What is contemporary Latin American art? Who are its exponents? What is the role of art collectors in this sphere? These are difficult questions to answer, but they allow us to relay with concision the content of the exhibition.
Since its inception in 2002, the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation has shaped one of the most extensive and substantial programs of contemporary Latin American art.
Contemporary Latin American art, as reflected in the CIFO Collection, includes artists from all generations, countries of origin, fields, preferences, and experiences. Established, mid-career, and emerging artists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, many of whom have found other horizons beyond their places of origin. All these artists have been trained both in the academic fields of their countries and in the art schools of the reputed avant-garde centers. Many of them are immersed in a range of multidisciplinary or hybrid practices in which both traditional and the most innovative methods come together, as they incorporate into their work the infinite gamut of resources that constitute the repertoire of contemporary art. If all this diversity were not enough, most of them combine different fields of knowledge and ground their work in research, that is, they see art as an exercise in searching and a reflection upon the sociocultural environments in which they perform.
The old dichotomies that drove continental art, to wit: tradition vs. revolution; localisms vs. universalisms; the figurative vs. the abstract; political-apolitical; public-private; and so many other categories that infused certainty into the debate on regional art, are no longer operative in the contemporary world. As few of them continue to take recourse to iconographic or narrative language to define Latin America identity, each new work tends to be a challenge to the stereotypes of what is Latin American.
In addition, the programs under which the artists operate are many, whether they be derived from post-colonial or representation theory, from entropy or systems theory, from epistemology or the social sciences, taking on topics as complex as those posed by the new philosophical materialisms.
Most probably, if we search each and every one of the works of this exhibition for some trait that will identify them with their Latin American-ness, we will be taking on a very arduous task. But if we understand that their contribution has been to configure a space of dialogue and plural reflection, we will be able to find in each of them the dominant imperatives, not only of Latin America, but of our very contemporaneity.