‘Problemas de estilo y vasijas de barro’ is Asier Mendizabal’s exploration of the origins of archaeological and ethnographic collections in the 19th century. With a series of works in glass and paper, as well as concrete sculptures, the exhibition overlaps materials, images and histories from distant territories, to offer a reflection on the impulses of comparison, analysis and classification – impulses that shape our perception of pre-Colombian culture, as part of Modernity’s project.
Taking as one of its starting points a historical reflection on the work of Paul Rivet and his participation in the Second Geodesic Mission at the beginning of the 20th century, Mendizabal creates an exhibition architecture in which comparison, classification and the overlaying of cultural and scientific perspectives propose a complex vision on history and the present. The works explore how art history, archaeology, anthropology and ethnography catalogue objects (and people) according to their morphology, age and functionality, following world visions dominant at the time.
Mendizabal is not only looking to question the shape and parameters that classified these objects in the 19th and 20th century, but also the constructions that operate today. Through this, the exhibition looks at the Museum through contrast, comparison and differentiation, in order to make visible and to recognise the dispositives that are used, as well as the multiple gazes and perspectives that are possible in the act of showing and appreciating pre-Colombian objects today. With this exhibition, Museo Casa del Alabado intends to stimulate a critical and analytical gaze both towards Mendizabal’s show and to the permanent collection, in order to understand how these objects, outside of the environment where they were created, acquire multiple meanings and agencies in response to new artistic, stylistic, ideological and institutional criteria.
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