Antes de América. Original Sources in Modern Culture is the new group exhibition by Vera Matos at the Fundación Juan March in collaboration with Casado Santapau Gallery (Madrid).
6 October 2023 – 10 March 2024
This exhibition illustrates a long process based on sources that go back long before Europeans baptized an entire continent as America: that of the reinterpretation, in modern and contemporary culture, of the forms and meanings of ancient civilizations and indigenous cultures, from Alaska to Patagonia.
The exhibition begins in the 18th century, documenting scientific expeditions and archaeological discoveries, the formation of the first collections and historicist architecture. It continues with the Americanist dimension of identity that, at the beginning of the 20th century, reinterpreted pre-Columbian knowledge and languages in materials for school education and gave rise to schools of arts and crafts, transforming graphic design, literature, theater, film, music and fashion. It also addresses the plastic proposals that, in the middle of the last century, recovered or invented “the ancestral”, when new “traveling artists” ventured to America and explored it, collected their findings and recorded them with drawings and photographs that impregnated their own works.
The exhibition extends to the present day, revealing how the Amerindian paradigm throughout the world seems to show no signs of tiring: it survives in the conscious use of geometry and color, in the critical or ironic quotation of the past, in performance, postmodern architectures with indigenous roots, the kitschy intentions, the refinement of conceptual art, the new artistic behaviors and the sophisticated renewal of millenary arts and crafts, now charged with new political-social and aesthetic meanings.