Venezuelan, born 1971
2004 – 2009
Nine Diasec mounted C-prints
“The installation Archive Technologies presents photographs of historic sites where the battle over Venezuela’s independence was fought. Both individually and in the context of the larger exhibit, the photographs shed light on the effects of accumulation. Within each “landscape” are as many sites as are found in reports and oral testimonies… At the same time, the installation includes images constructed from a careful digital suturing of fragments of an epic painting, in the form of an additive composition that eliminates the sources, recreating and recording a non-existent painting with elements of different existing works… Each of these images reiterates and displaces some facet of the concept of the summit, whether it be the distance, the ideal point from which to look outward, or both. If the utopia of the archive is that of the place that inaugurates history by generating the fiction of totality, the utopia of the summit is that of the place that contains all the places. Like the archive, the elevation is the place upon which the summit is founded and dominates. Beyond the concrete geographic and historical references, this installation poses questions regarding the limits of all foundational gestures.” (Miguel Amat in Shifting Constructs / 2009 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2009, p. 16).
Colombian, born 1975
Unweaving the Grid
Two-channel video projection on partially unwoven polyester fabric, concrete and unwoven dye-sublimated polyester silk
“This piece derives from a previous work that investigates the notion of geological deep time which posits that the value of time is stored in space. Mapping these geological periods is not easy to accomplish. In this regard, my proposal seeks to allude to a cyclical time that alternates between the time scale of geological transformation and the time scale of the human transformation of the same material. In both cycles, time is implicated: construction and destruction. The unraveling of the weft that sustains the image seems like a metaphor that can be woven toward the geologist’s exercise of stratigraphic reading. James Hutton, considered the founder of modern geology, indicated that his discoveries about the calculation of the earth’s age did not coincide with the Biblical story of the origin of the world: ‘The result, therefore, of this physical enquiry’, [Hutton wrote in his 1788 Theory of the Earth], ‘is that there is no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.'” (Leyla Cárdenas in An Emphasis on Resistance / 2019 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2019, p. 28).
Colombian, 1950 – 2021
Artist’s book, documents, posters, and photographs
This installation documents the process of creating The Wolf, an artist’s book based on a series of workshops entitled Talleres de Creatividad Visual (Visual Creativity Workshop). Since the 1970s, text has played an important role in Caro’s work. His use of informal materials (photocopies, posters, etc.) is an example of the significance of his practice in the workshops and supports his belief that traditional artistic practice can be used by the public and that creativity is not reserved for a select few. In the artist’s words, “in my work, materials, form and how I deal with issues come close to the concept of Resilience. I feel happy when I talk with fellow Colombians about my work in “non-artistic” terms because I find they resonate with it and give me feedback. I’ve always done the same thing in my work: Take the street to the museum.” By capturing the process of creating his artist book, Caro allows the viewer to become part of his narrative thus giving him/her an opportunity to better understand his perspective. This documentation is in and of itself an archive that captures the essence of what he has been working on for over twenty years. Per the artist’s request, copies of his book will be distributed at local libraries to ensure its accessibility. (Ana Clara Silva, Introduction, and Antonio Caro with Eugenio Espinoza, in Deferred Archive / 2013 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2013, pp. 9, 41).
Peruvian, born 1979
Syzygy I, 2016
Hand carved and polished travertine, marble, copper, stainless steel
Syzygy II, 2016
Hand carved and polished travertine, marble, copper, stainless steel
Umbra Penumbra I, 2016
Giclee print on cotton paper
Umbra Penumbra II, 2016
Giclee print on cotton paper
Damiani’s work explores fractures in time and geological events as symbols of constant change. To convey this idea in Syzygy (meaning, the alignment of three celestial bodies), she makes sculptures from materials such as marble, travertine, copper, and matte glass. As the artist explains, “combining geological materials, such as sedimentary rocks like travertine, and sheets of paper in collage -usually maps from scientific books and digital databases–has given me the chance to collide dissimilar times and topographies, and to develop a poetics built upon different layers of meaning.” The artist refers to geological features as indicators of a time before history. To Damiani, geology reveals the memory of the land. Her installations reflect her ongoing interest in planetary events as symbols of nature’s unpredictability. In the artist’s words, “the works reference time’s lack of continuity. They reveal how natural phenomena can alter the established order. I’m also interested in the dialogue between light and darkness. At the same time, I am personally interested in obliquely introducing a plausible rupture in the current conditions. Like the weather, this current phase of producing artwork could swerve unexpectedly. Despite the apparent sturdiness and stability of the works, the proposal aims to reflect on time and the variability of matter in different contexts, which could change drastically at any moment.” (Elena Damiani with Sharon Lerner in Liquid Sensibilities / 2016 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2016, p. 20).
