Ivana de Vivanco Rhymes For Reason

Ivana de Vivanco recognizes that the simple banana has the capacity to wreak havoc. Ironically, within global trade systems, it already has. A commodity with more than 100 billion consumed annually across the globe1, this phallic fruit on the one hand offers affordable nutrition, and on the other has been at the heart of unjust labor practices and further disenfranchisement within “developing” countries. In her United States debut solo exhibition at Fabien Castenier’s BREACH gallery in Miami, de Vivanco affords the humble banana a Robin Hood persona, and activates the fruit as a tool for sweet revenge. Titled Splits and Slips, The Disobedient Banana, the exhibition alludes to America’s more superficial relationship with bananas; as a delectable and kinky dessert; as the protagonist causing a slip in Chaplin-esque slapstick comedy; and perhaps even as a duct-taped art edition—but it also suggests a possibility of a split world that is disrupted by slipping preconceived norms. A world where a disobedient banana is an activist.

Born in Portugal, de Vivanco grew up between Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and for the past decade has lived and worked in Germany. Congruently, her creative practice reflects this divergent background amalgamating culturally eclectic references and stylistic approaches, along with conflated logics of time and space. The result is paintings, drawings and sculptures that reflect historical and mythological research, an immersion into the history of painting inspired by her love for Flemish masters spanning the 15th to 17th centuries, as well as a romanticism evocative of Latin American Baroque. Adept at evoking drama, de Vivanco, in addition to these influences, adopts paradigms from literature and theater including children’s puppet shows to construct her visual stories. The picture plane of Everyday Bananas is connoted by a flat rectangle canvas reminiscent of a puppet show stage. The painting is divided between a pink world below encasing three bananas, and a puppet figure with detached head and arms shadowed on a blue backdrop above. As if in motion, the puppet enters the scene with red hands open in exclamation hovering over the bananas below. What would the figure be saying?

Anything can happen. The great banana peel of existence is always on the floor somewhere. - Robert Fulgham, Author

Recognizing that it is impossible to represent history accurately, the artist channels her early years of working in graphics and drawing as well as an unparalleled talent for composition, to re-stage history and myth into optimistic fantasy worlds. In Santiago’s Slip, the characteristic depiction of Santiago Matamoros later known as Santiago Mataindios or rather “St. James the Muslim and Indian killer” on his horse is overturned, literally. A woman sits below, and with a simple gesture of discarding a banana peel, effortlessly unseats this fragile ‘conquerer.’ The carnivalesque and colorful figures are fore-fronted as if made to act, by the artist, for onlookers. Reminiscent of the traditional British Punch and Judy puppet show where Mr Punch’s slapstick is instead turned on him, this mise-en-scene offers a vindication and a hopeful retelling of historical ‘truth’ that rights colonial wrongs.

However, despite this orchestrated thematic retelling, de Vivanco also creates a purposeful interpretive distance within her scenes by, in addition to conflating references, she confuses conventional narratives and reduces information to fundamental forms. In the portraits titled José Luis and Ana María, the male figure is inexplicably ‘camp’, and the female beams back with a farcical clown-like smile. Inspired by the aesthetics, costumes, dance and music of Andean carnivals where social norms are inverted within performance, de Vivanco creates characters that evoke the playfulness of the carnival while offering a social critique on gender. Her characters are titled after commonly used Spanish male and female names, and these ‘anyone’ personas are magnified on the canvas to the point of life-size abstraction, yet appear incongruous with our generalized understanding of masculinity and femininity, inviting ideological reinterpretation.

And, this is not the first time de Vivanco has used traditionally non-conforming characters to question gender representation in history. In her exhibition Two Pennies for Myself and Tea at the Spanish Contemporary Art Network in London in 2021, de Vivanco brushed up against entrenched modes of patriarchy by honoring women. Inspired by 17th century English activist “Captain” Ann Carter who led, and was executed for, her role in food protests, de Vivanco created a multimedia exhibition that depicted historical heroines, including a large portrait of Carter, in a language reserved for masculine glorifications. Continuing this dialogue in Miami, a painting of Petrona Yance shows her grasping a spanner with a bowl of bread on her head hiding more tools. Underrepresented for her role, along with 800 women, in smuggling tools to undo train tracks in an attempt to dismantle Colombian state control, de Vivanco shows Yance flanked by female accomplices and with an atypical sly grin that underpins true courage. Sadly, she was discovered and executed for this action in 1928.

