No element, however, has the final word in the construction of the future / Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brazil, 2018
Press release/ April 7 – May 17
Mendes Wood DM São Paulo is pleased to present the third solo exhibition of the Swedish-Argentine artist Runo Lagomarsino. Lagomarsino unites new and previous works that elaborate on the legacy of colonialism, geopolitics, cultural boundaries and power relations from an almost untraceable melancholic perspective.
In the first room, the wall is completely stamped with the words America Amnesia, reflecting on the erasure in the Americas’ historiographical process and its cultural transformations. At the same time, the work questions the reading of the word America as referring exclusively to the United States. A Ford Falcon 78 lamp illuminates one of the walls, a lamp taken from a car model known in Argentina for being used by paramilitary government forces in kidnappings and “desaparecimientos" during the dictatorship. Forces like the Triple A (Argentinian Anti-Communist Alliance).
A light that has no shadow.
To lighten the eyes in the darkness, to remove the melancholy, to comfort the weakness of the heart and to bring joy and magnitude; these are soothing properties attributed to gold by a Spanish goldsmith, half a century after the conquest of New Spain. However, when Hernán Cortés told Montezuma that he and his fellow conquerors were suffering from a heart disease that only gold could cure, was he referring to that same weakness? Was he expecting empathy from the Aztecs, believing that they could not deny him their medicine? Or was he expressing the awareness that the Metropolisis defined only by the Other, by the gold of Other (Ouro do Outro)? Does Cortés deceive Montezuma in order to supply the crown’s treasury, or does he acknowledge the weakness of the system?
The inseparable relationship between conquest and dependence is one of the convergence points of the works in the exhibition. The works are not presented as effortless creations – be them applied in the gallery space, in a branded baseboard suggesting a domesticity, or repeatedly stamped on the walls, using a bureaucratic tool – the stamp – creating a mural, or silkscreens applied vertically to the wall, contradicting the natural flow of the ink. On the contrary, the works produce friction, occupying a position where the past is not static, but fluid and negotiable.
A caravel covered by fog, an illustration from the book Primera crónica y buen gobierno written by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayalas and a clipping from a British newspaper with the caption A soft stroke and ... A farewell kiss. The newspaper shows the greek actress and political activist Melina Mercouri visiting the Parthenon in the British Museum, as Minister of Culture campaigning for the temple’s repatriation. The mist that makes the horizon disappear (or the vessel), the Inca’s account that shows the extraction of an eye and therefore the ability to see, the eyes of the minister weeping over the marble that today holds the name of its discoverer; they are different gestures of resistance visible on the sanded walls.
His works have been included in several institutional exhibitions such as: A Universal History of Infamy, LACMA, Los Angeles (2017); The Restless Earth, Fondazione Trussardi, Milan (2017); Little lower layer, Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago (2017); Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2015); Under the same sun, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014).
Participated in: Prospect.4, New Orleans (2017); 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015); Gothenburg International Biennial (2015); 12th Biennial of Cuenca (2014); 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012); 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), among others.
His solo exhibitions include: We have been called many names, Nils Stærk, Copenhagen (2017); West is everywhere you look, Francesca Minini, Milan (2016); They Watched Us fora Very Long Time, La Criée Center for Contemporary Art, Rennes (2015); Against MyRuins, Nils Stærk, Copenhagen (2014); We have everything, but that's all we have, Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, (2013); This Thing Called The State, Oslo Kunstförening, Oslo (2013); Even Heroes Grow Old, Index, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm (2012).