José Gabriel Fernández
Venezuelan, born 1957
Interior No. 1
Acrylic gesso on plywood and MDF
José Gabriel Fernández has created an architectural installation that is site-sensitive. With roots in homoeroticism, the lines in his [sculptural] work stem from his early practice, which had a heavy focus on the [physical sensuality of the] matador and the corrida, providing conceptual and formal material for his sculptures and creating an aura of “motion and gravitas.” As the artist explains, “in the 1980s I made a series of works titled Interiors. These were ephemeral architectural interventions in my house in north London. Truly Arte Povera in that both the materials and production cost nothing. Similarly, my current work has begun to branch out from a so-called “studio practice” to interventions in real architectural spaces. For CIFO I am presenting a work that reflects my current interest in a hybrid form between art, design, and architecture. It touches on aspects of my earlier installation work yet is developed from sources that have informed my work since the mid-80s. You can see my process has become both linear and cyclical.” (Ana Clara Silva, Introduction, and José Gabriel Fernández with Terence Gower in Deferred Archive / 2013 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2013, pp. 10, 55).
Brazilian, born 1972
“In some cases, questioning perception allows the audience to deepen its relation with the work, as in the case of 3 Sections. There is a boundary which can be tested, and questioning the proposed boundary and crossing that boundary is a small transgression of one’s own perception. I do not intend my work to be something to trick the eye. Far from it. My intention is to propose a deepening of the audience’s relationship with the visible and for them to re-examine their role in relationship with space and to what they perceive.” Galan’s sculptures and architectural installations often alter the function of objects so as to encourage a reconsideration of their form. Playing with the exhibition space in the way an optical illusion might effortlessly manifest itself on paper, Galan modifies the color and illumination of a room in order to create the illusion that there are three glass planes dividing the space. By suggesting the presence of elements that in reality do not exist, the work proposes an estrangement of our sensorial perception. (Natalia Zuluaga, Introduction, and Marcius Galan with Rina Carvajal in Viewpoint / 2011 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2011, pp. 6, 25–26).
Uruguayan – American, born 1972
Generative sound installation for quadraphonic systems. Mac Mini, custom software, transducers, amplifiers, wall drawing
Plays indefinitely without repeating
Quotidian is a “sonic construct,” including a sound installation and a wall intervention/ sculpture, that asks the viewer to get close to the wall for a listen. In the artist’s words, “the participant needs to place an ear to the wall to perceive the piece. As the visitors do this, their faces touch the surface and each person’s make-up, sweat, etc., also leave a trace, continuously contributing to the overall construct. Often, we find ourselves at home hearing something whose source we do not recognize. So, we listen to the wall and realize that the sounds are coming from inside of it or from the other side of it – perhaps the neighbor’s home? Or something in the wall itself? Subsequently when the listener places an ear to the wall this action becomes significant, as it reinvents the notion of the wall not only through establishing awareness of sound in space but by redirecting the focus from passive status to active listening. (Richard Garet with Berta Sichel in No Black No White (No And) / 2017 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2017, pp. 69, 72–73).
Cuban, born 1989
Award Martiel, Carlos
Photography, video and medal with artist’s skin
“My work is a critique of my reality. I reflect on social issues that affect the individual and, on other occasions, about contradictions that are born from within myself. The body is not only that which is seen with the naked eye. Working with such internal fluids is showing and experiencing my own corporeality from another perspective. Condecoración Martiel, Carlos, is a performance in which a group of surgeons removed a six-centimeter piece of skin from the left side of my waist. The tissue was then cured by an art restorer in order to include it as part of a gold medal similar to those that the Cuban state awards selected citizens. Finally, I had the technical details of the work tattooed around the scar as a permanent record of my body’s donation. I think presenting this work in the United States is interesting because it’s a country which, despite their differences, does have cultural and economic characteristics similar to Cuba in its development of institutions that allow racial discrimination to continue as a problem and an unresolved obstacle.” (Carlos Martiel with José Díaz in Fleeting Imaginaries / 2014 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2014, p. 44).
Claudia Martínez Garay
Peruvian, born 1983
Acrylic on plywood
“In Sub America, the elements relate to one another and are displaced upon the same plane, coexisting in an abstract ‘Latin America,’ and dealing with Latin American problematics, revolutions, social and official movements that were produced from inside and outside of that space. The images reveal how Latin American-ness is represented and self-represented throughout the 20th century. The iconic relationships between dictatorships and rebellions often spring from the same place, with the same purpose, and, in time, transformed into what they started out opposing. Figures and icons also take on diverse ideologies. Sub America focuses on pamphlets that deal with Latin America and its recent history of dictatorships and revolutions, particularly between the 1970s and 1990s. The imagery was changed, eliminated, and juxtaposed, displaying a visual map of oppression and struggles within Latin America with an emphasis on South American countries, which share similar state policies.” (Claudia Martínez Garay in An Emphasis on Resistance / 2019 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2019, p. 70).
Jorge Méndez Blake
Mexican, born 1974
Black Pavilion / Open Library
Black Pavilion / Open Library is a continuation of a series of previous work that stems from two themes: the idea of the “open library” and the “impossibility of writing.” In the artist’s words, “by proposing an ‘open’ library I am proposing a more ‘rhizomatic’ structure that is not governed by stable or fixed structures, but by a more labyrinthine organization… Each book in the bookshelves is a compilation of texts, or fragments of texts of authors who have worked in a direct or indirect manner with the impossibility of writing and the emptiness in literature.” As Méndez Blake states, “libraries are spaces that are designed for storing knowledge, as places for historical collections to be protected and looked after. Historically, libraries weren’t thought of as temporary structures, but as eternal spaces. That’s why a pavilion, that was originally an afunctional and temporary space, makes for an interesting combination for the concept of a library because its function is placed within a limited timeframe. This hybrid is important, as is the fact that the work is a sculpture in the traditional sense, which has matter and form… but it is a sculpture that can also be read (literally) if the viewer takes a few minutes to do so.” (Ana Clara Silva, Introduction, and Jorge Méndez Blake with Daniela Pérez in Deferred Archive / 2013 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2013, pp. 8, 33–34).
Brazilian, born 1980
In Depth (Landmines)
Seven digital photographic prints
The photographic work of Alice Miceli addresses the inaccessibility of spaces that have been contaminated by man-made disasters. From the effects caused by the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, to the minefields of Cambodia and Colombia, Miceli is developing a tour through high-risk zones. Her art, however, is motivated by the limitations of conventional photography in registering the intangible. For her project In Depth (Landmines), the artist encountered a new challenge: “In the Chernobyl Project, the operation was a problem of the unseeable. That is where the impenetrability was. Therefore, that required an action from me in the image making, the attempt to capture marks of that unseeable, on film. In the minefields, the question is no longer how to create an image of that which cannot be seen, because we can see the land, even if the mines are hidden. One can gaze over and even capture that space in an image… that space is now the problem. The question is then, for me, in the mined depth to be walked through, and represent that in the image.” (Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, Intersections (after Lautremont), and Alice Miceli with Donald Johnson-Montenegro in Intersections (after Lautremont) / 2015 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2015, pp. 6, 40).
