Museum of Qorikancha
9.12.2016 – 22.01.2017
On December 9th Sixe Paredes first individual exhibition, “ANTES, DESPUÉS, AHORA” opened in Peru.
The exhibition, curated by Morbo gallery, will take place until January 22, 2017 in the emblematic Qorikancha Museum (Cusco), and will subsequently be presented in Lima, at the Spanish Cultural Center. To celebrate the opening day a guided tour by the artist took place on Friday the 9th.
‘In 2011 I had the opportunity to travel to Lima, Peru, to participate in an artistic show with the collective “Equipo Plástico” which I am a member of, at the Lima’s Spanish Cultural Center. I was totally fascinated by this country and all its idiosyncrasies. A new dimension opened up in my mind: I could see a new world and a new way of understanding life. This trip marks a before and after in my artistic career, and even more so in my life.
It was impossible for me not to return and so I visited the country over the next few years, living for a time between Lima and Barcelona. During these various trips, I had the opportunity to discover many regions of the country and learn about their culture. My desire to investigate more deeply and my fondness for the Ancient World and its mysteries allowed me to document and see right there, on the spot, the enormous amount of cultures and civilizations that existed throughout the country and the great legacy that they left behind. I visited many of the great Museums of Lima, Nazca, Cusco … admiring an abundant amount of artwork in a variety of materials: metal, textiles, and ceramics, some of them true works of art. I also visited archaeological sites and mythical places such as Machu Picchu, Pachacamac, Sacsayhuaman, Cahuachi, the Nasca Lines, Lake Titicaca and Tiahuanaco. In many of them, I could feel that energy that I had read and heard so much about: in those places I imagined everything that had happened there, the stones spoke to me of a past that was lost in the mists of time.
All this had a huge impact on me and on my work. I started to create new series inspired by this new world, to investigate new materials and techniques, some as primitive as ceramics and textiles.
I created artwork for several exhibitions under this influence from the year 2011 to the present, in different countries, with the titles: “Nuevo Mundo” in Belgium, “Cosmovisión Andina” in Spain, “Futurismo Ancestral” In England, “Danza Ritual” in France and now this show, “Antes, Después, Ahora” that I am opening here in Peru. First in Cusco, in the Qorikancha Museum – Convent of Santo Domingo, and then in Lima’s Spanish Cultural Center.
The present exhibition consists of a selection of pieces made in recent years; some have been displayed in different countries before, others were made here during my most recent stay in Peru. This sample consists of works of different artistic techniques, such as pictorial works on paper, looms, quipus (which I exhibited in London), new ceramics, installation and masks.
The works on paper show a pictorial series that speaks through an explosion of colors, lines and geometric shapes of the transmutation of abstract figurative to total abstraction. This merging and melting into different dimensions transports us to new universes.
The series of tapestries were produced between Peru (San Pedro de Cajas) and Barcelona. Inspired both by the symbolism of different cultures of the Andean world and in the “Wipala”, the quadrangular flag with the seven colors of the rainbow that represents the cosmic reflection of the organization of the communitarian and harmonic system of the Qhishwa-Aymara, these tapices were created using original geometric designs.
In Peru, I travelled to San Pedro de Cajas, the capital of Textile Crafts, where tapestry is the main product. Woven on a loom and by hand, the tapestry itself is a work of art created by local artisans using sheep’s wool and alpaca fiber. Their designs demonstrate technical knowledge of an ancestral culture that ranges from the figurative (faces, landscapes of ancient traditions, customs and experiences) to the abstract. To create these tapestries, I worked with Luis Nesquin Pucuhuaranga Espinoza, a master artisan with years of experience in the world of tapestry. His specialty is hyperrealism, although he controls many textile techniques. I made different pieces with him,featuring two of the symbols most repeated by Mother Nature: dots and lines – elements that have been embodied my works for many years.
During the second stage of the process, already in Barcelona, I developed the reverse side of the tapestries made in San Pedro de Cajas, cumulatively. For these compositions, I used different materials: hand-dyed sheep wool with natural pigments, cotton cords of different thicknesses and colors, and wooden slats painted with different motifs. This allowed me to create different textures and depths, which contrast with the other, more symbolic side, found on the front.
The quipus were something that I discovered years ago and immediately became fascinated by their great beauty and significance. Quipus, known mainly for their usefulness for the administration in the Inca empire, were used for economic and social management. The “quipucamayoc” the specialist who created, read and filed the quipus, had a prodigious memory and gathered location, demographic and economic data from the different groups in the community. The quipus were made of chains created by llama, alpaca or cotton. The position of the knots, as well as the quantity, indicated the numerical values in a decimal system. The colors of the marrow tied to each chain indicated what was being counted, and for each activity (whether agriculture, military or engineering) the colors were used as symbols. Most of the information about quipus is numerical, although than can most certainly be considered a mode of writing.
