Interesting State – ed. 2019 Art

The theme of the exhibition focuses on the anthropological analysis of the Guatemalan woman, playing on the “Interesting state – interesting state” pair. The euphemistic expression concerning the “interesting state” is, in many languages, mostly referred to the pregnant woman and to a new life. On the contrary, at the present time, throughout the world, there are numerous acts of violence against women, which constitute the denial of existence. In this sense Guatemala appears to be an “interesting” State, because of the persistence of this phenomenon and the government’s desire to solve it. The macho culture has its roots in the colonial history of Latin America, where the ancestral patriarchal hierarchies were accentuated by colonialism; this happened because indigenous men, unlike women, were always the only interlocutors of the new rulers. Thanks to a structuralist analysis it appears that, in addition to this historical situation, it is also difficult to access an efficient judicial system, as regards crimes of mistreatment and violence, and there is a lack of collective awareness of this problem. The Guatemala National Pavilion intends to promote an art in which aesthetics is parallel to a universal message of awareness. If the female portraits of the Guatemalan sculptor Elsie Wunderlich take shape from a luxuriant nature based on the Mother-Earth identification, thus celebrating a return to the Matriarchy, at the same time, the same human features appear scarred by scars and wounds; the artist thus denounces the current state of the mujer, the victim of abuse. Marco Manzo, an Italian artist that has lived in Guatemala, proposes El muro del silencio, an installation made up of female and male sculptural hands that emerge from a monumental wooden wall, with symbols of the Guatemalan culture and new Ornamental Style motifs engraved on their palm or on the back of their arm. Also in this case, the wall symbolizes the thick barrier of silence, in a game of contrast and resistance, between the victim and the abuser. At a hidden level, there is a meaning intimately linked to the material used for each work: just as the psychology of the victim creates illusions and appearances with the conviction of guilt, similarly the substance of the work believes it is different, the white painted bronze intends to evoke marble; wood pretends to be plasterboard. Matter renounces its identity by misrepresenting and disguising the “self”, just as the woman unconsciously rejects her own condition as a victim, blamelessly participating in the act of abuse.

Stefania Pieralice
(from the International catalog)