Jorge Pedro Núñez
Venezuelan, born 1976
Nature Morte with Monuments
Sculptures made from vinyl records
“I do not explicitly seek to make an institutional or cultural critique, as my work can be read as a post-colonial process that strips cultural identities of their hierarchies.” In this context, Jorge Pedro Núñez offers an alternative approach to the concepts of history and memory: “In my work, I propose a different reading of history. I mix North with South and high culture with popular culture. My intention is to use recycling to put historical shapes back into circulation, to induce irony, humor, and a critical distance, to produce new readings based on memory …The title of my project for CIFO, Nature Morte With Monuments, comes from the names of two New York galleries from the 1980s that, at the time, played an important role for the post-conceptualists and the neo-geos …My pieces are directly linked to these values and they are in direct resonance with the material world. I like working with the enunciation of a certain aura of art, which exists as a material value. This can create relationships between the object and the reader, in terms of the history or physical nature of the work.” (Jorge Pedro Nuñez with Jesús Fuenmayor in In Transition / 2010 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2010, pp. 33–35).
Peruvian, born 1985
Engraved marble plates, black and white documents
Distinction continues an ongoing inquiry into immigration policies and their bureaucratic treatment of illegal immigrants. From a political point of view, “the plaques act as tributes to the private companies that make money from illegal immigration by identifying, detaining, and deporting people considered illegal from American territory. This tribute is paid on behalf of American citizens for whom the state implements a system to control ‘non-citizens,’ ‘illegal immigrants’ and refugees. This system supposedly exists to maintain order in society, for the progress of the nation and for the benefit of those considered citizens. Citizenship is thus posited as people’ with the right to have rights,’ as part of the mechanism of the political conflict surrounding immigration… The plaques also mention people who have died while in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, many of whom were arrested because they did not have the right paperwork to be in the country or simply because they admitted their plans to seek political asylum.” (Natalia, Zuluaga, Under the Tyrannical Control of a Phantom, and Yoshua Okón with Daniela Ortiz in Not Me: Subject to Change / 2012 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2012, pp. 14, 53).
Colombian, born 1977
Classroom to learn what cannot be learned (or an invisible school)
Steel tubes, found objects, wheel, cardboard, tape, painting, exercises, conversations, and shared time
The classroom is a physical space that offers the opportunity to generate dialogues and exchanges, making it a pedagogical tool. It is also an idea that can be transmitted to space such as a museum, where the material and the intangible – conversations, sounds, time – coexist. The less defined a classroom, the more capabilities it has to be. The flexible and the pedagogical coincide when the participants activate the space and occupy the time by their own means (Paris, 2018). The less defined a classroom is, the more capacities it has. When the function ceases to be a system of organization and becomes multiple purposes, the pedagogical processes can take off in many directions. The artist’s own words are insightful as a guide for the spectator to experience this work: “observe your surroundings. Try to give shape to the space between us. Places that are made of the time we share and that exist between us. Collect those places and find their possible geometric shapes. The way we relate to one another can be a geometric form…” (Nicolás Paris in Artist Agreement for Work Production with CIFO, 2018, and An Emphasis on Resistance / 2019 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2019, pp. 48, 52).
Ecuadorian, born 1966
Artificial horizons, reflex instruments. The space between doubt and certainty, from the series The art of Navigation
Optical lenses, optical mirrors, wood, brass, levels, filters, glass and plumbs
This installation refers to navigation tools. Ribadeneira focuses on two types of objects that were invented in the 18th century as such: Reflecting instruments – tools that have used mirrors historically in order to simultaneously observe two objects, thus allowing us to see what is in front and what is behind at a single glance, and Artificial horizons (attitude indicators) – tools that were originally used to replace the natural horizon, which under certain circumstances is not visible. The pieces are displayed on a table and are meant to be contemplated. “My interest in navigation tools comes from the same questions the people who invented them posed themselves, the same questions that every ‘sailor’ poses to himself on a personal, political, and poetic level: ‘Where am I and where am I going?’ ‘Where do I come from?’ and, ‘How do I get back there?’ But, what interests me most is the space between the doubt and certainty of possible arguments. In some sense, all artworks are navigation tools …I create navigation tools that no longer work, whose use and measurements have been erased, but which can have alternative uses or functions.” (Ana Clara Silva, Introduction, and Manuela Ribadeneira with Sharon Lerner in Deferred Archive / 2013 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2013, pp. 6, 21–22).
