Conceptualism featuring Alejandro Cesarco

3:24 | Published on July 2, 2014 | 152 Views

Pablo León de la Barra, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America, details one of Under the Same Sun’s central topics, Conceptual art practices and their legacy in contemporary Latin American art. He describes in particular the work of Alejandro Cesarco, a young Uruguayan artist based in New York. León de la Barra outlines Cesarco’s work in film and publishing, and discusses his exhibition piece Index. A series of indices for imaginary books, Index functions too as a self-portrait of its maker by revealing his highly diverse interests.

For more information, visit the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative.

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The exhibition is freely articulated around different topics, or thematic lines. This does not mean that works or artists are confined to a certain area, or that a topic is limited. But in a way, it does create a framework in which to understand the works of the artists, in kind of a bigger field, and in relation to the Latin American topic. The first, and one of the most important topics—because it permeates all around—is the idea of Conceptualism, and then the legacies of Conceptualism.

Alejandro Cesarco is a conceptual artist from my generation, originally from Uruguay, who’s been living in New York for a long time. His work basically takes two forms. One is on film, where he analyzes, or presents, the conceptual thinking, but also the sentimental thinking involved in the relation between persons. And there’s another side of his work that has more to do with printing and writing. He himself has also been involved a lot in a program of giving art books to libraries in less privileged areas. So, the book itself is a fundamental part of his work, and a tool, again, as an instrument of learning, and as a container of knowledge.

The work we’re presenting in the exhibition is called Index, from 2000, and it’s the first of a series of indexes that he has been doing since he made this first one. It’s actually indexes for nonexistent books, or books that don’t exist. In a way, Index is a self-portrait of Alejandro, but also a self-portrait of an artist as a young man, and it contains the different topics that interest him. The interesting thing is that it combines European and North American references with reference from elsewhere—I mean, a lot are from Latin America, but also from other places. So, you can have Kafka next to Borges, next to Niemeyer, next to Le Corbusier—so, different lines of thoughts that create different connections, that take you to different places. And in a way, it does act like an index to the exhibition itself. So, for me, that’s why I thought it was an important work to include.

As I said before, Alejandro is also an artist that lives in New York, and has been working here for at least ten years. And another of the important topics that we address is the artistic diaspora, with all those artists of this generation that are working in New York, and to which some extent, more or less have or have not been recognized or included in collections, in exhibitions. So, in a way, we also work the exhibition from the museum itself, from its location, which is New York, and from there it really starts to expand and to question the notion of what Latin America is, starting from its own surroundings.