Attentive to the Footprint that We Leave
El Comercio: Luces
Sunday, September 5, 2021
By: Enrique Planas
In Roberto Huarcaya's exhibition, visual creators become the object. This series of portraits, made with the technique of photogram, can be viewed at El Centro de la Imagen.
The work began with the first portrait of the photographer Fernando La Rosa. At the end of 2016, in the artist's last visit to Lima, his colleague and friend Roberto Huarcaya told La Rosa about the concept of his project: portraying a series of personalities linked to photography with the technique of the photogram, that is, the “footprint” of the body on the photographic paper, without the intermediation of the lens of a camera. La Rosa accepted and proposed to pose for him on his return to Lima the following year. However, months later he called Huarcaya on the phone to tell him that according to the doctors' diagnosis, he would not make it to Lima as planned. However, La Rosa commented that he remained enthusiastic to be a part of Huarcaya’s project.
Accelerating his plans, Huarcaya flew to Macon, in the state of Georgia, USA, where La Rosa resided. They went to Wesleyan College, where he taught his classes, and in the darkened photography studio they cut two meters of photographic paper. Huarcaya asked La Rosa to lie down on it, to make that narrow territory his own, and to say when he felt comfortable. The Lima photographer wore a small red lantern fastened to his forehead, watching his friend choose the position. Then his model announced: "This is how I am very comfortable. So much so that I am falling asleep" Huarcaya fired his little hand flash. Due to the darkness, the outlined silhouette was exactly marked on his retina. He shot two more times to give the image, that would be fixed on the paper, a volume, a rhythm, a texture, which would enrich the flat image produced by the first flash.
Huarcaya had many conversations with his colleague during his week long visit. They returned to the Wesleyan studio where La Rosa also photographed Huarcaya, as if the farewell was based on the exchange of their representations. Two weeks later, in early November 2017, La Rosa, one of the founders of contemporary Peruvian photography, a master of image fragmentation, passed away. Fixed on the photographic paper, we can see his almost spectral silhouette, leaning back with his cane at his side, a testimony of touching fragility and iron will at the same time.
Although at first glance one could consider these portraits as ghostly, mysterious and elusive figures, it is enough to sharpen the gaze to recognize familiar heights, curvilinear shapes, characteristic hairstyle, among other manifestations of identity. "Historically, our way of recognizing the other has affected facial gestures. In these times of pandemic, when we all wear a mask, we doubt for a few seconds whether the people who approach us are familiar or not. And we have to make sure we are attentive to the height, hair, body movement, information that we don't usually need. What this project does is investigate the other messages that the body communicates, its movement, positions, curves, or tensions. A gesture that is forgotten because it is not needed," explains the artist.
Things of the Body:
Paraphrasing the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, in the images of Huarcaya the representation of the unconscious of those portrayed emerges from the shadows. These silhouettes are a natural consequence of the work that he has been doing since his celebrated series "Amazogramas" in 2014, and that in recent years he has been developing both on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and in the registration of dances in Andean communities. However, for the first time, in "Cuerpos develados" (Revealed Bodies) (Work in progress 2017 ...) the artist proposes a figurative register. Therefore, it is noted that the work has had the complicity of its own union between photographers, critics, gallery owners or collectors. The photo sessions have been carried out in the most diverse places, from the bathroom of a hotel to the living room of the house of the person being portrayed. Huarcaya only needed the darkness of the night, a couple of black fabrics to cover the windows, his small handheld flash and two meters of floor so that his portrayed person can stretch.
"I have been doing portraits for a long time, and it seemed interesting to me to portray a particular objective group, those responsible for photographic production in the broadest sense, the set of networks of visualization, production and distribution of photography. In this context, I decided to look at Peruvian creators. This exhibition puts the emphasis on them, in addition to some visible heads of international production and theory linked to our country such as Luis Camnitzer, Joan Fontcuberta or Alejandro Castellote ", explains the photographer.
Thus, the selection that El Centro de la Imagen exhibits since Tuesday displays 38 images of a project that already has a hundred, and that aims to achieve double before concluding the experiment. "We are halfway there, but it seemed interesting to me to show the progress of a work that was frozen by the pandemic," he says.
By reopening the cultural area of El Centro de la Imagen, a professional school with Ministry of Education recognition, it is propitious that the photographers themselves, or rather the footprints of their bodies, re-open El Ojo Ajeno Gallery. Indeed, for Huarcaya "Revealed Bodies" is a tribute to photographic production, a celebration of lives linked to photography, presenting their own traces on photosensitive paper.
Likewise, it is very interesting to note how, in the complicity between photographer and photographed, each of his models proposes their own staging. "I usually give advanced invitation to the portrayed so that they begin to think how they want to be represented, what they want to construct with their body. Some are more spontaneous, others more theatrical, more elaborate. But regardless of all that, the final surprise is always very important" Huarcaya adds. The viewer can attest to them.