Antonio Vega Macotela
Mexican, born 1954
Intervention on newspapers and kneeler
In Murmurs Vega placed anamorphic drawings as advertisements in a Mexican newspaper designed to disseminate a series of cryptic messages that appear distorted unless seen from a particular angle: “[for this exhibition] I wanted to think of the ads published in the newspapers like attempts to create alternate territories; whispers that might not be visible but still create a community among those who can read them…” These murmurs are intended to give voice to the victims of assassination, and it is only when the spectator assumes a physical position resembling that of the assassinated that he or she is able to decipher the code. As Vega points out, “…this code was created in prison …The place/museum, on the other hand, deserves special attention. Once the piece is mounted, the content of the message may be read just when the spectator is on his knees, chest and chin pressed against the wall and face turned upward. Assuming the position of one who prays or who will be executed. Both positions are a sort of invocation of ‘the others,’ the dead, those for whom the whisper is the frequency in which they live and the sound through which they communicate.” (Natalia Zuluaga, Introduction, and Antonio Vega with Yoshua Okón in Viewpoint / 2011 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2011, pp. 7, 47–48).
Mexican, born 1971
HD Video, color, sound
In Miguel Calderón’s film, Easy Prey, he tells the story of Sergio, a hawk trainer, within a few scenarios that are intertwined to show his life in a contemplative manner. “Just as I did as a kid, adult falconers use falconry as an escape from a world that makes them uncomfortable. I spent years following various falconers who wore military style hunting gear and looked like soldiers in order to make a documentary. It was hard to break into their private sphere. But one day, Sergio—whom I had met ten years earlier—contacted me. I went to see him, and he divulged an amazing life story that included his sexual experiences with his wife and his falconer friends as well as a horrible motorcycle accident. I felt like I’d gotten exactly what I was looking for: a scenario for exploring human nature, with a hawk and its animal instincts as a backdrop. Sergio told a story about how his best friend as a kid stole the girl he was in love with, and he felt humiliated; the event marked him for life and created a psychological pattern. Following this event, Sergio wanted the world to feel the pain he had felt.” (Ana Clara Silva, Introduction, and Miguel Calderón with Pablo León de la Barra in Deferred Archive / 2013 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2013, pp. 11, 52–53).
Ecuadorian, born 1978
Confirmation of Events II
Encyclopedia pages, plastic found objects, MDF platform
Castillo’s work, displayed at floor level, is composed of pages of an encyclopedia published in the 1970s on the administration of industrial production. Eugenio Valdés Figueroa explains that each page contains graphs, diagrams, statistics, instructions, and other technical information about future products. On top of that surface, Castillo has placed a heterogeneous set of carefully chosen objects of industrial origin, discarded after losing their initial purpose. In conversation with Rodolfo Kronfle Chambers, Castillo declared that his work proposes a “functional ellipsis” space for all the salvaged objects. Such objects can now be read as typographical fossilizations of the encyclopedia and have one sole function: to be used as paperweights. They achieve a new useful life, but their usage and exchange values are deeply affected. In the artist’s words, “their consumption is no longer driven by desire, but by itinerancy and contingency.” Castillo has created a new system of coordinates in which the objects take on a different meaning. (Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, “No black, No white (no and): The Aesthetic of Silence in the 21st Century,” and Ilich Castillo, “Confirmation of events. Ilich Castillo in conversation with Rodolfo Kronfle Chambers,” in No black, No white (no and) On Latin American Art in the 21st Century, pp. 41, 43, 75, 77, 81).
Argentinian, born 1946
Time as Activity (London)
16mm film transfer to video
“Time as Activity (London) is filmed following the original “dogma” of the work Time as Activity, which begins in 1969 with Time as Activity (Dusseldorf): a still camera throughout the entire reel of film, and selecting places that are personal in some way, chosen to represent very different areas of the city. In the case of London, as with the original, there are three shots: first, DALSTON, where you see a huge mixture of cultures. Shot two is at the BATTERSEA POWER PLANT building, currently in disuse, which has remained as a monument-symbol of the city during the “industrial revolution” now rendered obsolete by other means of energy production. And shot three is outside the LIVERPOOL STREET STATION at the end of the workday. As opposed to previous iterations of this work, in this case, according to the artist, “There is no site-specific situation here; the film was produced ‘for export.’ I knew from the start that the film would first be shown in a city very far from London, in Miami. But yes, the film has strong personal references, and, in this sense, you can say that it is site-specific in my mind. The work gradually changed. …at any given moment, I experimented with the ‘filming’ part. Now I went back to the original dogma in which the film part is not so important; the important thing is the concept alone.” (David Lamelas and Inés Katzenstein in Viewpoint / 2011 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2011, pp. 10–11).
