Room 002.11
The Invention of Race

The pieces that articulate this space critically analyse visual systems of representation and exhibition. From different standpoints, they reference the classifying project of illustration as a biopolitical technology operating at different levels of society, as well as highlighting some of the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion which, from institutions, unshackle situations of violence, exploitation and marginalisation, processes of rule that would be repeated after colonies gained independence.

Artworks in the room

Images of the room

Room 002.11
Room 002.11

Room 002.11

The pieces that articulate this space critically analyse visual systems of representation and exhibition. From different standpoints, they reference the classifying project of illustration as a biopolitical technology operating at different levels of society, as well as highlighting some of the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion which, from institutions, unshackle situations of violence, exploitation and marginalisation, processes of rule that would be repeated after colonies gained independence.

Sandra Gamarra’s display cases contain two-dimensional reproductions of Andean ceramics hailing from the Pre-Columbine collections of Spanish museums and are classified using the same methods as museums, spaces that arrange and marginalise knowledge. The works allude to the discarded culture of the colonised, and of mixed race and immigrant peoples. Cut out and painted with mimetic precision, the piece reproduces on the back words which have historically, and pejoratively, described the “other”: heretic, pre-Columbian, anti-social, anti-systemic, idle…

In Pinturas de castas (Caste Paintings, 2019), Daniela Ortiz recovers a pictorial genre, caste painting, which became popular in the 18th century among viceroyalties of the Americas — different series comprising sixteen paintings which depict racial mixing as a symbolic representation of the society of the colonies. This census led to the stereotyping of difference among races, facilitating discrimination and aggrandising, according to Ortiz, white supremacy. The artist uses the viceroyalty genre to condemn situations of institutional racism in different spheres of contemporary society, expounding the Eurocentric nature of groups of anarchists, feminists and intellectuals. They represent sixteen types of whiteness — corporate, medical, bureaucratic — which replace the sixteen races in the series of traditional caste paintings.

By virtue of an altered lithograph from the series Perrear el dolor (Cheating Pain, 2018-2020), the theme of which establishes a link between colonialism, the implementation of the modern heterosexual regime and Afro-indigenous resistance to such enforcement, the Ayllu Collective sets out a critique of colonialism and the heteronormativity it promotes. These relations have been corroborated by the narratives of conquistadors and chroniclers, by the oral memory of indigenous resistance and by the European representations of Abya Yala from the 16th and 17th centuries.

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