The complex Peruvian imaginary, characterized by the clashing between the age-old Andean culture and the violence, idiosyncrasies and contradictions introduced and fueled by the processes of colonization, are often the basis for the work by Ximena Garrido-Lecca (1980, Lima, Peru). The variety of techniques and resources used by the artist, which include videos, installations and sculptures, in a certain way reflects the impossibility of translating this complexity, of pasteurizing the clashings within the Latin American reality in a pacified or linear work. In recent years, Garrido-Lecca also produced a series of installations characterized by the use of processes of construction or growth that can be observed over time by the public, recovering techniques and materials employed in handicraft, art and architecture throughout Peruvian history.
One of her most emblematic works, Insurgencias botánicas: Phaseolus Lunatus [Botanical Insurgencies: Phaseolus Lunatus] (2017) is an installation in which seedlings of the species Phaseolus lunatus are planted in a hydroponic structure, in a symbolic reactivation of the supposed communication system of the Moche culture, a pre-Incan Peruvian civilization that developed complex irrigation methods and which, according to theories, made use of the spots present on these beans as signs for an ideogrammatic writing system. Through works such as this one, dealing with specific moments or processes in the last 500 years of Peruvian history, Garrido-Lecca paints a unique and poetic portrait of the great transformations, the geographic and social changes, the internal migrations and international exoduses, as well as the perpetuation of the economic dependency of the Latin American countries in relation to their former colonizers.
In the specific environment of the 34th Bienal, Insurgencias Botânicas gained an even more particular significance. The installation was shown for the first time in February 2020, in a solo show marking the opening of the 34th Bienal. With its emphasis on the unending transformation of all living things (from plants to culture), it came to symbolize the curatorial strategy of thinking of an exhibition as a process rather than as something fixed or crystallized. In November of the same year, the installation was part of the group show Vento [Wind], the second stage in the public construction of the Bienal and a moment of collective affirmation of the desire to resist and to keep believing in art and culture despite the despair of the pandemic. The piece will be shown for the last time in September 2021, synthesizing one of the Bienal's central curatorial strategies, based on the conviction that to show the same works more than once, in different contexts and times, is to emphasize that nothing remains the same: no work of art, nor those who look at it, nor the world that surrounds it.
Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).