Swedish – Argentinian, born 1977
A Conquest Means Not Only Taking Over
Wallpaper, cardboard, stand and slide projection.
A Conquest Means Not Only Taking Over creates a narrative in multiple parts that unfolds the links between the colonial past and its echoes in our own (geopolitical) present. The starting point is “the signature/rubric of Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador who destroyed the Inca Empire and sentenced Atahualpa to execution. When I saw it for the first time it puzzled me by its beauty, its abstraction …by the paradox between how harmless it looked and the power it contained (and the symbolic power it still contains). How is power visualized? How is an image narrated? Does a signature have a voice over? Are the empty spaces between the rubrics the other, the other’s voices and stories? These spaces, where “realism” and “abstraction” are put very close together, is one of my artistic strategies, hoping that the works will make (another) narration, a telling that may fracture hegemonic images, where ambiguity is linked to poetry and doubt is linked to criticality. Where the viewers may engage in varied conversations, in a place behind the image.” (Runo Lagomarsino with Magnolia de la Garza in In Transition / 2010 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2010, p. 27).
Brazilian, born 1988
Pigment prints on paper and aluminum
“I try to be extremely attentive to the productive–or performative– relationships between materiality and meaning that constitute an image. I am concerned not only with the range of registers that specific cameras, papers, lenses, screens, computer hardware, pigments, hanging mechanisms and other photography-related materials can evoke, but also with the whole apparatus that makes possible what images can mean. It is important to understand how images exist and what they can do in the world… I am deeply interested in exploring the diverse functions of images in contemporary scientific discourses. For this project I worked with a scanning electron microscope at the University of Colombia to make images of planarians: hermaphroditic flatworms with an unusual capacity to regenerate and reproduce asexually by fission. Unlike light microscopes, the electron microscope uses a beam of electrons instead of rays of visible light to make high magnification topographical images of a specimen’s surface. I’m very intrigued by the possibilities of signification these images harbor and I’m eager to see what they can do when deployed in contexts that are not predominantly associated with scientific research.” (Felipe Meres by Kaira Cabañas in Liquid Sensibilities / 2016 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2016, pp. 52, 56).
Peruvian, born 1981
Colorless to White
Salt sculpture and ink on paper
In this installation Nakamura turns her attention to the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni. Used as currency in antiquity, salt is her medium of focus. Nakamura studies the economic, geographical, and political implications of the salt trade in Bolivia. “The title of this work is Colorless to White. It comes from a quote by Robert Smithson in his essay, “The Crystal Land,” from 1966. He refers to a mining manual called “Field Book of Common Rocks and Minerals” (1923) by Frederic Brewster Loomis. The phrase is part of the terminology used to describe the properties of a mineral or crystal. Curiously, both salt and ice (I noticed ice is a crystal) are described in the same way: “Ice, H2O, water, specific gravity -92, colorless to white, luster adamantine, transparent on thin edges.” I think the phrase has a poetic dimension, and I like thinking about it in the context of this project. It refers to a process that makes something become visible or material, whether it is something like salt crystallization, or the construction of a border that blocks the view or access to the sea.” (Sandra Nakamura with Sharon Lerner in Liquid Sensibilities / 2016 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2016, p. 60).
Argentinian, born 1978
If these walls could talk
“When I think of doing a show, I start with a work that already exists or some idea related to that particular space and then think of works that spark a conversation with that work and so on… The version of this piece that I [presented] at CIFO is unique and true (not a work in progress but rather a crystallization of a work process and of a thought at a particular point in time). It came from a thought that I had in a European museum and the work that I [presented] at CIFO seeks to emancipate that idea from its own origin, creating a kind of pointless game or a dysfunctional communication machine. The walls of the museum are transformed here into two temporary walls, like those that are built in museums to divide spaces. These walls have holes, and inside those holes are cans that connect randomly to another can on the other wall, like those homemade toy telephones that we would make when we were kids. Due to the large size of the walls, trying to guess which can the person on the other side might be speaking into is almost impossible. Then it is no longer walls standing as witnesses to forgotten narratives but rather narratives that are lost in real time.” (Amalia Pica with Sonia Becce in Viewpoint / 2011 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2011, pp. 43–45).
