Posts Tagged ‘lima biennial’

Selva Virgen at Casa Inmobiliaria in Lima, Peru

July 26, 2012

I have some photos up in a group show in Lima called Selva Virgen, Salvaje y Sensual. It’s currently up at the Casa Inmobiliaria located on Javier Prado Oeste and Los Castanos (on the off chance you’re in Lima). The title translates as “Virgin Jungle: Salvage and Sensual.” The photos mostly deal with the culture and people of the  Amazon region in Peru. In the rest of Peru, the region and especially it’s largest city Iquitos is perceived as sensual and libertine, a sort of Brazil-in-Peru. A lot of the photos in the exhibit deal with this one way or another.

Here’s the promo card for the exhibit:

Selva Virgen promo image

The show features ten photographers and two painters. It was curated by the painter Christian Bendayan who is from Iquitos and whom I’ve blogged about before. It’s a real honor to be included in this group and my only regret is not being able to be in Lima to check it out. Fortunately, thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to piece together some random shots, which I’ll share here to give you a sense of the show.

Casa Inmobiliaria, site of Selva Virgen show in Lima, Peru (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

The show is housed in a old mansion that will be demolished soon for a luxury high rise. In the meantime, the space is functioning as an art exhibition space (and sales office). Back in March, when I was in Lima, I blogged about a show there called Miscelanea (todo se queda en casa).

Here’s some work by the different photographers in the show:

Adrian Portugal

Adrian Portugal (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

Adrian Portugal of Supay Fotos, features images of female dancers and it looks like they are over-painted with black-light paint. This neon paint is used a lot in popular bars and discos in Iquitos.

Adrian Portugal (photo courtesy of

(photo courtesy of

I love the way the paint drips off this photo and glows under the UV light. Again, it’s a shame I can’t go to the show.

Antonio Escalante

Antonio Escalante shows photographs of older women (maybe prostitutes?) in dark interior spaces. In addition to the photos, I like the frames and the colorful wallpaper. In general, there was a lot of thought put into the presentation of the photos and the use of the space.

Antonio Escalante (photo courtesy of

Antonio Escalante (photo courtesy of

Sandro Aguilar has pictures of naked women in the forest and a few pictures taken with a holga that I quite like. I’d love to see more but he doesn’t seem to have a website. Update: he does have a website.

Sandro Aguilar

Sandro Aguilar (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

Sandro Aguilar (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

Rodrigo Rodrich photographs various indigenous groups in the forest with a softbox. I believe these were originally for a magazine assignment. They are nice group arrangements. I think photographing groups is next to impossible so I always appreciate it when I see it done well.

Rodrigo Rodrich

Rodrigo Rodrich (photo courtesy of

Musuk Nolte shows very expressive, black and white pictures of boys with water splashing all around them. I seem to recall these having something to do with the insane asylum in Iquitos, but I may be confusing these with other photographs.

Musuk Nolte (photo courtesy of

Musuk Nolte (photo courtesy of

Gihan Tubbeh’s photos feature female erotic dancers.

Gihan Tubbeh (photo courtesy of

Marcos Lopez, from Argentina, features several photographs from the main cemetery in Iquitos, altho it looks like they were instead painted on the wall for the exhibit, which looks really cool.

Marcos Lopez

Marcos Lopez (photo courtesy of

Morfi Jimenez does black and white portraits, often with flash, which he then colors-in, in the mode of Felice Beato or Jan Saudek (the promo-card image for the show is his).

Morfi Jimenez (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

Here’s a gallery of Jimenez’s Iquitos images (since they don’t seem to be on his website).

Carlos Sanchez Giraldo is showing this series of three, round panels that look like they are painted. Sanchez also organized the Retratos Pintados show that I really liked back in March.

Carlos Sanchez Giraldo (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

Carlos Sanchez Giraldo

I’m in the show too 🙂

This is actually my first curated group show, so I’m really pleased. The work and the installations look amazing. I’m just sad I can’t be in Lima to see the show. I’m showing a selection of portraits that I made last year in Iquitos.

