Friday, May 28, 2010

LIVE FROM NEW YORK - Barry Friedman Ltd - Kukuli Velarde

 New York – May 24 – Barry Friedman Ltd. – Kukuli Velarde: Patrimonio.  While I was viewing the Wendell Castle exhibition at Barry Friedman Ltd., I stumbled across these terracotta figures by Peruvian contemporary artist, Kukuli Verlade. Though not officially still on show, you can still see them in one of the rooms of the Chelsea gallery. Inspired by pre-Columbian terracotta figures, Velarde's Plunder Me Baby sculptures reveal folk tradition, evoke histories of ornament and craft, and disrupt normal aesthetic hierarchies. Removed from their natural environment and installed as if in an anthropological museum, these figurative characters appear as though awakened for the first time. Each figure exhibits strong reactions to their new surroundings including fear, disdain, and aggressive anger. With pejorative slurs as titles, such as Chola Puteadora, Grabby!! Needs to Be Put in Her Place, or Méndiga Perra Autoctona, Bites, Velarde imbues these “plundered” artifacts with references to the struggles of indigenous populations as a result of European colonization.

Kukuli Velarde.    Velarde re-casts these appropriated figures as self-portraits as a means of defiantly reclaiming their ownership while giving them new meaning and context. 
Above: Mortiferous Indianus Zopilotense – Be careful, She is Deadly and Pacharatense Indiansis Chancay – The One Next to Her, Best Friend.
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