Guatemalan, born 1978
Styrofoam in bronze casting
“Carpus consists of semi-abstracted forms inspired by the bones in the human wrist. I chose to focus on this group of bones because they are often affected by repetition in work tasks, sometimes resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome… I took advantage of the CIFO commission to experiment at a foundry. After several trials with materials and form, I came to Carpus. The final work consists of eight sculptures, each referencing one carpal bone. The work ties in with my interest in labor and the exploitation of labor. Carpus was carved from expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is a material I have been using since 2011. Contemporary sculpture is often carved from EPS, but it is rarely mentioned in the list of materials when the work is finished. I have been interested in bringing attention to EPS through its material weakness and reactions, such as its melting properties. At the foundry we did tests using the “lost Styrofoam” technique, where bronze is poured into a sand compacted EPS sculpture, thus burning out the EPS and leaving behind the bronze, resulting in objects that were too heavy to handle. Part of what I would like is for Carpus to be played with like a game.” (Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa with Alma Ruiz-Furlán in Intersections (after Lautremont) / 2015 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2015, pp. 84–86).
Mexican, born 1968
Fragments for Human Hands X
In Eduardo Abaroa’s words, this artwork “is an installation made from components of different types of objects. Each work is made using fragments from an object that is specifically designed for human hands, like doorknobs, buttons, handles, balustrades, etc. I cut off the part on each object that means it can carry out its particular function; I leave just the handle of the cup, the handle of a hammer, the steering wheel of a car, etc. Then I assemble all these parts to make a more or less coherent whole. The installation looks at the development of form through the course of technology in our current context: from the hand to a stone for grinding corn, from a hammer or a walking stick to a computer. Fingers and hands are the parameters that determine the form of these objects.” Referring to his interest in sculpture, he states: “I destroy things then put them back together by hand, using consumer society’s detritus as an alternative way of dealing with the materiality of the “system of objects,” to use [Jean] Baudrillard’s term. My approach is to think about sculpture as a hybrid practice of discourse and matter. We’re talking about reconfiguring consumer objects that are presented ideologically as parts of a homogenous and utopian system.” (Eduardo Abaroa with Pablo León de la Barra in Not Me: Subject to Change / 2012 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2012, pp. 22–23).
Mexican, born 1975
Tools for Infinite Monkeys: A striking practical example (and surreptitiously vanished)
Silkscreen on paper and mirror, bunting (twine, acetate), modified typewriter, silver leaf, ceramic, silver dust, vinyl appliqué and audio
Julieta Aranda has given us a clear statement about one of the key aspects of her work: “(…) what matters a lot to my work is the idea of circulation, communication being one of the things being circulated, or an avenue of circulation if you will…. By itself, without circulation, the idea of communication is not so appealing to me.” When referring to Tools for Infinite Monkeys*, she explains that “(…) what intrigues me here is how the idea of producing a text is forced upon symbolic monkeys by a historical collective desire that imagines them both responsible and able to produce a totalizing, all-inclusive body of text. And then to grapple with the results after finally putting real monkeys to the task, how can I understand those obtuse, incomprehensible five pages as an infinite text, a container of textual possibilities, all libraries compressed into five pages that are so dense because they are not anymore about the individual appreciation of a single text, but rather about the rotund meaning of all texts, ever, being together.” (Julieta Aranda with Gilbert Vicario in Not Me: Subject to Change / 2012 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2012, pp. 46-47).
