About the research

Curated by María José Monge, Visual Arts Curator

September 2016

In Peruvian artists Cecilia Paredes’ plastic production, her migratory experiences set off a series of landscapes evoking the most intimate processes of transformation and adaptation a human being can undergo. The Perpetual Wanderer —set to open on September 8 in the Museums of the Central Bank of Costa Rica— will show her most recent works, created in light of these new themes.

Born in 1950, Paredes’ place of residence has drifted from Lima, Mexico City, Rome, and Costa Rica to the United States of America, where she finally settled down. Her work has recently been exhibited in places such as Tabacalera Art Promotion (Madrid, 2015), the Ermitage Museum, Vladimir Palace (Russia, 2013), and the Museum of Photography (Colombia, 2013).

“The time when Cecilia lived in Costa Rica set historic precedents in the development of objectual and installation art, in the use of natural resources as raw material and the use of the artist’s body as a referent and a mean of expression,” asserts María José Monge, visual arts curator at the Central Bank Museums, organization in charge of the exhibition.

The Perpetual Wanderer assembles a group of 14 works created roughly from 2008 to 2016 and remain attuned to the principles set by her previous ones.

The exhibition includes works put together with the likes of mantles of feathers and photo-performances where her own body merges with the various backgrounds created by the artist. It also shows installations where feathers, rain sticks, and other materials become symbols of issues such as belonging, displacement, flight, adaptation, and transformation.

About the exhibition

The exhibition is the result of the curator’s reading of this artist’s body of work, and seeks to move the visitor to transcend the concept of migration as a social phenomenon involving mere geographical displacement and its consequences.

It attempts to expose the public with the human story behind these life-changing experiences that all of us face in one way or another, be it continuously or in trips that encompass other spheres such as the emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical scopes.

The first part of the exhibition, titled Nature: Demiurge, Oracle, and Epiphany, shows the important role that nature plays in the artist, not only as raw material, but also as a symbol and an aesthetic and discursive referent.

It includes works such as Ucayali, which is put together with rains ticks that replicate the sounds of a river when set in motion by small motors —which the artists views as a symbol for existence and the flow of life, which can take the form of calamity and death.

The next section, named Molting-Mutating, includes works such as Pájaro tomando un respiro (Bird Taking a Rest) that show how mutation is a rite of encounter with its source, oneness with nature, or an experience in existential discovery in Paredes’ work.

In works belonging to the Paisajes (Landscapes) series, the artist blends herself in different ways with her surroundings. In some she stands still and avoids interaction, such as in Mía leaping. In others, there is a relationship or emulation, which represents a wish of fusion or belonging.

Finally, in works such as Silk, rather than reflecting an adaptation to its surroundings, the artist conveys her body’s state of assimilation to the surrounding texture by casting it against a black background.