Curated by Los Angeles-based Spanish curator Pedro de Llano, this is a long-overdue midcareer retrospective comprising over a dozen works by an artist whose practice is little exhibited in Spain, and it's also very pertinent as it's hosted within the former Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas – from where Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) planned his second voyage of 1493.
Most importantly though is the connection to northern Spain with Alves' long-term research on Xico: "a town outside Mexico City, on the shores of one of the lakes that in the late 19th century, Íñigo Noriega, a Spanish immigrant from Asturias, drained the lake completing a cycle of environmental destruction and social marginalization that began with the arrival of Hernán Cortés and his soldiers." (from CAAC website) "This one man-made disaster in Chalco continues to have adverse effects that still plague the region with floods, contaminated water, land subsidence and the resulting destruction to infrastructure such as sewage pipes, large cracks which damage hundreds of houses, lack of drinking water and most recently earthquakes." (from the exhibition walltext)
"Since the early 1990s, Maria Thereza Alves has addressed the devastating effects of Portuguese imperialism on the indigenous peoples of her native Brazil and of the Spanish conquest in the Americas. Hosted by the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC), this long-overdue survey was in part a pre-history of her extensive project for Documenta 13, The Return of a Lake (2012). Extended in Seville, this room-sized installation centered on tabletop models that related the disastrous effects of the 1908 desiccation of Lake Chalco in Mexico City by Spanish businessman Íñigo Noriega Laso, and the ongoing injustices suffered by those who live in nearby Xico. Bookended by the earliest work in the exhibition, NoWhere (1991), in which overpainted photographs from Amazonas address European delusions of city planning in ‘empty’ territory, The Long Road to Xico (1991–2014) illuminates the ecological assault and epistemological violence ushered by colonialism. Given the city’s past as the main port for Spanish trade with the New World, the context of Seville granted particular acuity to the ethical armature of Alves’s decolonizing art. Moreover, CAAC’s home is the former Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas, from where Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) planned his second voyage of 1493 and where his remains were once interred."
The work of Maria Thereza Alves has been featured in several of Latitudes' projects, starting in 2006 with her contribution alongside Jimmy Durham for the publication "LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook" (RSA/Arts Council England). In 2008 her film "The Sun" (2006, 5'03'') was presented in the group exhibition ‘Greenwashing. Ambiente: Pericoli, Promesse e Perplessità’ (Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities), at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (29 February–18 May 2008) and later that year it was presented as part of the film programme "A Stake in the Mud, A Hole in the Reel. Land Art’s Expanded Field 1968–2008", premiered at the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City in April 2008 (toured to another seven venues in Europe between April and October that year).
Latitudes to facilitate the Nature Addicts Fund Travelling Academy, 11–15 September, organised within the Maybe Education and Public Programs of dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (9 September 2012)
dOCUMENTA (13) artists and Latitudes (24 August 2012)
Premiere del ciclo de video 'Una estaca en el lodo, un hoyo en la cinta. El campo expandido del Land Art, 1968-2008' en el Museo Tamayo, México DF (25 March 2008)
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