Friday 29 May 2020


Paulo Herkenhoff
Nucleo Historico, Antropofagia
Histories of Canibalism
24th Bienal de Sao Paulo, 1998

Diagram developed by Paulo Herkenhoff for the 1998 24th Sao Paulo Biennale to explain his challenging of Euro-NorthAmerican-centric art historical narratives through the use of the cannibalistic concept of anthropophagia or devouring of the other, in this case used to create a vis-a-vis dialogue mainly between Brasilian artists and their European and North American counterparts. In pink I have signaled the Brazilian artists or movements, in green those from Latin America (Reveron, Siqueiros, Matta and Cuzco colonial religious painting), and in red the presence/influence of Africa which appears as "material culture". The central columns refers to a history of anthropophagia/cannibalism, the left one refers more to Brazilian artists, the right one to European (or Europe based as in the case of Matta).

(click on image for better resolution)

Thursday 28 May 2020


Hank Willis Thomas
Colonialism and Abstract Art, 2019
Screenprint on canvas
183 × 137 cm
(click on image for better resolution)

Adopted from the 1936 diagram “Cubism and Abstract Art” created by the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, “Colonialism and Abstract Art” attempts to visually describe the connections surrounding the historical, socioeconomic, and cultural movements in Belgium, the Congo, and western art history over the span of a century. Focusing distinctly on the century from 1870 to 1970 represents a pivotal time when Africa was colonized by European forces and highlights the ramifications that followed as a result of the colonization of the area. Alfred H. Barr Jr. created his chart to illustrate the genealogy of modern art from Impressionism to Surrealism and the Bauhaus which he "intended as an historical survey of an important movement in modern art." This is Thomas’ attempt to draw greater connections in a historical, political timeline.


Manual for Exhibition Making in the Tropics
Pablo Leon de la Barra, 2011/14

The tropics is a state of mind. A different perception of space, time and geography that resists neoliberalism's efficiency, overproduction, overconsumption, and over accumulation.

Do exhibitions everywhere, in white cubes, in black cubes, in wooden cubes, and in green cubes, in the jungle and floating in the river, in abandoned spaces and in spaces to be built, in the internet and in pages of books or of magazines or inside a film, in the street or empty lots, or invisible exhibitions…

Learn from non art museums, instead go to community museums, dormant museums, ethnographic museums, folkloric museums, mineral museums, botanical gardens…

Think of the exhibition as a process, not as a final, perfect, static result.

Create flexible exhibitions where things can always change.

Think of the exhibition not as an accumulation of objects, but as a way of researching histories, ideas and contexts. Think of the exhibition as an essay written with works instead of words.

Exhibit 'works of art', as well things that are not works of art, include research and documents and photocopies.

Integrate new works during the the exhibition. Disappear others.

I learned from two pioneer curators (before the profession as such existed) working during the 50s and 70s that doing an exhibition is like installing a nativity, you have to put the different figures in dialogue with each other.

Allow errors, surprises and collaborations to happen within the exhibition.

Allow the spectators to become part of the exhibition, to activate it and become a participator or even an exhibitor.

Think of the exhibition as a place where things could happen; a place for experiments and experiences.

Allow the exhibition to become a place (or a non-place), a scenario, a landscape, a park, a library, a discussion forum, a party, a social club.

Plants and hammock and fans and plastic chairs and mosquito nets always make an exhibition a better place.

Build display structures and cabinets and tables and moving walls to exhibit things.

Design the exhibition without specifying every detail, un-design: suggest instead what might happen.

Find inspiration on people’s everyday design solutions. Learn from how people display information and products in real life, learn from street posts and people selling in the street.

Use copies, reproductions, printed jpgs and photocopies taped to the wall if you can’t have access to the “original” work.

Do exhibition posters, pamphlets, pdfs, photocopy catalogues, or internet blogs or sites. Allow for the circulation of the ideas and images generated by the exhibition.

Don't be afraid of exhibition labels, your public will thank you for explaining your thoughts, even if they disagree.

When there’s no budget, trust the economy of friendship.