Brazilian, born 1974
Sculpture Garden II
Powdered marble and plastic straws
As Laura Belém declares, “the dialogue with nature, landscape, and the environment appears in my works as an attempt to connect with what surrounds us and often goes unnoticed, or as an intervention in these environments in order to add other tiers of perception to them. This stimulates a new way of looking at, or a new kind of contact, with that which is familiar to us. I believe in the poetic potential of art and I also believe that human beings are part of nature, even though we have greatly distanced ourselves from it. In regard to recreated/invented environments, my intention is to work with reality and fiction within boundaries that are very close and that very often blend. The use of narrative strategies increases the potential meaning of the works and makes themes, such as memory, conscience, and transitoriness, palpable and less abstract.” Regarding her interest in everyday, commonplace things, Belém adds “this arises from a belief that art is not removed from life. (…) The choice of the simple or ordinary element is based on a belief that the human essence, once we transcend the intellect, is simplicity and awareness and that this essence is common to all, reaches beyond the differences, and because of that it can be “shared with anyone.” (Laura Belém with Moacir dos Anjos in Viewpoint / 2011 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2011, pp. 19 – 20).
Brazilian, born 1967
Silence “is an acetate record where one hears the attempts of a sound technician, a boom operator and an assistant director to bring silence to a film set in Paris on the last days of February 2012. It attests to the collective effort of a crew in the process of crafting something and alludes to the effort of any group engaged in common work – a sort of faith that a crew projects onto a ‘thing’ (in this case a film) which has yet to come into being.” Regarding the recording process, Tamar Guimarães explains “(…) I was thinking of accentuating the requests of the crew, the repeated attempts to get the film to happen, by asking for silence and by announcing that recording has started.” According to Guimarães, “(…) the sound also bears the signs of a few things that migrate in false translation: during the shoot, in my ears, they had been shouting ‘Saturn!’ all day, when in fact they were saying ‘Ça tourne’ (it’s rolling). Yet indeed, a sort of planetary dance was evoked by all the bodies in the house, coming from near and afar to be part of an evening shoot. Then, finally, the phonetic truth of ‘the last take on the stairs’ is that it sounds like ‘the last take on the stars’”. (Tamar Guimarães with Amilcar Packer in Not Me: Subject to Change / 2012 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2012, pp. 49-50).
Colombian, born 1951
2-channel video installation
Collection of the artist on loan to the CIFO Art Foundation Collection
As Oscar Muñoz declares, the origin of The Bridge is “the genre of portrait and through it, themes including recognition / knowledge, the forgotten, and the border between reality and fiction.” The project “comprises the design of a series of exhibition and public reference systems of an archive built with the participation of citizens who brought their photographs, taken by street photographers between 1950 and 1970 on the Ortiz Bridge in Cali, Colombia.” Reflecting on the genre of portrait as the key element of this piece, the artist elaborates further on: “(…) there has never been an element so charged with power and recurring evocation such as the genre of portrait. Nonetheless, and because of this phenomenon, absence is also stronger, and that which is forgotten more overwhelming. Through the portrait (the project seeks) a shift from the original to the collective, the reconstruction of a “tale” that departs from its protagonists and the places they inhabit.” (Oscar Muñoz in Shifting Constructs / 2009 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2009, p. 14).
Chilean, born 1948
Quipu Akon One
Quipu Akon One reveals an intrinsic connection between word and text. In a conversation with CIFO, Cecilia Vicuña stated that “the cosmos weaves the infinite, and writing is its reflection. In that book (Palabra e hilo = Word & Thread, 1996), I wrote:
“Word is a thread and the thread is
language. / Non-linear body. /A line
associated with other lines. /A word
once written risks becoming linear, /
but word and thread exist on another
Moreover, this quipu associates the thread of water with the thread of life. Constructed with unspun wool, nothing holds this piece together, symbolizing the fluidity and fragility of water. In Vicuña’s words, “quipus are a ritual act that “ties” one body to other bodies, to the cosmos, and to history. In this moment of absolute emergency—hydrological, ecological, and social—in which cities and towns are being left without water in Chile and in many other places, to dedicate a quipu to the water is to pray, to incite people to stop the destruction of the forests and glaciers where water is born. Quipu Akon One is the harbinger of work yet to come, the gaze of suffering directed at the destruction and death of the snow and mist on which life depends. It isn’t yet a collective work, but it is heading in that direction.” (Cecilia Vicuña with CIFO in An Emphasis on Resistance / 2019 CIFO Grants and Commissions Program Exhibition, 2019, pp. 14 – 16).