José Vera Matos

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80m2 Livia Benavides


José Vera Matos’ drawings and transcriptions reflect on language and writing as essential tools for the conquest and domination of the Americas, but also on how those same tools later became a means of resistance used throughout history. For this occasion, the artist chose Édouard Glissant's Poetics of relation. Somewhere within these new drawings, in tiny print, Glissant tells us that the symphony of languages would be more livable than the reduction of a universal, neutralized, and standardized monolinguism.

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The texts selected by Vera Matos deal with a variety of aspects of the impact that the conquest had on the Americas. More than the historical event in and of itself what interests Vera Matos are the consequences and phenomena resulting from that violent clash between the two cultures. Colonial violence and resistance movements throughout history make themselves felt not only in wars of conquest and anti-colonial struggles, but also—later—in a number of facets of daily life beset by the tension between the “civilized” and the “savage,” between official culture and popular culture, between the Western ...

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To translate the content of the transcribed texts into an image, Vera Matos uses columns of text that make direct reference to the Spanish language and to language more broadly as an instrument of domination and control. The use of geometric elements and patterns present throughout pre-Columbian iconography visually affect those columns. Just as those columns of vertical text represent the forced imposition of a new way of thinking, the use of tiered and trapezoidal pre-Columbian patterns found in Incan tocapus and architecture, Tiwanaku pottery, and Paracas textiles serve to manifest rejection o ...


José Vera Matos' most recent exhibitions include: Fondation Cartier pour l ́art Contemporain (France), MALI - Museo de Arte de Lima (Peru), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), Delfina Foundation (UK), Museo del Barrio (USA), among others. His work is in the following collections: MALI - Museo de Arte de Lima (Peru), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Spain); Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Arts (France); Louisiana Museum (Denmark), Davidoff Foundation (Switzerland), among others.

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