Artist: Marco Montiel-Soto
Exhibition title: Sea sickness for a tragic ‘tropic’: notes on the other island
Curator: Lidia Gil Calvo
Dates: 09.08.2019 to 20.10.2019
Place: CAAM – San Antonio Abad. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Produces: CAAM, Cabildo de Gran Canaria.
“Visitors must not be surprised if, on delving into this exhibition, they feel possessed by the spirit of adventure and perceive the thrust of the winds.
This project arises from two journeys that the Venezuelan artist Marco Montiel-Soto made to the Canary archipelago, in search of a kind of imaginarium from his country of origin, inspired by the scientific expeditions of nineteenth-century explorers. The fact is that there has been a constant connection between Venezuela and the Canary Islands since Columbus’ first voyages. The trade winds and ocean currents naturally facilitate this bond. After the Spanish Civil War, there was a mass wave of clandestine emigration from the Canaries to Venezuela, the promised land of that time which was in the midst of an economic boom due to oil extraction. And yet, since the turn of the last century, this migratory flow has reversed, in the light of the catastrophic situation that the Caribbean nation has found itself in. The descendants of those who had left in search of a more promising future than what the post-war period seemed to offer were now returning to the islands, given the impossibility of continuing to lead a decent life there. Migratory flows in the age of new economic and technological colonialism are one of the great challenges of globalisation.
Montiel-Soto, who also left his country and settled in Berlin, tells us about Venezuela through an installation composed of built structures and symbolic, artist-intervened found objects. Connecting with field work in archaeology and anthropology, he uses materials collected from the site, impregnated with life, such as newspapers, coins, postcards, old photographs, books, sound and video recordings, which he transforms into art loaded with critical and reflective content, showing the complexity of history and the extent to which it affects people and their cultures. In the same way, he introduces us to the Canarian legacy that travelled to the Americas too, reminding us of that metaphorical sea sickness that afflicted the thousands of migrants who undertook that harsh crossing in “ghost ships”, towards the dream that, until very recently, was considered the “eighth Canary Island”.
Lidia Gil Calvo