Artists: Paloma Ayala, Pavel Aguilar, Daniela Ortiz, Paula Baeza Pailamilla
The eighth project in the exhibition series HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig embarks on an anti-colonial journey through the permanent collection. Together with the artists Daniela Ortiz (*1985 in Peru), Paula Baeza Pailamilla (*1988 in Chile), Pavel Aguilar (*1989 in Honduras), and Paloma Ayala (*1980 in Mexico), we will take a critical and curious look at artistic positions from Latin America. What Latin American artists are in the collection? How do modernist artists—most of whom are European—reproduce the exoticizing view of the global South? Which works should be critically questioned, and which offer counter-models?
In her art, Daniela Ortiz is committed to an anti-racist and anti-colonial discourse. In her painting she shows her own perspective on Max Ernst’s The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus (1921). Paula Baeza Pailamilla is a Mapuche artist and deals with the cultural practices of her indigenous ancestors, among other topics. She is interested in collective actions that locate one’s own body politically, socially, and historically. For the exhibition, Baeza Pailamilla will develop a performance and video installation dealing with chocolate production. The starting point for the founding of the museum in 1976 was a donation from Peter and Irene Ludwig, whose fortune primarily came from the multinational production and sale of chocolate.
The sound artist Pavel Aguilar will intervene in the museum’s permanent collection with sound sculptures and installations. The artist Paloma Ayala will create clay figures that visitors can touch, which will be continually expanded and altered over the course of the exhibition. In addition, a dialogue with visitors about what anti-colonial interventions could mean will be fostered in a specially conceived program of events.
The artworks, which will be scattered throughout the museum, make existing power relations visible. For instance, Pável Aguilar engages with the exoticizing view of Expressionist artists and turns it around. A glossary and QR codes placed on various works will provide information on the long discriminatory history of the institution of the museum itself. At the same time, the questions raised point toward the future: How can we act in an anti-colonial manner when we operate within colonial structures? Can a museum with a predominantly white staff be anti-colonial? Opening up to other perspectives can also mean giving space to different forms of knowledge—for instance, in order to discover sustainable ways of living and doing business in harmony with nature.
➤ A glossary has been created for the exhibition that deals with terms that play a role in the exhibition. It refers to topics of the museum as an institution. The glossary is a working tool that emerged from a specific knowledge perspective and is by no means complete. It can be viewed here.
Curator: Joanne Rodriguez
The exhibition has received substantial support from the HERE AND NOW group of members of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig e. V. and the Storch Foundation. Special thanks also go to the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb for generously sponsoring the supporting program. We would also like to thank Russmedia and the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation for their support of the exhibition.