The myth of "El Dorado" is the protagonist of the new exhibition at Fundación Proa

May 11, 2023 | nadiaevangelina

"El Dorado", at the cultural space in the neighborhood of La Boca, presents works and worldviews that expose the problem of natural resource exploitation that America experienced once it was discovered. From installations to videos, golden cobs covered with bullets, tires with golden drawings, and a giant golden potato, these pieces are part of the exhibition that proposes a journey through the colonial past and contemporary works. The group of works questions and proposes reflections for a dialogue located in the four rooms that serve as small passages and drifts.
Carolina Caycedo. "Patrón Mono: Ríos Libres, Pueblos Vivos", 2018/2022
The proposal revolves around the myth of "El Dorado", that mythical region that was speculated to extend from the Colombian gold-bearing rivers, passing through the Brazilian Amazon or the heights of Cusco, in Peru. Europeans in the 15th century believed that this place possessed inextinguishable riches, such as endless gold. Consequently, the search for El Dorado involved the enslavement of native people who would guide the European explorers to the city of gold. It is believed that this area was never found but we do know that the gold in the Americas was plundered and taken on ships to Europe. Silver, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and cocoa also suffered the same fate.

Based on documentary research carried out together with the Americas Society of New York and the Amparo Museum of Puebla, Mexico, with works and cosmovisions of Latin American artists, from Victor Grippo to Mathias Goeritz, Stefan Brüggemann, and Laura Vinci, among others, representative of the "diversity of foods, materials, and riches with which America changed the world". Thus, textiles, paintings, chocolate sculptures, samples of soil from different parts of the country, and even many small silver flies still on the wall make up this exhibition.

The journey begins in the first room with the sensorial experience of the video installation "Patrón mono", by Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo, and "La balsa", by Clorindo Testa, in play with a small boat by Grippo, which disguises a golden egg. Then comes the monochromatically gilded room with Vinci's aerial installation of gilded paper, the tapestry by Brazilian Leda Catunda, and the ecclesiastical vestments with gold threads from the 18th century, among other works.

Clorindo Testa. "El espejito dorado", 1990.
Víctor Grippo. "El dorado - huevo de oro", 1990
Leda Catunda. "El dorado II", 2018
Olga de Amaral. "Estela 35, 39, 40", 2007
The third room introduces the story of the myth of "El Dorado" with Teran's video. Also on display are Teresa Pereda's lands as small mounds arranged on rectangular cartography, Andrés Bedoya's silver flies, Betsabeé Romero's tires intervened with gold drawings, or Santiago Montoya's chocolate sculptures, in dialogue with the silver coins found in a time capsule on the side of the Pyramid of May, and the large wings of the same precious metal.

Finally, the foreign debt that is once again being discussed in New York at the IMF headquarters with Argentine representatives returns through the exhibition of Marta Minujin's installation, who pays the debt with corn and tomatoes to Andy Warhol. The public will have the opportunity to reproduce this now iconic photo as the protagonist.

Teresa Pereda. "Habla la tierra - Territorio posible", 1993-2023.
Marta Minujín & Andy Warhol. "Pago de la deuda externa argentina a Andy Warhol", 1985.
Iván Argote. "Batata", 2017
The exhibition achieves a very powerful contemporary value, since the character of "raw material" to be exported (plundered) by foreign capitalists is repeated in the north of Argentina with the lithium deposits, or in the south with the gas already handed over to multinationals.

"El Dorado"
Location: PROA Foundation, Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 1929, C1169 CABA, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Opening Date: 1st April 2023 
End Date: 8th August 2023
Working hours: Thursday-Sunday: 12pm to 19 pm
Official website: https://www.proa.org/esp/

Artists: 
Iván Argote
Andrés Bedoya 
Stefan Brüggemann
Fernando Bryce 
Tania Candiani 
Leda Catunda
Carolina Caycedo 
Martín Chambí
Benvenuto Chavajay Ixitetla
Olda de Amaral
Sandra Gamarra
Ximena Garrido-Lecca 
Mathias Goeritz
Victor Grippo
Leopoldo Maler   
Mazanett & Quiroga
Marta Minujín 
Santiago Montoya
Estela Pereda 
Teresa Pereda
Betsabeé Romero  
Florencia Sadir     
Evi Tártari 
Pedro Terán
Clorindo Testa
Gastón Ugalde 
Laura Vinci 

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