In his meditative novel on migration as a form of rebirth, “The Enigma of Arrival,” V. S. Naipaul ruminates that to leave one’s homeland is to be fractured, culturally certainly, and to experience a fissure in the psyche that an artist desires to mend through creative forms of reinvention.
Upon relocating from her native Peru to New York City, the wanderlust that struck her at a young age has never left Grimanesa Amorós, an artist whose work – often inspired by far flung locales — traverses the psychological fissures embedded in personal identity and community. Interestingly, and unlike many of her contemporaries, her interdisciplinary approach – sculpture, lighting, film / video and painting – evokes historical, theoretical and mystical sources, reinventing visions and conceptions of the surroundings and stimuli that encompass us.
At APART Festival at the Chapelle De La Persévérance in Tarascon, her nous asserts itself in the installation “Golden Uros.” A few words about “Uros,” which has an eerie alliterative association to ‘Amoros.’
The Uros are a pre-Incan people who inhabit forty-odd floating islands in Lake Titicaca which borders Peru and Bolivia. Dried totora reeds are bundled to make reed boats and to reinforce the islands themselves. Today, only a few hundred Uros remain on these islands, the majority have migrated to the mainland. In researching the beliefs and customs of the Uros, Grimanesa Amorós discovered a deep well from which she taps again and again for inspiration.
The “Golden Uros,” summons up the ancient tradition of the Incas to glorify their deities with masks forged of pure gold; the work is a self-deification of the artist herself. Her meditative self-portrait – framed by concentric halos or crowns — engenders a curious gravitational pull.
Currently, Future Pass, a collateral event of the 54th International Venice Biennale, displays her lighting sculpture — LEDs, diffusion material, vinyl, custom lighting sequence, electrical hardware — “Uros Island.” An illuminated sculpture, “Uros House,” was installed in Times Square last March, and The Big Screen Project featured her videos projected in a public plaza in New York City.
Working out of a studio in Tribeca, Grimanesa Amorós has 20 solo and 80 group exhibitions to date, and her work is in the collections of numerous museums, foundations and corporations. Brace yourself for more stimulating and delightful reality-warping surprises — even more Uros — to come.
Exhibit at Chapelle De La Persévérance, Rue Proudhon, 13150 Tarascon, until August 17. Other artists with installations include Philippe Cazal, Jean Daviot and Pablo Reinoso.
APART Festival: website
Grimanesa Amorós : website
Town of Tarascon: website