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Doubtful Strait

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The winner by Margarita        Azurdia
Margarita Azurdia

Suspicion syndrome by Lázaro       Saavedra
Lazaro Saavedra

Untitled (No borders here) 2005-2006 by Shilpa        Gupta
Shilpa Gupta

On Translation: Fear/Miedo by Antoni       Muntadas
Antoni Muntadas

Corresponding lines by  Liliana        Porter
Liliana Porter

Simple figures  by Waltercio        Caldas
Waltercio Caldas

Simple figures  by Waltercio        Caldas
Dec 01, 2006 - Feb 15, 2007
San José, Costa Rica

Doubtful Strait
by Clara Astiasarán

For a few days within the duration of the exhibition, Costa Rica became the epicenter of international art. Nothing more positively challenging than Estrecho Dudoso was happening in the world and we saw curators and international collectors join us in order to be part of a celebration shared by artists from all over the world. The project was structured around 4 central exhibits Lí­mites [Limits], Rutas Intangibles [Intangible Routes], Tráficos [Traffics]and Noticias del Filibustero [News from the Filibuster] - and two single ones (Juan Downey’s Convivencias and Margarita Azurdia's Margarita Rita Rica Dinamita). All emphasized something that was addressed by the exhibit: the constant dialogue and flow among artists who differ by their place of origin, curricular background, integration within the international artistic circuitry etc. A short review of what "they missed out on" would serve to account -however insufficiently- for what happened at the Estrecho.

The encounter with Azurdia’s and Downey’s work was a welcomed surprise. The former confirmed the feasibility (read this as also being regional) of telling the story of one’s art from the perspective of complex and avant-guard figures. Prolific, versatile and polemic, the work of the artist once known as Margo Fanjul exudes modernity, all the while establishing a link with indigenous cultures and with the cultural patrimony of Guatemala. Her work was reviewed by the Guatemalan curator Rosina Cazali and permission was granted by the foundation in charge of Azurdia’s artistic and literary work.

In the meantime, the work of Juan Downey, a pioneer of Latin American video art, reached us thanks to a collaboration between Marilys Downey and Justo Pastor Mellado. What is involved is the registering of a Convivencia by the artist with the yanomami Indians of the Amazon basin, one in which photography, video and drawing are fused together. This exhibit, perhaps due to an audio-visual prejudice became the most moving and impacting of the entire event. The discourse is now outmoded within contemporary art but the work is precise and generous in defining every visual encounter. The drawings that Downey made after the mystical sessions bring to mind that complex structure of thought proper to abstraction, but in its place the representation is embedded within the investigation of transcendence and ritual.

Lí­mites [Limits] and Rutas Intangibles [Intangible Routes] remain very close to one another in their intellectual and visual aims. Perhaps because of the way in which Limits deals with what can not be represented, it establishes a common link with Routes. The difference in these displays lies in that Routes juggles representational possibilities at the formal level, bringing into play a pertinent citation involving the Cisneros Collection that we had had the opportunity of seeing here a year earlier and which made the work of Gego, Soto or Maggi come together side by side with the regional names of Aní­bal López or of the very young Costa Rican Paola González.

Limits for its part, widens its inquiries from the historical, geographical, or political fields and sets itself up as a vital exhibition of a project attempting to shorten the distances that separate different worlds - appealing to modernity and to globalization services - just as it discovers the planet’s limitations resulting from frontiers of an ideological, racial and controlling kind.

A success story is the harmony connecting these two displays at the MADC, where Lí­mites is concerned, we see the powerful relation that is established between On traslation by Antoni Muntadas and the Sí­ndrome de la sospecha [Suspicion Syndrome] by Lázaro Saavedra. As pertains to Routes, the dialogue established among Jesús Soto, Graciela Sacco, Oscar Muñoz and Waltercio Caldas reinforces the idea of the intangible.

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