My photos (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

My photos (photo courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

Carlos below his photo (courtesy of Carlos Pacaya)

That’s Carlos, one of the guys I photographed, standing below his photo in the show. He lives in Lima now, so he was able to attend the opening (and post a lot of these pictures to Facebook, not to mention give me permission to post them here). I haven’t put any of this work up on my website yet. I was in Iquitos again this year and made a ton more portraits which I haven’t been able to scan yet. I do have the photos from last year scanned but I’ve been waiting to do a more final edit. Still, here’s a few of my portraits that were in the show.




Here’s a full list of the participating photographers (with links, where I found them): Antonio Escalante, Musuk Nolte, Adrián Portugal, Morfi Jimenez, Rodrigo Rodrich, Marcos LĂłpez, Gihan Tubbeh, Sandro Aguilar, JosĂ© Ashuco Araujo, Carlos Sánchez Giraldo and Luis Sakiray.

FOLI – Museo de Fotografia de Lima

April 10, 2012

There’s a lot going on these days with photography in Lima. There will soon be a museum dedicated to photography in the city, FOLI (Museo de Fotografia de Lima). They don’t have a permanent home yet but they are very active in public outreach activities. For the last three weeks they’ve set up four shipping containers in a  busy park and organized various activities around the site.

FOLI set-up in Parque Kennedy in Miraflores

FOLI set-up in Parque Kennedy in Miraflores

Exhibit by Alinka Echeverria

As part of the installation there was an exhibit of work, The Road to Tepeyac by Alinka Echeverria, showing religious pilgrims in Mexico. A shipping container does not make a great exhibit space but I will say that a ton of people saw this exhibit by dint of being in a heavily trafficked park. Apart from the exhibit, there were lots of ongoing activities, the nicest of which were outdoor, evening slide shows (Lima’s late summer climate being perfect for outdoor stuff in the evening).

FOLI’s facebook page has more photos of the installation and ongoing updates about their activities.

Here’s a video from Lensculture about FOLI

Walterio Iraheta & The Architecture of Remittances

April 9, 2012

The Spanish cultural center in Lima is hosting a show about the architecture of Remittances (Arquitectura de Remesas). Organized by El Salvadoran artist Walterio Iraheta, the show features photographs of houses in Central America built with money sent home by relatives working in the United States.

Arquitectura de Remesas

This project looks at  9 different communities, three each in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, with large emmigrant populations and the houses built with money sent home. The project seems to be an outgrowth of Iraheta’s series, Farway Brother Style, with there being a lot of overlap in both.

The houses mostly seem to follow local contemporary vernacular styles (with the volume turned up to 11), although there are several houses that look as if plucked out of some Southern California subdivision, suggesting a difussion of style (the pseudo-spanish inflections of California residential arquitecture is a topic that will be left for another post).

Southern California style house in Arquitectura de Remesas

There is a certain off-the-shelf quality to the photos. They are OK but clearly subservient to the broader idea of the exhibit and the social phenomena of Central American migration to the United States. They lack beauty of say, Eduardo Del Valle and Mirta Gomez’s series From the Ground Up, on houses in the Yucatan (a 20+ year project). Still, I love these sorts of projects.

Most fascinating for me was this panorama of San Mateo Ixtatán in Guatemala. It, literally, moves beyond the individual houses and shows the broader context of these houses within their communities.

Panorama of San Mateo Ixtatán (click to embiggen, it's a really cool image)

Looking at the above photo, I was reminded of San Gimignano with its medieval towers (a result of similar dynamics of new wealth and social status being reflected architecturally).

San Gimignano


Feria de Libros in Lima

April 5, 2012

The same Feria de Libros that I blogged about last year came to Lima a couple of weeks ago as part of the ongoing Photography Biennial. The feria, which is run by Argentine artist Julieta EscardĂł, features small, independently published books, mostly from photographers in Argentina, although this edition included several books by Peruvian photographers.

