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Rethinking Conceptualism

Avant-Garde, Activism and Politics in Latin American Art (1960s-1980s). Symposium, exhibition, workshops, debates in Berlin. Artistic Director and Curator: Katerina Valdivia Bruch
Feb 2020

Between the 1960s and 1980s, several Latin American countries were under military rule. At that time, there was a wave of mass awakening, a surge of social awareness in Latin America calling for more social justice, influenced mainly by the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959), amongst other socialist initiatives. At the same time, there was a need to find new ways to maintain local economies without accepting the monopoly and profit of international enterprises. In this context, socialist ideas spread across the hemisphere, primarily focused against U.S. imperialism.

This political upheaval created a sense of unity among many Latin American countries. And, despite the fact that these states had different levels of foreign intervention and diverse social and cultural developments, they were unified by a social element: the fight for social justice and longing for change was understood as something relevant to the whole subcontinent. The common spirit of correspondence and the internationalism, arising from this sociopolitical context, paved the way for the establishment of a number of networks for solidarity and protest.

Under these conditions, a number of artists across Latin America turned to art as a tool for demonstration, aiming to foster social change. During this period, some artists and critics also looked for ways to describe this artistic production, identifying aspects they considered characteristic of the Latin American subcontinent.

Within this framework, the symposium on conceptual art from Latin America Rethinking Conceptualism: Avant-Garde, Activism and Politics in Latin American Art (1960s-1980s) presents an overview of conceptual art practices in Latin America from the 1960s to the 1980s, showing its characteristics and particularities that set it apart from the mainstream conceptualist art canon in Europe and the U.S. One of the aims of this event is to spread awareness of this lesser-known moment in art history in Germany, showing how Latin American artists explored the potential of art, politics and the avant-garde.

Additionally, the project strives to make visible the links between Latin America and Germany, by showing the work of the protagonists of that period and their ties to Germany, and by presenting an exhibition of works by Latin American artists living in Berlin, who depict their view of Latin America from the diaspora.

27-28 April 2020
Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Potsdamer Straße 37, 10785 Berlin
27 April: 14:00 - 20:00 h
28 April: 10:00 - 16:00 h

Among the topics of the symposium are theories on Latin American art, ways of expressing the arts, artists' archives and activism; art, memory and violence, women artists in Latin America, conferences on the Havanna Biennial and the First Latin American Colloquium on Non Objectual Art and Urban Art in Medellín, and a discussion on approaches on the term "Latin American Art."


Luis Camnitzer
artist and theorist, New York
Ana Longoni
art historian and curator, Director of Public Activities, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid
Gerardo Mosquera
independent curator and art critic, La Habana/Madrid
Lisette Lagnado
curator and author, co-curator 11th Berlin Biennale, São Paulo/Berlin
Joaquín Barriendos
curator and researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM, Ciudad de México
Cecilia Fajardo-Hill
art historian and independent curator, Southern California
Víctor Vich
researcher and author, Full Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Lima
Claudia Calirman
art historian and independent curator, Associate Professor of Art History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York
Emilio Tarazona
independent curator, Lima/Bogotá
Vania Markarian
historian, Archivo General de la Universidad de la República, Montevideo
María Mercedes Herrera Buitrago
art historian and independent curator, Bogotá
Óscar Ardila Luna
art historian and independent curator, Berlin
Fernanda Carvajal
sociologist and researcher, Member of the Red de Conceptualismos del Sur, Santiago de Chile/Buenos Aires
Jorge Lopera
independent researcher and curator, Medellín/Ciudad de México

The event will be held in English and Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation in both languages.

Between Personal Chronicles and Collective Memory
28 April - 3 May 2020
Instituto Cervantes Berlin, Rosenstraße 18, 10178 Berlin

Opening: 28 April 2020, 19:00 h
Artists' Talk: 30 April 2020, 19:00 h

María Linares (Bogotá/Berlin)
Daniela Lehmann Carrasco (Santiago de Chile/Berlin)
Ana María Millán (Cali/Berlin)
Yoel Díaz Vázquez (La Habana/Berlin)

Curated by Katerina Valdivia Bruch

Opening hours:
Wednesday-Sunday, 11:00 - 19:00 h
The exhibition will be open during the Gallery Weekend Berlin

More information about the event and its protagonists, Program Calendar, with further discussions, talks and workshops, as well as Registration Form:

(From press information. © Photo: kbza/Freepik)

Rethinking Conceptualism: Avant-Garde, Activism and Politics in Latin American Art (1960s-1980s)

Postponed to March 2021

Collaborating institutions:
Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Instituto Cervantes Berlin

Artistic Director and Curator:
Katerina Valdivia Bruch

Funded by: Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.
With the support of: Embassy of Uruguay in Germany, Embassy of Chile in Germany, journal OnCurating.org

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