Fortress to Solitude at Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space

Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space

August 13, 2012

SALVAJES – Digesting Europe
Piece by Piece

August 18–October 13, 2012
Opening: August 18, 1–6pm

Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space
Ahlmanns Allé 6
DK-2900 Hellerup
Copenhagen, Denmark

SALVAJES – Digesting Europe Piece by Piece is a collaboration between Fortress to Solitude Curatorial and Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space, exhibiting 17 artists from Latin America and Europe whose works revolve around inter-colonial relationships, cultural identity, and the dominant power structures rooted in Latin America.

“Tupi or not tupi, that is the question”

In 1928, the Brazilian modernist poet and polemicist Oswald de Andrade wrote the Manifesto Antropófago – known in English as the Cannibalistic Manifesto. Andrade playfully transformed Shakespeare’s iconic line, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” into a celebration of the Tupi—one of the original ethnic Brazilian tribes that practiced forms of ritual cannibalism. But he also created an ironic and humorous metaphor for (post)-colonial cultural cannibalism. He used the concept of “cultural cannibalism” to argue the existence of a historical tradition of devouring, digesting, and absorbing cultural impressions from settling cultures, adapting their strengths and incorporating them into the native self. When he wrote; We eat Shakespeare and spit him out”, de Andrade aimed to challenge the dominant dualities between civilization/barbarism, modern/primitive, and original/derivative.

Extending the reach of the term for the purpose of this exhibition, cultural cannibalism describes how for decades Latin America has been absorbing the shifting culturally imposed discourse and spitting out its own re-interpreted cultural and artistic production. It also speaks of the paradigm, by artists from Latin America, for the creation of a culture that is universal, cosmopolitan, and contemporary in its language, but still Latin American in its essence.

SALVAJES—meaning “the savages”—is an immediate reference to the stereotypical and derogative description of primitive societies in pre-colonial Latin America as uncivilized. As a result of the continent’s long history of violence, deprivation, oppression, exploitation, and poverty, the label of salvajes has been culturally embedded in this marginalizing representation of the continent. But the title also seeks to—as in the line of Oswald de Andrade—ironically challenge the audience.

SALVAJES – Digesting Europe Piece by Piece unfolds various intersections between Oswald de Andrade’s historic concept of cultural cannibalism and Latin America’s present and ongoing struggle for cultural autonomy. With more recent developments in the global economy—including the economic resurgence of many Latin American countries juxtaposed with the ongoing financial crisis in Europe—new discourses of social, economical, political, and cultural content are being shaped and formed.

Participating artists are Jonathas de Andrade, Alberto Borea, Nanna Debois Buhl, Luis Camnitzer, Gabriel Dawe, DETEXT, Jeannette Ehlers, Manuela Viera-Gallo, Ricardo Gonzales, Claudia Joskowicz, Runo Lagomarsino, Lui Mokrzycki, Carlos Motta, Túlio Pinto, Wilfredo Prieto, Miguel Angel Rios, and Melanie Smith.

The exhibition is a collaboration between New York-based Argentinean curator Guillermo Creus—founder of the online platform Fortress to Solitude—and Aukje Lepoutre Ravn—art historian, curator, and director of Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space.

Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space
Traneudstillingen Exhibition Space has been a significant exhibition space in Copenhagen since 1985 and focuses on showing primarily young and up-coming Danish and Nordic artists. Located within the Gentofte Main Library building—which has an annual attendance of 280,000 visitors—Traneudstillingen has the potential to reach out to a large audience. In order to extend its presence in both the local and international art community, the ambition of Traneudstillingen over the next years is to launch collaborative exhibition projects with international artists and curators.

Fortress to Solitude
Fortress to Solitude is an online and offline curatorial platform that collaborates with an ever-growing selected group of young international curators to conceptualize, organize, and produce international exhibitions and projects in the field of contemporary arts and culture. Not narrowed to a single set of conceptual ideas, it collaborates on projects involving different media and works with international public and private art spaces and organizations.

*Image above:
Luis Camnitzer: Assignment #2: This is a poetic statement. Identify the elements that construct the poem, 2011. Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates.