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.
Rethinking Conceptualism: Avant-Garde, Activism and Politics
in Latin American Art (1960s-1980s)
A project conceptualised and curated by Katerina Valdivia Bruch
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Katerina Valdivia Bruch is a Berlin-based independent curator, researcher and arts writer. She holds a BA in Philosophy (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), a Cultural Policies and Management Diploma (Universitat de Barcelona), and an MA in Museum Studies and Critical Theory (Independent Study Programme, MACBA/Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). Katerina has curated exhibitions, organised talks and symposia, and collaborated with a number of institutions, including Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington DC), ZKM-Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Bielefelder Kunstverein (Bielefeld), Grimmuseum (Berlin), CCCB (Barcelona), Instituto Cervantes (Berlin and Munich), Instituto Cultural de León (Mexico), Para/Site Art Space (Hong Kong), and the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore. In 2008, she was co-curator of the Prague Triennale at the National Gallery in Prague. Besides her work as a curator, she contributes essays and articles to art publications and magazines. Since 2020, she is the artistic director of the project Rethinking Conceptualism: Avant-Garde, Activism and Politics in Latin American Art (1960s-1980s).
Dance is Katerina's first passion. Her dance projects have taken her to different countries, where she could develop her practice as a choreographer and dancer, but also as a teacher. She has performed, created choreographies and video dance pieces, given contemporary dance lessons and workshops in Germany, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Croatia, Serbia, Poland and Spain. She develops and participates in artistic projects within an interdisciplinary scope. Her projects include participating in the dance exchange programme Point to Pointe in Warsaw, organised by Asia-Europe Foundation, teaching contemporary dance to the members of Tembi Dance Company in Yogyakarta (Indonesia), hosting video dance workshops in Brazil and India, and being an artist in residence of the bangaloREsidency at Natya & STEM Dance Company, organised by Goethe-Institut Bangalore (India). Katerina's current focus is on dance in public spaces and video dance.
Katerina Valdivia Bruch
e-mail: contact (at) artatak.net
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Image credits according to the division of the website: IMAGES ON TOP OF THE PAGE: "rethinking Conceptualism" © Katerina Valdivia Bruch; Exhibition Views of "Between Personal Chronicles and Collective Memory" at Instituto Cervantes Berlin, 2021 © Katerina valdivia Bruch; Curate: exhibition views of "What is it to be Chinese?" at Grimmuseum, Berlin, 2012. Photo: © Laura Gianetti; Write: free stock photo; Dance: solo dance piece "Raku" at Casa Elizalde, Barcelona, 2006. Photo: Raúl Olías González