Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca
Portikus / Nov 12, 2022 – Feb 12, 2023

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

The Peruvian artist Ximena Garrido-Lecca is often known for her commitment to Peru’s history and its ancient mythology, other than for her study of the relationships between urban and rural areas and globalization. These elements can be found in Inflorescence, her latest work, which was created for her first solo exhibition in Germany as an established artist. The installation, composed of a series of sculptures made of corn plants and other elements, is specifically designed for the Portikus’ space – an eclectic institution for contemporary art in Frankfurt am Main. Located on a small island on the Main River and accessible only via the Alte Brücke, the Portikus represented a landmark for Frankfurt’s art scene, especially for its commitment to displaying prominent as well as emerging artists. As usual for Portikus, a pamphlet available at the entrance is meant to guide the visitor through the conceptual structure of the show, exploring its origins and examining the exhibition’s topics through various written media. That can take the form of newspaper articles, maps, scientific explainers, or even poetry – not just an informative brochure, but a piece of art itself meant to complement the exhibition. Portikus also exploits the lower floor of the building to make the audience further interact with the work in question or explore other aspects of it. On this occasion, Portikus has set up a space downstairs, where next to a big corn wall and corn seats, a temporary radio station broadcasts a radio program twice a week during the entire duration of the exhibition.

 

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

Inflorescence investigates corn’s historical, social, and economic meaning; in it, Garrido-Lecca conducts an anthropological study displaying its cultural, environmental, and aesthetical transformations. The artist’s work takes as a basis the native American plant which is not only one of the main crops in the global economy nowadays but is also at the very heart of pre-Colombian civilizations. There, corn was at the center of religious rituals (i.e., corn reading) and was associated with the gods; for this reason, it was also considered the origin of all humanity (the creation of men from corn). Passing by stacks of corn plants – as if walking through a maize field – and buzzing speakers, the visitor reaches the fulcrum of the installation. This consists of a circular area formed by dried cobs where one can sit, reviving the traditional production of corn beer – also known as chica de Jora – which was considered by the Peruvian people as the sacred beverage of the gods. Here cobs and corn kernels can be found as well as a big black stone, all elements employed in the old processes of stacking and threshing corn. All of this proves the meticulous attention of the artist to truthfully recreate something which is now forgotten and outdated, also demonstrating the artist’s historian-like approach. Moreover, the installation emphasizes the difference between corn production back then, when each grain of corn was peeled by hand, compared to now where everything is made with the help of mechanical machines. Thus, not only does the installation convey a message in regards to the drastic changes that have occurred in corn production processes, but – with a wider perspective – it also takes into account how the way people interact with nature and with one another has changed. The circular dried cobs seating originally represented a place for people to gather; when the corn output changed, it also changed the way people assembled.

Inflorescence points its gaze toward the past, portrayed by artisanal traditions like the original corn production, and at the same time towards the current rural landscape, evidenced by the presence of antennas mushrooming through the corn plants and accompanied by megaphones continuously reproducing radio interference noises. Antennas and speakers, both visually and soundly depict nowadays rural places invaded by technology. Furthermore, these elements also prove the general abandonment that these countryside areas often suffer as an aftereffect of the modernization process. Garrido-Lecca uses these elements to induce the visitor to reflect on these issues and the changes brought about by capitalism, a recurring subject in her other works. Moreover, she tries to raise awareness on environmental changes and environmental protection.

 

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Photo Beatrice Petrivelli

Every element of Inflorescence – the corn plants’ leaves, the antennas, the megaphones emitting peculiar sounds, as well as the corn’s smell coming from the dried corn cobs seats – transport the visitor into an immersive and engaging universe. However, the viewers never feel lost: they immediately manage to recognize many of the work’s details and, for this reason, can decode what is before their eyes. Thus, visitors find themselves immersed in a new spatial/temporal dimension, suspended between the natural and the urban world, among the ancient and the modern. They also have the opportunity to not only walk in the middle of the green plants and their fruits but also to come into contact, through touch, smell, and hearing, with everything that surrounds them. The central area is designed precisely to allow the visitors to sit down and recreate a moment in the daily and working life of ancient indigenous societies. In conclusion, Inflorescence is not only a well-thought-out and well-organized exhibition to enjoy, but also an experience not to be missed. The Peruvian artist has successfully managed to recreate a moment divided in time and space, and to make it imbued with the themes dearest to her: sensitizing the viewer towards global warming, colonialism, capitalism, and respect for different lifestyles and communities.

 

Inflorescence / Ximena Garrido-Lecca
November 12, 2022 – February 12, 2023 / Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany
Curated by Liberty Adrien and Carina Bukuts
Visit the exhibition page >

30 Under 30 Women Photographers / 2023
Selections Announced
For its 14th edition, Artpil announces the 2023 selection of its annual 30 Under 30 Women Photographers, with styles...
+
First Look 2023
Feb 1 – Mar 31, 2023
Every photograph tells a story. A portfolio allows artists to explore the complexities of their subject, and provide context...
+
Larry Amponsah / The Soil From Which We Came
Jan 11 – Feb 17, 2023
This exhibition continues the artist’s experimentation through collage and painting, evoking an awareness of interconnectivity and focus on contemporary...
+
New Year / 2023
Semantic Shift, Option Delete
Again, we arrive at another year. 2022 was unsparing of conflict and confusion, uncertainty, and the highs and lows...
+
In the Eye of the Storm
Nov 29, 2022 – Apr 30, 2023
The exhibition presents the ground-breaking art produced in Ukraine in the first decades of the twentieth century, showcasing trends...
+
Interior
Nov 10, 2022 – Feb 3, 2023
The exhibition Interior is conceived as a gathering. Each work a portrait in one sense or another, they share...
+
Works & Collections Online
ARTPIL / Prescription .134
Arpil is proud to announce the long awaited Works & Collections with unique contemporary art pieces, limited edition photography,...
+
Navigating North
Oct 7, 2022 – Apr 2, 2023
Showcasing the Jenny & Antti Wihuri Foundation Collection, this exhibition investigates links between the north and south. The themes...
+
30 Under 30 Women Photographers / 2023
Selections Announced
For its 14th edition, Artpil announces the 2023 selection of its annual 30 Under 30 Women Photographers, with styles...
+
First Look 2023
Feb 1 – Mar 31, 2023
Every photograph tells a story. A portfolio allows artists to explore the complexities of their subject, and provide context...
+
Larry Amponsah / The Soil From Which We Came
Jan 11 – Feb 17, 2023
This exhibition continues the artist’s experimentation through collage and painting, evoking an awareness of interconnectivity and focus on contemporary...
+
New Year / 2023
Semantic Shift, Option Delete
Again, we arrive at another year. 2022 was unsparing of conflict and confusion, uncertainty, and the highs and lows...
+
In the Eye of the Storm
Nov 29, 2022 – Apr 30, 2023
The exhibition presents the ground-breaking art produced in Ukraine in the first decades of the twentieth century, showcasing trends...
+
Interior
Nov 10, 2022 – Feb 3, 2023
The exhibition Interior is conceived as a gathering. Each work a portrait in one sense or another, they share...
+
Works & Collections Online
ARTPIL / Prescription .134
Arpil is proud to announce the long awaited Works & Collections with unique contemporary art pieces, limited edition photography,...
+
Navigating North
Oct 7, 2022 – Apr 2, 2023
Showcasing the Jenny & Antti Wihuri Foundation Collection, this exhibition investigates links between the north and south. The themes...
+