Feria de Libros in Lima

Feria de Libros in Lima

The fair was held at the Centro de la Imagen. Unlike the version in Buenos Aires, here, none of the books were for sale. It was a bit like an Alexandrian library only, instead of copying scrolls of papayrus, I sat there with my digital camera snapping photos of pages from books that I liked.

Here’s a few:

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde was my favorite book. It documents various decaying buildings from the 19th century and before in Lima’s historic core.

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Something that I find interesting about both Lima and Buenos Aires is that each, with over a third of their respective countrys’ population, dominate all aspects industry, culture, politics and finance. It’s like each city is New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington all rolled into one. Depending on where you go  you can find elements that resonate with each. In the case of Lima, new development has shunned the historic core and a bounce-back wave of gentrification has yet to occur. In this situation, there’s a huge number of historic buildings which sit in a rather shabby state. Alvarado’s book does an execellent job of documenting both the beauty of these spaces, their inhabitants, and the tragedy of their decay. Also, the book dummy on view was really wonderfully printed. I hope it gets published.

Lucila Heinberg’s (Argentina) book Hacia recounts her journey in through China. Using expired film, the photos show a very personal, intimate view of her experiences in China.

Lucila Heinberg - Hacia

Lucila Heinberg - Hacia

Lucila Heinberg - Hacia

Lucila Heinberg - Hacia

Galeria Centrico has a small online gallery of this work. I also blogged about Heinberg’s series Dormidos last year.

David Mansell-Moullin’s book Lines in the Sand looks at peripheral settlements in Lima and how they sit on the landscape.

David Mansell-Moullin - Lines in the Sand

David Mansell-Moullin - Lines in the Sand

The subject matter is similar to Musuk Note’s Decierto series which I blogged about recently but is less abstract, more into the nuts and bolts of how these plots of land get developed by their inhabitants. Mansell-Moullin’s website has a nice slideshow of the work and he’s also got a blog detailing a lot of his work process.

Futuramic by Aldo Paparella (great name!) features lucious black and white photographs of retro-futuristic automobiles from the 1950s.

Aldo Paparella - Futuramic

Aldo Paparella - Futuramic

I got really excited to see that Martin Weber’s Ecos del Interior has been published by Ediciones Lariviere. I hope this makes it to the US so I can get a copy.

Martin Weber - Ecos del Interior

Italian photojournalist Myriam Meloni has a book, Fragil, documenting the social decay resulting from paco use in Buenos Aires (paco is their version of crack).

Myriam Meloni - Fragil

Myriam Meloni - Fragil

Myriam Meloni - Fragil

There sems to be a whole sub-genre of photographers documenting their grandparent’s homes. I suppose the combination of nostalgia + access is irrisistible. By my count, there were four books dealing with this theme at the book fair, the nicest of which was Bulnes by Luciana Betesh.

Luciana Betesh - Bulnes

Luciana Betesh - Bulnes

Luciana Betesh - Bulnes

There were a ton more books, of course. It’s a great fair and my only complaint is that it isn’t held more often and in more places.

Miscelánea (todo se queda en casa)

March 31, 2012

The most diverse exhibit I’ve seen so far in the Lima Photography Biennial has been the show, Miscelánea (todo se queda en casa). The show was organized by curator and critic Jorge Villacorta. He inviated 30 odd artists to create works that would be shown in a 1940s mansion in the swanky neighborhood of San Isidro that will soon be demolished to make way for an apartment tower. A lot of the works deal in various ways with nostalgia, the past, and the architecture of the site.

Casa Inmobiliari

The show is being sponsored by the real estate developer of the property. The crazy zebra design on the house’s exterior is actually their’s, and not one of the works of art. Presumably they feel this design will make the house (which they are using as a sales office prior to the commencement of construction) more visible but, isn’t the point of zebra stripping meant to be a form of camoflage?

