Prometeogallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Aníbal López (A-1 53167), reaffirming the long partnership between the gallery and the artist. This exhibition gives Aníbal López an opportunity to examine the situation in Guatemala, his homeland, with the greatest attention, mainly using sculpture as his artistic medium.
The starting point for the artist’s anthropological considerations is his awareness that when modern man replaced religious beliefs with legal principles and farming property with profit as a symbol of power, industry took the place of military resources and the functions of art were profoundly transformed.
While the work of art originally aimed to preserve collective ideals, protecting them from criticism, with the passing of time art gradually lost its moral and educational function and retained only that of criticism. In so far as it is a means of production, technique has maintained its subjective value as ornament and as an expression of individuality, ultimately transforming itself into monetary value. This does not mean that artistic representation, whether graphic or audiovisual, has stopped interpreting collective ideals but simply that, once this function has been met, the work of art loses its place in the category of “art” and can be referred to solely as propaganda, advertising or as an instrument to convey an “other” message.
Even so, when seen from a Latin-American perspective, this aspect cannot be systematised that easily, for agricultural land has never been completely replaced by industry and economic power has always been intrinsically linked to the power of the military. As a result, art from Latin America has been considered closer to ornamental handiwork than to an instrument of social criticism, at times even being seen as kitsch: the more it attempts to be contemporary, the more it is viewed as something like an advertising spot. In view of this, the artist – who wishes to maintain a function that has value for society – has been forced to pose the question by starting out from the very origins of our modern age, or even earlier, from the areas of psychology and anthropology: is the distance between production and consumption really all that necessary? Does market diversification really lead to some sort of satisfaction?
Aníbal López attempts to solve this problem by showing a sort of traditional craftsmanship that, in all its crudeness, illustrates the daily death of the people of Guatemala, a country where human beings are often violated as a category, as are human rights, by a state apparatus that is a coercive institution based on the administration of violence. The artist thus recalls the importance of the way in which every nation-state recognises the fundamental rights of its citizens, or fails to do so.
Aníbal López (A1-53167), was born in 1964 in Guatemala, where he currently lives and works. He presented a solo exhibition at the Centro Cultural de España in Guatemala City (2011) and has put on numerous performances over the years. Group exhibitions at the international level include the Bienal de Pontevedra (2010), the biennale in Porto Allegre (2007), the Prague Biennale (2003) and the Venice Biennale (2001), where he was awarded the Golden Lion as Best Young Artist. In June 2012 he will be among the artists selected for dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.