The Montains of América
Alberto Borea

February 11 – April 10, 2011

The work of Alberto Borea (Lima, Peru, 1979) is characterized by the continued use and displacement of various media and materials. The use with that aim, defines the develop of his artistic proposal, where the time and history becomes basic importance in the discurse and on the artistic process.
His work brings together the difficult and dramatic relationship between the cultures, and the coexistence of the past and present; the remains of past with the contemporary urban waste. Relating his own experience to the scene where it has developed, comprised a network based on pieces of different types and origins.
Through his particular iconography, he demands the preservation of cultural roots, and denounces – with an eminent testimonial sense- the loss of the oral culture and traditions caused by the fast rythm of consumption of visual art and globalization caused by the mass media uncontrollable and irreversible influence.le.

Financial growth graphs, used to compare different economies or one and its sorroundings, take part in the last collages series of Borea. Nowadays the concept of “economic development” is included in “sustainable development”. It is understood that a community or a nation experiments a process of sustainable development when the spread of the economy is followed by the improvment of the social and enviroment conditions, the life quality and the subsequent protection of cultural and natural resources, added to the strict control of the pernicious human action over his environment. For the artist, financial growth graphs will also represent another cartographic category; another scenery of the north-south confrontation, between rich countries and those who are still, at the most, in a development stage; between native preindustrial cultures and market economy practices.
The election of the map as an identity symbol, as individual, community and culture defines Borea´s works, whose he himself defines as a “mapping” of his conceptual territories. All his work makes up an intimate cartographic corpus that, even though it goes beyond his own private life, he shares, given the circumstances, with millions of people in physical or cultural movement. Throughout his collages, videos, objects and installations, he tries to wake up the social conscience over the migratory movements from his own geographic home area -Peru and Latin America- to another places with more opportunities to improve the life quality, like USA, his own current residence. But that´s not only about America; in Europe, in the last decades, we have been witness to continuos migrations from that side of the earth and from the Eastern Bloc countries to the West and people from Magreb and Subsaharan Africa, escaping in dramatic conditions from not less dramatic situations in a search of the european “promise land”, with great expectations that, as in the american case, not always been fullfilled. The present crisis that devaste not a few economies from the eurozone, receivers in a recent past, could redraw the migratory movements map in a near future.

Albeto Borea express himself with a language that combine the international contemporary ways with his roots, closer to the native community, revealing an overcoming of the cultural colonialism, which has subdued western peripheries for a long time, focused in Western Europe and USA and the exotic aura binded to vernacular civilizations. His proposal is engaged to a conciliatory discourse, between past conflicts and present, inside and abroad; traspasing cultural, ideological, racial, social and economical barriers. Scornful of the final form, is undoubtely attached to the Latin American conceptualism that Louis Camnitzer -artist, teacher, theorist and uruguayan critic, of german origin and U.S. resident- differs from the conceptual art, as a phenomenon linked to the center or mainstream- dominant currents- while the first, broader and more heterogeneous, is identified with various events from the periphery, virtually ignored and distorted by the representatives of the former. He is closely linked to cultural and political phenomena of the community he comes from, what does not happen with conceptual art, and also makes a radically different use of objects from that seen by American pop artists and European Dadaists, always a “game ” that goes beyond the amusement with more or less content.
In his second exhibition in the gallery, whose root is the book-object title The Mountains of America, presents the collages series titled Real State, where he destroys the information of a New York’s Real Estate to create a new sculpture serie on paper. The real estate agency information is converted into a Slums or marginal suburb, new architectural spaces as a new distribution of power. In another series, titled “One”, he shows almost constructivist and geometric landscapes, using different papers cut in the shape of “mats” and mixed with fragments of one-dollars bills. With them takes up a parallelism between the preincaica architecture and the geometric abstraction, following the tradition of other latinoamerican artists, in a sort of tribute to predecessors like a Joaquín Torres García, Jesús Rafael Soto, Louise Nevelson, Ligia Clark, Helio Oiticica, etc…
In the pieces, also collages, from the Ruins series, based on material extracted from Stock Exchange and Dow Jones publications, the artist creates mountains and architectural structures, as models from different archeological places. With that material about the financial crisis, or the “economic ruin”, he makes a visual metaphor about the concept of the power fragility.
Finally, some objects that link the parts of the discourse, and two audio-visual pieces:
-Black, video filmed by the artist in the state of Maine, while he walked on a floor covered with snow. In each of his steps was drawing a word, in the manner of land art, to finish writing BLACK, that comes and goes with white snow.
-Jonathan-Monument, captures the working hours of an employee of the taxi company Liberty, dressed as the iconic monument of the city, a symbol of the “land of opportunity and respect for human rights and dignity. ” This company makes a perverse use of both the image of the statue and its significance, hiring homeless and illegal inmigrants to attract customers through this kind of performance. Borea made a videoinstallation by placing garbage bags in front of the video projection, to show nothing unusual in certain areas of the Big Apple. It is at least paradoxical, if we think of the famous poem The New Colossus (1883), of the New Yorker Emma Lazarus, engraved on a bronze plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, which reflects the spirit of reception and protection of the underprivileged, who once was the motto of the great city in every way and, despite all, that is New York:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


Actividad realizada con la ayuda del Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte