Monday, 19 July 2010


Alexander Apóstol
Film 16 mm. Transferred to video HD
Photos of different measures.

June 2 to July 29, 2010
Galeria Distrito 4, Madrid

Marcos Pérez Jiménez was a dictator in Venezuela between 1952 and 1958, he proclaimed as the official doctrine of his government, the New National Ideal, that was not more than a mere national compendium full of fantasy and ambiguity that “pointed to the historical justification of the military supremacy and the exercise of the authoritarianism of power” .

These ideals were nurtured by two main sources: from the economic commission theories for Latin America of the UN (CEPAL), that advocated the necessity of modernizing the productivity infrastructures of the Latin American countries as the only way to increment development; the other source was the positivist school of thought generated by his counselors that pointed to the geographical conception and the scenery as the epic foundational identity to the racial component where the European emigration was stimulated to influence the ethnic national miscegenation (based on the idea that it was the only way to improve the Venezuelan identity), and the conception, based on the independent boliviarism and in the recurrent necessity to look up at the Venezuelan redeemer, like a simile of the American hero. (From Bolívar to the actual times Venezuelan history is full of these messianic characters).

Under this ideological postulates there was a modernization in Venezuela, where serpentine high ways, avant-garde constructions or the Calder and Malevich movements of the central university were a contrast with the 19th Century mentality linked to the exaltation of the military power, heroic cults, order, race and an exacerbated nationalism, where we find the figure of Pedro Centeno Vallenilla, a painter formed under the fascist Italian regime, his exaggerated aesthetic, homoerotic and mannerist elements that idealized body and race together with the Bolivian history, he achieved to become the official painter during the dictatorship, strengthening his plastic language of the creation myths of the country through the social, military and political areas of Venezuela.

His work was like a fake mirror that gloated into images and acceptations of how we, the Venezuelans have wanted to see ourselves, but what it exemplifies fortunately is the narcissistic messianic vulnerability based on prejudice and resentments carried down from the colonial times and that have accompanied a great part of the political process in Venezuela, distorting the frontiers between social left wing ideologies, economic pragmatism associated with the right wing, the political and social strength, that form groups of contradictory empiric ideas that modulated the forms of power in the country.

In the film and in the photography’s, the paintings of Centeno Vallenilla are represented by people of popular sectors in big and opulent spaces with a decadent modernity, represented in a Pérez Jiménez mansion, now transformed into a public office. These models try once and again, without achieving it, to recreate work by work the forced postures of the characters, demonstrating that just maybe the Venezuelan idiosyncrasy comes from the eternal intent, with form but without depth, of imagining improvised utopias that end up in improvised simulations of the country.

Galeria Distrito 4
Conde de Aranda, 4 Madrid - Spain

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