The Argentinian-born collector and art patron Amalia Amoedo established her foundation in Uruguay last year, and recently appointed curator Laura Hakel to oversee its collection and artist projects. Hakel, a graduate of the Centre for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, and a former curator at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art, is expanding Amoedo’s historic collection into more contemporary territory. “We’re trying to think about what’s happening in contemporary art with a perspective from South America,” Hakel says
Sol Calero's Guadalupe (2022), La Palma (2022)
The Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based artist Calero creates complete environments that critique stereotypical images of the Caribbean—loud, bright, and brash. The paintings at Art Basel are part of these larger installations. “They are like a souvenir of the environments,” Hakel says.
Guadalupe Maravilla's Feather Serpent Times Square Retablo (2022)
Maravilla’s ritualistic sculptures and drawings often draw on the journey he made as a child from El Salvador to the US with his undocumented father. “So there is a deep narrative and reflection about what that kind of displacement means,” Hakel says. The altar-like installations he creates using a specially made fibre embedded with sharks’ teeth, with a small votive painting in the centre, were influenced by Maravilla’s experience of surviving cancer.
Sandra Monterroso's Mujer afrendando hilo No.2 (2021), Como el rombo (2022)
Instituto de Visión
Guatemalan artist Monterroso is trying to reconnect with her Indigenous past through her textile-based sculptures, down to the native anil plants that were used to make the indigo dye that colours one hanging piece of braided yarn and coconut. The Spanish forbad Indigenous communities from keeping the valuable export crop for themselves, but a few families grew it in secret. “Many times these histories have been erased so effectively; it requires a very deep dive into personal history to try to reconnect to a past that should be natural,” Hakel says.
Lea Lublin's Flor de Ducha (1970)
1 Mira Madrid
“[Lubin] needs to be in all the museums of the world. She’s a connection between South America and France, and a pioneer of the avant-garde art in South America,” Hakel says of the Polish-born artist, who was raised in Argentina and but lived in Paris until her death in 1999. “This is from a beautiful project for the public space—it’s a shower for kids [to play in],” Hakel says.
Alicia Herrero's Recipientes (1993), Works from Repasando series (1993-95)
Herlitzka + Faria
Herrero was part of a movement of feminist artists that emerged in Argentina following the end of the brutal dictatorship in 1983. One piece, of a table setting with hanging cloth towels subtly printed with a peace sign, draws on the domestic image and how it “compresses and liberates” women. And a trio of paintings from the 1990s examine women’s bodies “as a weapon, as a battlefield and as a bridge”.
Ximena Garrido-Lecca's Signal Restorations: Light sensor with relay (2022)
80m2 Livia Benavides
“What she’s doing here is playing with the idea of a circuit,” Hakel says of Peruvian artist Garrido-Lecca’s wall sculpture, based on a schematic from an electrical engineer. “But what’s producing the energy are all these ritual objects and different minerals like gold and quartz. It’s trying to reconnect with the past from the colonial perspective, in these countries that have this very whitewashed history of the erasure of Indigenous people.”
Amalia Pica's Quasi Catachresis #5, Quasi Catachresis #6
Pica, a London-based Argentinian artist, employs a figure of speech known as “catachresis”, or mixed metaphors, to title her delicately positioned sculptures and mobiles, drawing on the similarities between the names of body parts and the objects she uses in the works. “At a certain point, it creates a sort of poetry,” Hakel says.