Use what you have at hand.

Let the unexpected happen.


Manual para realizar exposiciones en el trópico
Pablo León de la Barra, 2011/14

El trópico es un estado de la mente. Una percepción diferente del espacio, del tiempo y de la geografía que se resiste a la eficiencia, a la superproduccción, al exceso de consumo y a la sobreacumulación del neoliberalismo.

Hacer exposiciones en cualquier parte, en cubos blancos, en cubos negros, en cubos de madera y en cubos verdes, en la selva y flotando en el río, en espacios abandonados y en espacios a construir, en internet y en páginas de libros o revistas o dentro de una película, en la calle o en terrenos baldíos, o exposiciones invisibles...

Aprender de museos no artísticos; en cambio, ir a museos de la comunidad, museos inactivos, museos etnográficos, museos folclóricos, museos minerales, jardines botánicos...

Pensar la exposición como un proceso, no como un resultado acabado, perfecto, estático.

Crear exposiciones flexibles donde las cosas siempre puedan cambiar.

Pensar la exposición no como una acumulación de objetos, sino como un modo de investigar historias, ideas y contextos. Pensar la exposición como un ensayo escrito con obras en lugar de palabras.

Exhibir “obras de arte”, tanto como cosas que no sean obras de arte; incluir investigación y documentos y fotocopias.

Integrar nuevas obras durante la exposición. Desaparecer otras.

Yo aprendí de dos curadores pioneros que trabajaban en los 50 y los 70 (antes de que la profesión existiera como tal), que hacer una exposición es como armar un pesebre: hay que poner las distintas figuras a dialogar entre sí.

Permitir que ocurran errores, sorpresas y colaboraciones dentro de la exposición.

Permitir que los espectadores se vuelvan parte de la exposición, que la activen y se conviertan en participantes, o incluso en expositores.

Pensar la exposición como un lugar donde pueden pasar cosas; un lugar para experimentos y experiencias.

Permitir que la exposición se vuelva un lugar (o un no-lugar), un escenario, un paisaje, un parque, una biblioteca, un foro de debate, una fiesta, un club social.

Las plantas y las hamacas y los ventiladores y las sillas de plástico y las telas mosquiteras siempre hacen de la exposición un lugar mejor.

Construir estructuras y cajoneras y mesas y paredes móviles para exhibir cosas.

Diseñar la exposición sin especificar todos los detalles; en cambio, des-diseñar: sugerir lo que podría pasar.

Buscar inspiración en las soluciones de diseño cotidianas de la gente. Aprender de cómo la gente exhibe información y productos en la vida real, aprender de los anuncios callejeros y de los vendedores ambulantes.

Usar copias, reproducciones, jpg impresos y fotocopias pegadas a la pared si no se puede tener acceso a la obra ‘original’.

Hacer pósters, folletos, pdfs, fotocopiar catálogos o blogs o sitios de internet. Favorecer la circulación de ideas e imágenes generadas por la exposición.

No tener miedo de las cédulas de exposición, el público agradecerá que se le expliquen ideas, incluso si no está de acuerdo con ellas.

Cuando no haya presupuesto, confiar en la economía de la amistad.

Usar lo que se tenga a mano.

Dejar que ocurra lo inesperado.

First published in its earlier version in COOPERATIVE FANZINE, the fanzine of all fanzines, edited by Dominique Gonzalez Foerster and Jean Max Collard, Kunsthalle Zurich, 2011 (contribution)

A later version was published in Mathieu Copeland's 'Choreographing Exhibitions', edited by Mathieu Copeland, Kunst Halle Sant Gallen, Les Presses du Reel, Switzerland, 2013 (and later published in Spanish as ‘Coreografiar Exposiciones’ edited by Mathieu Copeland, CA2M, Madrid, 2017)

The final version presented here was first published in Spanish in La Ene, Sucursal. La Ene en Malba, catalogue, Macba, Buenos Aires, 2014

The drawing was made by PLB for the cover of Sophie Nys' publication ‘La Dormannce des Graines’, Rollo 38, Rollos Press, Brussels, 2015