Whose Vestiges Subsist brings together six artists working between the U.S. and their countries of origin: Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Chile. The title of the exhibition refers to Jean Baudrillard’s text, Simulacra and Simulation: “It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire, but our own. The desert of the real itself.” Baudrillard recounts the story by Jorge Luis Borges in which imperial cartographers make a map so immense that it covers the entire empire at a one-to-one scale with the territory underlying it. When the map begins to fall apart, the citizens of the empire mourn its deterioration—the real becomes fragments of the map with the transformed territory that once lay below.
Throughout the Americas there is a continued struggle between colonial/neoliberal order and Indigenous cultures. Political and economic conflict continues to function as a catalyst for the movement of bodies, labor, and consumer goods. The exhibition pulls from a constellation of references that chart patterns drawn from a range of geographic and cultural contexts, such as pigeon races in Old Havana, the spiritual forces of a curandera (healer) in El Salvador, and the paths of hurricanes moving through Caribbean waters—haptic images that are factual and ethereal. Relics such as devalued currency, found wood, cheap plastic, waterfall lamps, and a pigeon egg, function as reminders of past sites.
The exhibition acknowledges the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center’s mission of fostering arts and culture amongst immigrant and local communities in New York City.
Participating artists: Esperanza Mayobre, Frances Gallardo, Carlos Jaramillo, Palo Cháán (Patricia Domínguez and Guadalupe Maravilla) and Òscar Moisés Díaz.
Curated by Alva Mooses & Florencia Escudero
The Clemente | LES Gallery | 107 Suffolk Street, 1st floor | NYC 10002