Lima, Peru, September, 2021
El Ojo Ajeno Gallery, El Centro de La Imagen
FERNANDO LA ROSA - 1943 Peru - 2017 USA
MFA, Tulane University, New Orleans LA
Workshop studies with Minor White, Boston, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
BFA, Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Lima, Perú
Museums & Institutions:
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Peter Bunnell Collection, Princeton Art Museum, Princeton, NJ Center for Creative Photography, Arizona State University, Tucson, AZ
City of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Columbia University, NYC
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
FOLI Museo de Fotografia, Lima, Peru
Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, GA
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Hollins University Museum, Roanoke, VA
Macon Museum of Art and Science, Macon, GA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, N.Y. (Archeological Department)
Museo de Arte de las Americas, Washington, DC
Museo de Arte de Lima, Perú
Museum of Art of Georgia, Athens, GA
Museum of Fine Art of Houston, Houston, TX
Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta
Nancy Sales Day Collection of Latin American Art, RI
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Polaroid Corporation, Boston, MA
Princeton Art Museum, Princeton, NJ
Rhode Island Museum, Providence, RI
Tulane University, Latin American Library Special Collections, New Orleans, LA
Wesleyan College, Macon, GA
Private Photography Collections:
Lucinda Bunnen, Atlanta, GA
Jean-Louis Lariviere, France
Juan Mulder, Lima, Peru
Leticia & Stanislas Poniatowski, France
Harry Ransom Collection, Austin, TX
Melvin & Lorna Rubin Family Collection, Gainesville, Florida
Astrid Ullens, Brussels, Belgium
Alabama Power Co., Birmingham, AL
Alston Bird, Washington, D.C.
Compaq Computer Corporation
Deloitte Consulting, Atlanta, GA
ENFOCA SAC, Lima, Peru
Fidelity Investments, Boston, MA
King & Spalding, Atlanta, GA
Kilpatrick Stockton, Atlanta, GA
Milgrim, Thomajan, Lee, New York, N.Y.
NYNEX, Atlanta, GA
Sony Corporation, N.Y.C., NY
Southern Trust, Macon, GA
Sugarloaf Partner, Atlanta, GA
SURA, Seguros, Lima, Peru
2018 Homenaje a Fernando La Rosa, LimaPhoto, Lima, Peru
2018 La Segunda Imagen, Galeria Ojo Ajeno Centro de la Imagen, Lima, Peru
2017 East and West Galleries, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA
2014 Museum of Art of Georgia, Athens, GA
2013 Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
2009 FotoFest, Houston, TX
2008 Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norteamericano. Retrospective (October)
2008 Festival de La Luz, La Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2008 Sandler Hudson Gallery, Atlanta, GA (April)
2007 Galeria Lucia de La Puente, Lima, Perú (November)
2006 Atrium Gallery, Hartsfield Int. Airport, Atlanta, GA (September)
2005 Wesleyan College, Macon, GA
2004 Wesleyan College, Macon, GA
2003 Atrium Gallery, Hartsfield Int. Airport, Atlanta, GA
2003 Bienal de Florencia, Florence, Italy
2002 Sandler Hudson, Atlanta, GA
2002 Wiregrass Museum, Dothan, Al
1999 Galería “Ojo Ajeno”, Lima, Peru
1998 Museo de Arte de Querétaro, Querétaro, México
1998 Sicardi-Sanders, Houston, TX
1997 Business Center of Alabama, Montgomery, AL (October)
1996 Sicardi-Sanders Gallery, Houston, TX
1995 Museo of the Americas, Washington DC
1993 Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX, March
1992 Galerie Simmone Stern, New Orleans, LA, January
1990 “Nueva Luz”, Art in General Gallery, NYC
1989 Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans, LA
1988 Nexus Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
1987 Galería de la Municipalidad de Miraflores, Lima, Perú
1987 Upstairs/ Downstairs Gallery, Kingston, Jamaica
1984 Altos de Chavón, Dominican Republic
1979 Parsons School of Design, New York, N.Y.
1978 Secuencia Foto-Galería, Lima, Perú
1977 Secuencia Foto-Galería, Lima, Perú
1975 Galería Forum, Lima, Perú
2017 Galeria Lucia de La Puente, October, “Huellas”, Lima, Peru
2016 Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX
2015 Galeria Lucia de La Puente, November, “Luz Razante”, Lima, Peru
2014, ’12, ’11 LimaPhoto, Centro de la Imagen, Lima, Peru
2013 El Show de Diana, Galeria Telefonica, Lima, Peru
2010 The Collector’s Eye, FotoFest Gallery, Houston, TX
2008 Spanish Cultural Institute, Lima, Peru
2008 Lorraine Haugen Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2007, ’08, ’10 Lucia de La Puente Gallery, Lima, Peru
2006 MALI Fotografia, Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
2005 “Stone/Piedras” Centro de la Fotografia, México DF
2004 Photography is Art Gallery, Gallery 414, Fredericksburg, TX
2003 West Georgia University, Carrolton, GA
2003 “Stone/Piedras” Institute of Mexican Culture, Miami, FL
2003 “Paradise Lost” Lowe Art Museum, Coral Gables, FL
2002 Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
1999 “Neolitica” Centro de la Imagen, Lima, Peru
1998 Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
1997 La Primera Bienal de Iberoamericano en Lima, Lima, Peru
1997 Museo de Arte de Lima, “Documentos 1960-1990”, Lima, Perú
1997 Photographic Image Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
1996 “Fotografía Peruana” Coloquio Mexicano de Fotografia, DF, México.
