Coca-colonized is a selection of work by South-, Central America- and Africa -based artists (both physically and conceptually). It is a response to the ideology that the influence of mass culture on another, what is termed ‘less established’ or ‘developing’ region, implies an absolute relationship between
the influencer and the impressionable. Coca-colonized is an attempt to question this relationship (neither prove nor disprove), rather provide evidence of how mass cultural influence has been absorbed, reinterpreted and at times rejuvenated, inverting this implied power relationship. What results is a new ‘third language’ that is beyond dual identity and more than a straightforward combination of mass culture and local culture—rather one that is a powerful cultural phenomenon in its own right.
- Anton Kannemeyer : Very, Very Good
Coca-colonized departs from the notion that artists’ reflect society in many of its forms (including, but not limited to, social, political and cultural)… and to push the notion further … have a capacity to preempt cultural trends. The exhibition is composed of artists chosen primarily for their response to the topic rather than for their specific geographical demarcation—although their unique context of country does factor in the work. Associated with countries in South- and Central America and countries in Africa, these artists sometimes echo and sometimes provide commentary on the influence of the ‘developed’ North. Collectively they reveal how these influences have filtered through—parts thrown away and other parts gradually absorbed—in to the everyday culture of these regions. The outcome is an identity metamorphasized from a complex and constructed multi-identity that in turn reflects cultural evolution. The artists in Coca-colonized have in common the ability to interpret and reflect contemporary culture as it evolves—specific and pertinent to
their experience—through this new language. A language that is unique in structure, composed by its regional setting, yet universal in its parts.
“As Legrain (2003) maintains, ‘The beauty of globalization is that it can free people from the tyranny of geography’…the increasing spread of democratic governments, liberalization of trade, liberal neo-economic reforms, the rise of technology, and the emergence of a truly global market for goods and services produced by modern industry have resulted in a decline in the significance of national and other barriers to globalization.” (Anon ; Globalization and Culture 2009).
It is commonly believed that globalization has made third-world markets more susceptible to external influence, much of which has been absorbed in to mainstream living. For generations the influence of the ‘developed world’ has integrated in to everyday life, becoming part of, and reinventing, cultural dialogue. Adapting from, and usurping its manipulative beginnings, this
dialogue emerges as a re juvenated and at times more compelling expression—creating an ethos of ‘palatable exoticism’ that is perhaps more attractive than ever.
Adding to this is an element of the accessible (and let’s be honest often the unpretentious).
The experience of being considered below (both physically and metaphorically) the Northern more established counterparts—specifically North America and Europe—connects these new cultural movements with the idea of being outside private spaces (museums, galleries, curatorial spaces- a traditionally colonialist enterprise). Aside from a select few who are able transcend to global status, lack of relevant exhibition opportunity inside formal and prolific private spaces creates the need to seek out alternative means of engagement with the audience.
Private vs. public ; interior vs. exterior ; excluded vs. included.
It is not unusual then that many artists in these regions work in peripheral spaces— informal and sometimes ad hoc spaces are connected more directly with ideas of ‘street’. Not ‘street’ for being lesser or impoverished and not for any reference to street art (which is in itself a genre), but rather for a direct interaction with street culture. These peripheral spaces are less filtered and have the ability to more readily engage the public, bringing the art experience intrinsically closer to its audience. For the artist the capability to receive audience response, be self reflexive and reactive, is immediate. The work invariably becomes rich in its integration with street culture and therefore an uninterrupted and effective reflector of mass cultural phenomena.
‘Periphery’ for these reasons is desirable. As an amalgamation of ideas amassing from layered influence and forming, through a generation of absorption, a new cultural language…which in turn has the ability to critique, extract from (both positive and negative), and therefore usurp its initial influence. No longer can one simply refer to dual identity, but rather an evolved identity reflecting the reality of living in multiplicity : an identity of a ‘local is global’ generation.
curated by Claire Breukel
work by :
- Anton Kannemeyer (South Africa)
- Peterson Kamwathi Waweru (Kenya)
- Cameron Platter (South Africa)
- Baudouin Mouanda (Congo)
- Maria Jose Arjona (Colombia)
- Simon Vega (El Salvador)
- Omar Obdulio (Puerto Rico)
- Reynier Leyva-Novo (Cuba)
- Emilio Chapela Perez (Mexico)
September 16 - November 20, 2010
Opening : September 16th, 7pm
special performance - Vienna Gallery Weekend
VIRES by Maria Jose Arjona
Sat, September 18th
start 1.30pm @ Galerie Ernst Hilger
The Vienna Gallery Weekend :
September 17th till 19th 2010. Fri, Sat, Sun 10am–7pm