In this series of quipus that I created in Barcelona, I wanted to reflect on the beauty of this great piece of writing through a contemporary lens. Revalidating, once again, an element of the great original cultures of the Andes. During the creation of this tapices, I used the knots of the “quipucamayoc” while incorporating different techniques such as fraying the ropes and adding a “soga” rope, as a reference to the “soga” rope dance of the Mochica culture. Another important element are the wooden beads, which represent a numerical system in which different colors, shapes and linear symbols intervene. The entire quipu is suspended from a holding bar. This was not commonly done with the original quipus, but in some cases quipus have been found suspended from a wooden bar, and for this reason, I used this resource for my pieces.
The ceramics for this project were created in Nasca, Peru – a place known worldwide for the “Nasca Lines”. Here we find an infinite amount of forms and drawings that extend thousands of kilometers across the Pampa. In 1994 they were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Incorrectly referred to as “lines”, these drawings in the ground were, without a doubt, sacred paths, according to scholars of the Academic Unit of the University of Nasca who investigate and defend the cultural heritage of Peru. Nasca culture, known worldwide for its gigantic geoglyphs, is also very famous for its beautiful ceramics, characterized by a very distinctive style and rich in colors. These urns and pots were made with very fine clay and carefully polished. Insurmountable in their color, the Nascas used countless beautiful pigments in their ceramic pieces that they extracted from different minerals that were found in the area. It is said that this pottery is one of the most pictorial found in Peru. In my point of view, the Nasca culture is one of the most wonderful cultures in all of Peru, along with the Mochica culture.
In Nasca, I worked in the Gallegos Family Ceramic Workshop with Zenón Gallegos. He is the son of the great Zenón Gallegos Ramirez who was in 1968 became one of the pioneers of the rebirth of the Nasca ceramics technique. Thanks to him I was able to study and learn an ancient technique that the Gallegos family recovered from near extinction. One must appreciate the great ceramic tradition of this family, which for generations has kept alive the millenary technique of their ancestors.
I worked with one of the first shapes created – the ovular pitcher with a bridge handle. It was made using a clay dish in the shape of a wheel (in many regions of Peru, people work without a wheel). While making these pieces, I was inspired by the idea of winged beings from many cultures of the ancient world and using this concept I was able to incorporate one of the most iconographic characters of my work, birds. With the intention of offering a contemporary vision that respects the original forms, I synthesized these concepts in a single element, represented by the peaks, which evoke the idea of the celestial, as well as the “Nasca Lines”. To finish the process, I offered one of the ceramics to the great Cerro Blanco, the sacred mountain of the Nasca culture, and the largest dune in the world. Ceramic offerings have been made here for more than 1,500 years. This offering was overseen by Iván Gallegos, a teacher of many different disciplines found in the Andean culture.
In addition, during my most recent trips to Peru, I also completed an installation project in several regions of the country. Under the title “Celestial Offering”, and together with another Peruvian artist named Valentino Sibadon, better known as Radio, I conceived this installation project, which I presented here again, as a game of cosmic mysticism and interaction with the Whole. The action began in a completely empty, vast Telluric space, creating energy accumulators where multiple manifestations converged. The first installation was in the Nasca desert near the ceremonial center of Cahuachi; the second was in the district of Lurín, province of Lima, near the great temple of Pachacamac.
The masks were created with Vicentina Espirilla an artisan and craftswoman that María Julia Sara Lafosse helped to connect me with. All this took place in the city of Arequipa in Southern Peru. Once again I was inspired by the idea of flying to create the designs. Using yellow, a color I use again and again, as a symbol to the great Sun God, I recreated an imaginary dancer that calls upon the most ancestral tribalism.
In this show, I used the mask, a cultural heritage of Peru, as a magic-religious representation for the development and permanence of the immaterial… the intangible. The mask is a primordial element used to condition the environment and the appearance of humans that surpass the physical. The mask allows the supernatural magic that is expressed and felt during the ritual, dance or ceremony to become a reality.
In this way, “Antes, Después, Ahora” tries to pay tribute to the pre-Columbian culture and aesthetics of Peru and the Andes through different disciplines and techniques, while also recognizing the ancestral and primordial Andean and Mesoamerican cultures from a contemporary perspective. My idea is to unite two worlds to create works of art that speak of tradition and the present-day and that have at their core, a union with the Cosmos. A way to ratify these ancient cultures, through respect and admiration.