Palimpsestus: Image & Memory surveys the (main) artistic trends and visual culture that have developed in Latin America in the second half of the Twentieth Century. It explores art movements from abstraction to new figuration, through an experimental curatorial exercise based on antagonistic and anachronistic visual essays. Palimpsestus aims to become ‘a posteriori’ and empirical source of interpretation and critical thinking.
Washington, DC: The Organization of American States (OAS) AMA | Art Museum of the Americas, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the OAS, and the Mexican Cultural Institute, present Palimpsestus: Image and Memory, an exhibition of contemporary work intermingling with modern and contemporary work of the OAS art collection, curated by Alejandro de Villota Ruiz, an independent curator closely connected with the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston as part of the critical documents digital network project International Center of the Arts of the Americas, ICAA
Palimpsestus: Image & Memory surveys the (main) artistic trends and visual cultures that have developed in Latin America in the second half of the 20th Century. It explores art movements from abstraction to new figuration, through an experimental curatorial exercise based on anachronistic and antagonistic visual essays. Taking its methodological frame from Aby Warburg’s Atlas Mnemosyne and from Harald Szeemann’s catalyst exhibitions, Palimpsestus aims to become a posteriori and an empirical source of interpretation and critical thinking.
Palimpsestus is a practice stemming from the scarcity of paper as a good. For fifteen centuries, old ideas were literally erased from manuscripts, replaced with new ideas, often from economic necessity. The term can also be appropriated to conceptualize the relativity and interrelation of (art) narratives and aesthetic discourses.
The seventy artworks on display, produced between 1900 and 2014, include more than 30 artists from ten different countries. They are drawn from Colección memoria, assembled around artistic activisms by exhibition curator Alejandro de Villota Ruiz, and a selection of iconic pieces from AMA’s permanent collection. Palimpsestus, in line with the broader mission of this museum, recognizes and delves into the socially constructive role that the arts have played in fostering democracy and freedom of expression at intense historical moments of social and political change.
Three axes of the curatorial script deconstruct artistic linear chronologies and geographical artistic paradigms, in an attempt to discover the primitive traces that remain invisible along the surface of our contemporary visual culture. Firstly, mainstream aesthetics are introduced in A(rt)nachronism, followed by two subsequent curatorial universes, The Bestiary, and Diaspora: Reconstructing Identities, which operate both as parallel and underlying imaginaries to canonic views.
Palimpsestus: Image and Memory is part of AMA’s exhibitions program showcasing contemporary artists of OAS member countries. AMA is part of the OAS’s Secretariat for Hemispheric Affairs, and its work is based on the principle that the arts are transformative for individuals and communities, as visual components reflecting the four pillars of the OAS: democracy, human rights, security and development.
Exhibition Artists: Yolanda Andrade, Claudia Andujar, José Balmes, Gracia Barrios, Roser Bru, Carlos Cruz-Diez, José Luis Cuevas, Ernesto Deira, Juan Downey, Paz Errazuriz, Muriel Hasbun, Graciela Iturbide, Gyula Kosice, Humberto Marquez, Roberto Matta, Leopoldo Mendez, Pedro Meyer, José Clemente Orozco, Marta Palau, José Guadalupe Posada, Vicente Rojo, Roberto Schettini, Javier Silva Meinel, Donald Sultan, Joaquin Torres García, Jorge de la Vega, Osvaldo Vigas, Javier de Villota
Alejandro de Villota Ruiz is a cultural entrepreneur, independent curator, and artist, and a collaborator with the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston as part of the critical documents digital network project International Center of the Arts of the Americas, ICAA. His main multidisciplinary research lines relate Art History with Economics, Memory, Exile, Mexican 68 and Chilean 60’ & 70’s. Currently enrolled in the Art History PhD program of Complutense University, in Madrid, Spain. He lives and works between Spain and México.
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