Interior hall

Entering the house you come into a large, light filled hall dominated by a large boat-like structure. While this show is technically part of the photography biennial, many, if not most, of the works are mixed media or have nothing to do with photography (not that there’s anything wrong with that).


As you wander through the house, every nook and cranny of the sprawling masnion is filled with art, including the bathrooms and closets. It made visiting feel a bit like a treasure hunt. I combed through each floor, making sure I didn’t miss anything.

Art in the closet

One of the rooms was darkened and had various projectors showing family vacation slides from several decades past. I liked how the vintage photos looked on the vintage (and highly textured) wall paper. That’s my hand shadow there in the picture:

Slide projection

This one room had cyanotypes on the wall.


They also had various objects scattered on the floor, also blue:

blue objects on the floor

dyptich by Flavia Gandolfo

I really liked these pictures by Flavia Gandolfo wherein she doodles a small, subtle element in the second of otherwise identical pictures. The picture on the right has a couple of race cars in the oncoming lanes.

I wish I could identify more of the artists in the show. Nothing was labeled. Instead, there was an architectural layout plan that was available at the entrance. I was a bit confused by it and only realized after I left the show that my flyer only had the first floor.

Arts website limagris made a walk-through video the night of the opening. It’s a good way to see the space as well as some more art, including some giant photos of naked women that were pasted on the bottom of the outdoor swimming pool.

Retratos Pintados – Painted Portraits and the Lima Photography Biennial

March 20, 2012

I’m very lucky to be in Lima right now because kicking off this week is Lima’s first ever Photography Biennial. As part of the event there are over 30 official shows, about half a dozen of which opened last night. My first stop was at a show of painted photo portraits entitled “Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana” (Visual Memory: the Illuminated Portrait and Daily Life). The exhibit, which is curated by Carlos Sánchez Giraldo and  SofĂ­a Velásquez Núñez contains painted photo portraits from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Installation view of "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

The wall text mentions that the curators were inspired to mount this show because they themselves had grown up with the constant gaze of these portraits (of grandparents, great grandparents) in their houses. Painted portraits were very common across Latin America. The involved painting directly on black and white photos. They have this weird way of bringing the subjects to life (in color) but also sucking the life out by removing the photo-ness of the image.

There seems to be a lot of interest in retratos pintados today. Photo historian Geoffrey Batchen has written about fotoesculturas in Mexico as part of his interest in vernacular photography. Yossi Milo Gallery in New York did a show of Brazilian retratos pintados in 2010. In Argentina, Florencia Blanco did a series of photos placing retratos in different contexts. While I was in Iquitos recently, nearly every house I went into had one of these portraits hanging on the walls.

The curators did a fantastic job of mounting the show, decorating the space with vintage wall paper and furniture, making the gallery into a cozy, domestic space. It allows the visitor to appreciate the domestic function of these portraits and makes visiting the show an experience that cannot be reproduced in a book or website (or blog post!).

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

In viewing some of the portraits I was reminded of the Fayum Portraits from ancient Roman Egypt, some of my favorite works of art. I was particularly fascinated by a few of the portraits where the paint was laid on very lightly in places.

Retrato Pintado

There is an interesting play between the painted surface and monochromatic undersurface. Where the paint is light, it’s like the flesh is dissolving away. This is cheesy, I know, but I was reminded of the end of Terminator, when Arnold’s flesh is gradually stripped away in places, revealing the silvery robot underneath.

The front room of the exhibit has painted images from the last 20 years. The practice of directly painting on black and white photographs has died out and one of the many current vernacular practices of family photography involve making painted versions of pictures, often snapshots.

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

It’s weird to see these pictures all hung together. I haven’t paid much attention to these recent photo-paintings before. They lack the formal stiffness and nostalgic charm of the retratos pintados and sit in this sort of uncanny valley of being too recent to be revered. Still, I appreciated their inclusion for showing the ongoing customs of vernacular photography in Peru.

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

The show is up until April 28, 2012. If you are in Lima, do go see it.