A Chronicle of Interventions explores the multiple histories of intervention that have occurred throughout Central America during the 20th century and displays the work of seven practicing artists who each explore various foreign, economic, political and military interventions which have shaped the region.
Harking back to 1980s New York, the exhibition begins with an archival display of the seminal installation by Group Material, entitled Timeline: A Chronicle of US Intervention in Central and Latin America, the work was originally installed in New York’s PS1 Gallery in 1984, when Central America was in the spotlight of political and economic debate in the West.
Fast forward thirty years and the exhibition returns to this history of intervention and its consequences, through the work of contemporary artists who chronicle related historical episodes, accounts and phenomena.
Two of the films found in this display refer back to U.S. colonialism in Panama and more specifically to the building of the Panama Canal. Humberto Vélez focuses on the metaphor of the subjected human body and the representation of power and strength over a nation, while Michael Stevenson considers the complex relationship sustained between the USA and Panama after the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties in 1977 - which promised the handover of theCanal Zoneto the Central American country.
The works of Óscar Figueroa and Andreas Siekmann separately address the existence of a mono-cultural economy based almost exclusively on the extraction of bananas and coffee and the impact that international corporations such as the United Fruit Company have had on the natural and social landscape of much of this region.
The performance work of Regina José Galindo confronts the torrid history of Guatemalaand its hidden genocides. Her explorations of unequal power relations often expose the violent consequences that regularly result from political interventions.
This exhibition also explores the effects that external intervention can have on cultural and social trends. This includes examples of both the infiltration and appropriation of contemporary Western culture in remote indigenous communities, as seen in the work of José Castrellón and the imposition or adaptation of international architectural styles, which are boldly displayed and eventually destroyed during the performance work of Naufύs Ramírez-Figueroa.
Curated by Shoair Mavlian and Inti Guerrero