Peruvian Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia presents COSMIC TRACES

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Peruvian Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia presents COSMIC TRACES
La Biennale di Venezia Peruvian Pavilion Cosmic Traces by Roberto Huarcaya.

VENICE.- The 60th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale of Venice will take place from Saturday 20 April to Sunday 24 November, 2024, curated by Adriano Pedrosa under the title FOREIGNERS EVERYWHERE.

At the Peruvian Pavilion, the chosen project to embody the essence of the country is entitled COSMIC TRACES by the esteemed artist Roberto Huarcaya (1959 | Lima, Peru). This exhibition is curated by Alejandro Len Cannock (1980 | Lima, Peru), and benefits from the curatorial insights of Joan Fontcuberta (1955 | Barcelona, Spain), Andrea Jsch (1973 | Santiago, Chile), and Amanda Antunes (1986 | So Paulo, Brazil).

The exhibition project introduces an installation that harmoniously brings together a collection of remarkable works: A monumental photogram meticulously conceived by artist Roberto Huarcaya in the heart of the Amazon rainforest –precisely within the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, nestled in the Tambopata jungle of Peru. Against the backdrop of this lush setting, Huarcaya unfolded a 30-meter photosensitive paper roll beneath a towering palm tree during a storm, allowing the lightning to etch its imprint onto the paper during the night. This photogram was revealed and fixed in-situ in a set-up darkroom amidst the jungle, utilizing water from nearby rivers. Notably, the liquid remnants from the development journeyed to Lima, ensuring environmentally responsible disposal. Complementing this visual masterpiece, a sculpture of a canoe by the talented artist Antonio Pareja (1953 | Lima, Peru), and a piano composition envisioned by Mariano Zuzunaga (1953 | Lima, Peru).

The proposal emerges at the crossroads of photography, installation, and land art, challenging our approach to (re)presenting the environment. It serves as an immersive, fleeting ritual sanctuary designed to awaken consciousness, spark imagination, and promote meditation. By doing so, it encourages viewers to reconsider their surroundings with a sensitive and non- instrumental perspective.

COSMIC TRACES by Alejandro Len Cannock

For more than a decade, photographer Roberto Huarcaya has roamed Peru, creating monumental photograms that – in the junction of photography, installation and land art – question our way of (re)presenting and comprehending our environment. Both the photograms (large format, singular, abstract, material) and the production process (experimental, immersive, heuristic, unhurried) evince a creative method that consciously operates against what Flusser describes as the programme of the photographic apparatus. Huarcaya’s oeuvre runs counter to Western modernity’s extraction project, which encourages using “advanced” technologies (such as A.I.) to employ images (and their users) as a means to its ends: knowing, controlling, exploiting and consuming the world.

Huarcaya, on the contrary, reclaims a craft, one that acknowledges a time/space idiosyncrasy, admits that matter resists and accepts experience as irreducible. He operates as a medium, embracing, in Rosa’s words, the world’s unavailability, bringing together heterogenous elements (light, dust, water, plants, insects) on a photosensitive surface to elicit traces (images). This method – which begets an organic (Deleuze would say, rhizomatic) relation of forces between materials, circumstances, the artist and his collaborators – expresses a humble acknowledgment of existence as uncertain (foreign). Huarcaya’s critical-creative stance questions the power modern humans have claimed on/over the world, restoring to the cosmos the agency denied by Western culture (defined, according to Descola, by a naturalist ontology, and, to Honneth, by a politics of reification).

Through the assemblage of the works (a photogram of a tree, a sculpture of a canoe and a composition for piano), and of the pavilion’s structural and environmental elements, the installation Cosmic Traces,

conceived especially for the Biennale di Venezia – 2024, places spectators in an undetermined experiential space/time, challenging their attention habits (perceptive, emotional and cognitive), usually adapted to the imperatives of the neoliberal system. Rather than a representational artistic proposal (it does not talk about this or that), it is performative: its presence creates an immersive, transitive event. It transforms the space into a ritual haven to spark awareness, stoke the imagination and encourage meditation, inviting spectators.

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