Since 1992 I have been making a potato harvest one every year.
Everything started with an invitation to a show at the Galeria de la Oficina in placeCityMedellin, the title of the exhibition, "still-life". The concept was to speculate on this art form from a contemporary point of view. That year was the conflictive celebration of the 500 years of the discovery of the Americas and I decided to approach my proposal focusing on this subject.
The 14th century was full of ignorance and fear, something that you can still see today.
The misinterpretation of foreign cultures and prejudice over difference.
Esthetics was a particular psychological ingredient in the Old World, the behavior and judgment of the European man towards the rest was in most of cases base on looks, this was not an exclusive behavior from the people of the rest of the world, this also applied to Eastern cultures as well as native Americans.
With all this and today's globalization especially in communications, things are more or less the same.
The world has turned flat again.
Taking all this, I looked for something American that now where all over the world, something that could work in reverse that idea of colonization, something that where humbly native yet strong, useful, important...
That had left an imprint in the culture of there new hosts that they cannot recognize that once they didn't have it, that it wasn't there.
... and that could be placed in the context of the exhibition.
I got to The potato, the American, of the land, embedded on it.
Original from Peru and fundamental in all Andean cultures.
The Quetchuas ate them, made pottery inspired by it, worshiped it… it was a sacred.
The Europeans took it back and we know that saved the continent when the famines, that completed the French cuisine, that the Russians made their vodka out of it, that is the symbol of Ireland.
The history of the potato in Europe is vast and rich, with incredible anecdotes. It was dirty and ugly, for the pigs.
Was classified as a Solanaceae, saying poisonous or dangerous along with the Mandragora.
But the tuberous was ease going, simple, tough and cheap.
Ease to harvest, easy to eat, it was good.
First I created a series of potatoes made out of bronze, organized as in the same form as they are presented in street markets in Latin-American. They looked like little men on the ground.
Then the project evolved into large number of ceramic potatoes, some times accompanied with texts or images.
After a few years, out of making and making ceramic potatoes, the work has become one of a sophisticated realism. Has pas the visual test of botanist, potato growers, artists and cooks.
Trick the eye. Dirty bling-bling. Trompel'oeil
This is not a potato=Esta no es una papa=Ceci n'est pas une pomme de terre
Beauty over content, philosophical ideas that are present in post humanism and of preoccupation of art today.
The harvest has been exhibited many times also are part of public and private collections in country-regionplaceColombia and the States. They are sold, exchange or plainly given away.
Emotional economics as in the original American trades.
This year “Potato harvest” reaches its 16 year.
First Harvest. “Apertura Económica” Bronze. Variable Dimensions. Galería de la Oficina. Medellín. 1992
The potato, still life of potatoes in the 500 years of the discovery of America.
Despicable and ugly the American tubercle which ended up saving Europe of hunger, calming the thirst of the Russians, completing the French food and being symbol of Ireland. The potato is the first plant harvested in the space, it is used to make plastics, and it is historical subject of the arts.
A harvest each year since 1992.
In the end these, as in any harvest, of the bulk to the shopkeeper and soon to the table. In any case as adornment or like art object, the potatoes of each harvest are given, interchanged or sold, become a form of currency that tries to comment on the abstract today, of basic concepts of reality.
The 10 years. “Thank you for shopping here” Ceramic, paints, soil and recicled plastic shopping bags. Variable Dimensions. Valenzuela y Klenner. Bogota. 2002
First Harvest. “Apertura Económica”Economic Opening. Bronze. Variable Dimensions. Galería de la Oficina. Medellín. 1992
In these twelve years each harvest has been presented/displayed accompanied by texts or images that comment about historical, social or purely artistic reflections, but of everything, surrounding to the idea of the market economy, to the abstraction of this interchange in the globalized contemporary world. This allows the hyperrealist character of the work to act as a decoy, is an attractive work. In all this time to repeat and to repeat these processes results of aesthetic high accuracy take place inevitably. The deceit of the eye, the crafts, the time and the concepts that can carry this project, are put under that the spectator has the sufficient curiosity to discover in the list of credits, the material and title of the work and that soon perceives it in its general context. I see then in this project an amount of elements that suggest the premise to me of the maximum effort-minimum result, exercise that insinuates the personality of the rhetorical speech, the adornment, the project nonfinished… perhaps then, also insinuates the Latin American personality.
"Thank You for Shopping Here-La decima cosecha".
Registro del sembrado de papas en el patio trasero de la galeria.
Galeria Valenzuela y Klenner-2002
De donde vienen las cosas
"Thank You for Shopping Here-La decima cosecha" Detalle.
Ceramic, paints, soil, plastic, photographs, texts, foltocopies and
cosechaonce.Instalation. 200 u. X Salon Regional de Artistas. Suramericana. 2003