Tuesday, 18 September 2018 16:14

September 18, 2018 | The Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) Presents Strategic Immersions: First Stop










October 6 - November 28, 2018

Centro Cultural Metropolitano (MetQUITO), Quito, Ecuador


Photo: Courtesy Centro Cultural Metropolitano, MetQUITO.





Quito, Ecuador (September 18, 2018) – The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) is pleased to present Strategic Immersions: First Stop, the exhibition for the 2018 CIFO Grants & Commissions program. Strategic Immersions: First Stop, featuring new works by the nine recipients of the 2018 Grants & Commissions awards, will be on view at the Centro Cultural Metropolitano (MetQUITO) in Quito, Ecuador, from October 6 – November 28, 2018. This marks the first year that the CIFO Grants & Commissions exhibition will be presented as an international traveling exhibition. Strategic Immersions: First Stop is a CIFO exhibition organized by Centro Cultural Metropolitano (MetQUITO).


Strategic Immersions: First Stop features new works by artists representing seven countries across Latin America, and divided into three categories: the Achievement Award recipient, Argentinean artist Horacio Zabala; Mid-Career Artists—Magdalena Atria (Chile) and Lázaro Saavedra (Cuba); and Emerging Artists—Fredman Barahona (Nicaragua), Gala Berger (Argentina), Víctor del Moral (Mexico), Rubén D´Hers (Venezuela), Laura Huertas Millán (Colombia), and Daniela Serna Gallego (Colombia).


“For this, the 16th edition of the Grants & Commissions Program, CIFO is proud to support such a strong and diverse array of voices in contemporary Latin American art,” said Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, founder of CIFO. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Centro Cultural Metropolitano de Quito to present Strategic Immersions: First Stop, and are looking forward to engaging deeply with the art community of Quito and beyond.”


“On this first stop, the works come together as strategic immersions that reveal other ways to delve into topics that echo collective anxieties, revealing correspondences in the space we inhabit and allowing for an awareness of this space,” said exhibition organizer Pily Estrada Lecaro. “They plunge into the world so that we can shed its certainty and remain on alert.”


Horacio Zabala (Argentina) is the winner of the 2018 Achievement Award. Zabala’s work draws on the lineage of conceptualism, one of the essential elements of the Latin American art scene. For Zabala, conceiving art as a system of signs by rehearsing works as ideas, questions, and answers, has been a discursive strategy for almost fifty years. With Hipótesis para 25 Signos y 17 Monocromos (Hypothesis for 25 Signs and 17 Monochromes), Zabala gives continuity to his combinations of monochromes and mathematical signs in the manner of linking two systems belonging to different categories. In his own words: “Relating differences does not mean reducing the complexity, it rather means uncovering secret encounters. Intuiting minimal possible relationships is to perceive much more than what is actually seen. Less is not more, but much more”.


Mid-career winners Lázaro Saavedra (Cuba) and Magdalena Atria (Chile) have throughout their careers achieved an aesthetic symbiosis between global and local, tradition and rupture. In Mártires (Martyrs), Saavedra shows a conceptual vocation of popular lineage in Cuban art using quotation and parody as artistic languages. The historical irony is revealed with the crisis of the old paradigms of the revolutionary hero, whose ideals are sacrificed today in the Caribbean island for economic survival.


From a very personal perspective, Magdalena Atria uses wall painting with plasticine to deliver a renewed vision of abstraction, another language widely developed in modern Latin American history. In Cogollo de Toronjil (Lemon Balm Shoot) the Chilean artist interweaves the geometric and the organic, interested in redefining abstraction “through a close and direct connection with the world, given by the material and the manufacturing process.”


The Emerging Award winners’ works represent the variety of artistic discourses by young artists in Latin America. The Germany-based Venezuelan artist Rubén D’hers proposes Faint Music, a sound installation exploring the duality of music and noises produced by appliances and gadgets from the home environment. Victor del Moral (Mexico) merges performance and installation in paLíndro, a live installation about the concept of text and its graphic, sculptural, choreographic and sonorous dimensions. Del Moral builds a visual palindrome that plays with reflections and duplication of geometries and letters. He is devoted to “destabilizing (risking) all conventional logics of writing, disrupting the order of objects or putting a speech at risk.”


In a different way, the Colombian artist Daniela Serna is attracted to the behaviors of the reading processes in contemporary society. Perífrasis (Periphrase) is a machine created by the artist to explain how the immediacy of information and the constant flow of content provoke the self-annihilation of the linguistic system.


Other artists present the social role of art through their activism and criticism. Machete Dress, by Nicaraguan Fredman Barahona, functions as a reminder that queer experiences have always challenged the construction of a revolutionary liberation process of his country to its core. A performance art piece that takes the form of a dress constructed of machetes, the piece co-opts a symbol of Nicaraguan working class liberation to highlight the erasure of LGBTIQ identities from Latin American revolutionary narratives.


Alianzas de la Resistencia (Resistance Alliances), an installation by Gala Berger (Argentina), is set up as a human-scale interactive board game meant to rewrite history. “Narrating a history that has been omitted by sexist and patriarchal culture means invoking the strength and power of representation, by playing a game to overthrow the normalized forms of violence against women and normative models of gender and sexuality.


Espejismos (Mirages), by Laura Huertas Millán (Colombia) is a multichannel video-installation that critically explores the multiple functions of coca in the Colombian Amazon. This work, halfway between cinema and video art, reveals the creative strategy of its author: “on the one hand, ethnography becomes fiction and, on the other hand, fiction is enriched by anthropology.




About the CIFO Grants & Commissions Program


The CIFO Grants & Commissions Program offers emerging, mid-career and established contemporary Latin American artists the opportunity to develop and present new work to international audiences. To date CIFO has awarded more than 120 artists and dedicated over $1.5 million in funds through the program. Each year, artists are nominated by CIFO’s Honorary Advisory Committee, which is comprised of leading art professionals, curators and artists from Latin America, the United States and Europe. After a rigorous review process, the winners are chosen by the Selection Committee and ratified by the CIFO Board of Directors. The program has been known to springboard its recipients to the next level of their careers.


About CIFO


Ella Fontanals-Cisneros established the non-profit Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) in 2002. The foundation’s mission is to support and foster cultural understanding and educational dialog among Latin American artists and global audiences. CIFO serves as a platform for emerging, mid-career and established Latin American artists through the Grants & Commissions Program, the CIFO Collection, and other related art and cultural projects in the United States of America and internationally. 


For more information about the exhibitions and other programs, please visit cifo.org, and follow CIFO on Facebook, Instagram and  Twitter.


About Centro Cultural Metropolitano – (MetQUITO)


The Metropolitan Cultural Center of Quito, MetQUITO (Centro Cultural Metropolitano, MetQUITO), is a cultural institution of the capital city of Ecuador, founded in 2000. MetQUITO includes spaces such as the Alberto Mena Caamaño Historical Museum, the Municipal Public Library Federico González Suárez, and five gallery halls dedicated to hosting national and international temporary exhibitions of art, social sciences, and history. It also holds an important collection of local cultural heritage, including art and objects from antiquity to the present day.


MetQUITO is housed in a historic building built in the 17th century by the Jesuit priests (Colegio Máximo Jesuíta), which later housed a military center (Cuartel General de Lima), and the first public university in the country (Universidad Central del Ecuador). Located in Quito’s historic downtown area, MetQUITO is one of the most frequented cultural centers in the city, welcoming about 700,000 visitors per year.



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