of three solo shows that introduce some of the themes featured in the group exhibition, which opens in September 2020. The monographic show by Ximena Garrido-Lecca (b. 1980, Lima, Peru) presents nine artworks, including installations, photographs and videos, which will be on display on the third floor of the Bienal Pavilion until March 15. This is the artist’s first solo show in Brazil, who works between Lima and Mexico City researching the history of Peru and the impacts of colonial processes as well as their contemporary consequences. The opening of the exhibition will be followed by the presentation at 11 a.m. by South African artist Neo Muyanga (b. 1974, Soweto) of a new musical performance, A Maze in Grace, which will move through different floors of the pavilion and around the structure’s iconic building-high empty space. Ximena Garrido-Lecca The work by Garrido-Lecca is often based on the study of techniques and materials used in handicraft, art and architecture throughout Peruvian history. The installations presented at the 34th Bienal use ancestral ceramic techniques and weaving as well as materials such as copper, oil barrels, oil, wood, wire, nails and plants. One of her most emblematic works, Insurgencias botánicas: Phaseolus Lunatus [Botanical Insurgencies: Phaseolus Lunatus], 2017, is an installation with a hydroponic structure in which are planted seedlings of the bean species Phaseolus lunatus. As the plants grow throughout the year, the public have the opportunity to accompany different moments of the installation’s transformation, in a movement that symbolizes the process of the Bienal itself, which is being inaugurated now but will be enlarged, transformed and problematized until December. For Garrido-Lecca, the gesture of cultivating the beans becomes a symbolic reactivation of a supposed system of communication of the Moche culture, a pre-Incan Peruvian civilization that developed complex irrigation systems and which, according to some theories, used the spots present on these beans as signs in an ideogrammatic writing system.

34th Bienal de São Paulo – Faz escuro mas eu canto [Though it’s dark, still I sing]
Solo show of Ximena Garrido-Lecca: opens 8 February 2020, at 9am
Performance by Neo Muyanga: 8 February 2020, at 11am
Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilon, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo, Brazil

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