1995 Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
1995 Bienal de Fotografia, Sao Paulo, Brazil
1993 Encuentro de Fotografia Latinoamericana. Caracas, Venezuela. Nov.
1993 "Tres Artistas Peruanos", Universidade du Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1993 Faculty Exhibition, Tulane University Gallery, New Orleans, LA
1993 "History of Photography in Latin America”: “Canto a la realidad":Casa de las America, Madrid, Spain.
1993 Five Latin American Photographers, Rice University Gallery, Houston, TX
1993 "Ancient Art of the Americas", traveling exhibition:
Chicago Art Institute, Ill
Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
1992 Phyllis Weil Gallery, New York, N.Y.
1991 New Orleans Museum of Art/Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
1991 “Revealing Light”, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
1990 University of New Orleans Gallery, "Selections 13", New Orleans, LA,
1990 Galerie Simonne Stern (9 Gallery artists), New Orleans, LA,
1989 "Images of Silence: Photography from Latin America in the"80s":
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, N.Y. Feb.-April, 1990.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 22,
1989 The School of Art & Architecture Gallery, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA
1989 Galerie Simonne Stern, New Orleans, LA
1989 Photography Southeast:The Manipulated Image. Gulf Art Center, Belleair, FL
1989 "State of the Arts: Georgia" Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans,LA
1988 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA “Georgia Artists "Works from the Collection"
1988 National Endowment for the Arts/ SAF: Award Recipients, traveling exhibition:
Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA
University of Montevallo Gallery, Montevallo, AL
North Carolina State University Gallery, Raleigh,N.C.
Edison Community College FT Myers, Fl
Lander College Gallery, Greenwood, S.C.
Louisiana Arts & Science Center, Baton Rouge, LA
1987 Trujillo Biennial, Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Trujillo, Perú
1987 The First America:
Rhode Island Museum, Providence RI, Americas Society/Center for Interamerican Relations, New York City.
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX
Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA
University Gallery,University of Florida,Gainesville,FL
1986 Atlanta Photo Salon, Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA
1983 Galería Venezuela, New York , N.Y.
1979 Secuencia Foto-Galería, Lima, Perú
1976 “ImagenX10”, Galería Banco Continental, Lima, Perú
1970 Instituto de Arte Contemporáneo, Lima, Perú
1998-2017 Professor-in-Residence, Photography, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA
1989-1998 Assistant Professor of Art, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
1984-1985 Assistant Professor, Photography, Altos de Chavón /Parsons School of Design, La Romana, Dominican Republic
1978-1984 Manager and Instructor, Photography Department Parson School of Design,N.Y.C.
1976-1978 Director and Instructor, Secuencia Foto-Galería, Lima, Perú.
1998 Panelist, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson
1993 Lecture/Slide presentation, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
1993 Lecture, Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX
1992 Lecture/Slide presentation, Society for Photographic Education conference, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
1991 Lecture/Slide presentation, Illinois State University, Normal, IL
1990 Consultant, Arts International " International Visual Artists Program"
1990 Panelist, Society for Photographic Education, New Orleans, LA
1990 Lecture/slide presentation, SECAC, Atlanta College of Art. Atlanta, GA
1991 Lecture, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
90-91 Panelist, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Baton Rouge, LA
1989 Lecture, University of Southern Louisiana, LA
1984 Lecture/slide presentation, Altos de Chavón/Parsons School of Design, La Romana, Dominican Republic
79-80 Research and exhibition, "Photographic History of Perú", a series of exhibitions, Secuencia Foto-Galería, Lima,Perú
76-80 Editor of "Secuencia Textos", with Mario Montalbetti y Billy Hare; conceptual writings on photography.
76-79 Director of "Secuencia Foto-Galería", Lima, Perú
1975 Curator of "Image x 10" Photographic exhibition Galería Continental, Lima, Perú
1977 Curator of "Martin Chambi", photographic exhibition at Secuencia Foto-Galeria,
76-80 Founder and President of "Asociación Cultural Secuencia", non-profit photographic organization, Lima, Perú
GRANTS & AWARDS:
1992 Louisiana State Division of the Arts, Fellowship, Baton Rouge, LA
1989 Kohlmayer Award, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
1988 Georgia Council for the Arts, Atlanta, GA
1988 Fulton County Arts Council, Atlanta, Georgia
1987 Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Atlanta, GA
1987 National Endowment for the Arts/ SFA
1986 Kodak Award of Excellence Polaroid Corporation