De Vivanco’s commitment to (re)represent arduous past events while contradicting preconceived ideas is carried through three new sculptural works, which are composed of ceramic hands and feet detached and suspended from thin gold chains. These chained appendages inarguably reference human brutality and slavery, yet the ceramics is delicate and shiny while the chains are strangely ornamental, recalling the stringed puppet in Everyday Bananas or perhaps the earring worn by José Luis in his portrait. One could argue that de Vivanco has diffused the severity of oppression through playful representation, however her tactic is masterfully intentional. By using color, materiality as well as discursive layering, de Vivanco seduces, and dare we say even manipulates, her onlookers to lower their guard and entice them into a scene which is ultimately violent. However, rather than prescribing a set script, de Vivanco

offers enough information to set a scene in which to discover a wider range of narrative possibilities. The result is a juxtapositional push and pull that makes these sculptural installations and paintings deeply uncomfortable, and are perhaps de Vivanco’s most ardent psychological play.

The chain appears again in the diptych The Last Dance both as an enlarged abstracted form floating below and suggested as now broken, and as ornate jewelry on a naked and comically suntanned man. Recalling the monumentality of 18th century epic paintings by Jacques-Luis David depicting dramatic moments often fronted by a masculine hero figure, this large immersive painting is a stage where the central figure is absurd. An Andean woman smiles strangely as she hands him money, while a small masked man dressed in European garb sits on her back appearing helpless. Verging on parody, the conventional representation of these figures is comically, yet also subversively, reversed. Adding further discomfort, the works ‘style’ has a strange playful quaintness as a woman, knowingly smiling at onlookers, drapes a blue cloth behind the scene as if creating a stage curtain that signifies the scene is in fact a reenactment. This self-aware carnivalesque action is countered by an exactitude of colors, figure placement, posture and expression. In fact, the work is so precisely reasoned that de Vivanco simultaneously disrupts colonial storytelling conventions, and makes the futuristic stage play, gone right, believable.

Today, based in Leipzig, a town renowned for its origination of modern German painters, one cannot help draw parallels to the painterly exactitude and constructed narratives of one of the city’s celebrated artists, Neo Rauch. However, the similarity ends at aesthetics as de Vivanco’s playful humor and delicately interwoven thematics depart from Rauch’s looming satire. Instead her latently tense juxtapositions and subtle queering of representations are a subterfuge to themes in her work, which to date have included colonialism, human brutality, gender inequality, and more. De Vivanco’s paintings and sculptures in Splits and Slips disrupt colonial histories proffering hopeful fantasies that re-situate socio-political power systems. Definite in color and composition, the works invite attention while suggesting an alternative narrative that calls for a corrected and more ideal, even utopian space for living. Yet the artist refuses a neat resolve. Rather, de Vivanco provides a space to contemplate many positions and reasons for renewed contextual readings. If the banana is a tool for activism it has also been a witness of centuries of abuse—an abuse that continues today most connectedly to England’s football fields as fans stupidly toss bananas at black players. This only further illustrates that de Vivanco’s contemporary arguments against the inaccurate representation of and repeated violence within history are an ever important and reasoned warning to learn from past mistakes. 

Claire Breukel


Chilean-Peruvian Artist Ivana de Vivanco Gives Voice To The Overlooked Stories Of Nonconforming Women 


Covering painting, sculpture and video, Chilean-Peruvian artist Ivana de Vivanco examines capitalistic development through a feminist viewpoint in her site-specific intervention Two Pennies for Myself and Tea (2021) at London’s SCAN – Spanish Contemporary Art Network, warping male-centred systems of dominance and exploitation.

Despite its misleading resonance of a nursery rhyme, the title extracts a segment of German philosopher Karl Marx’s book Das Kapital (1867), which outlines the shockingly abusive terms agreed by children for their work in the silk manufacturers of Bethnal Green, where the show is located. Once a land of commons that sustained forests and marshlands, the area soon transitioned into a crowded, urban and poor quarter. Spotlighting the disintegration of communal territories, de Vivanco paints the entire floor of the gallery in fluor green. Simulating an open expanse of luscious grass in all its glory, its glowy coating reflects the underlying hue back to those present, like an avalanche of contamination that melts into one’s face: aromas of algae, infection, poison, snot, slime, or vomit – this is a synthetic colour that contains such radiance that it can rip and link the space all at once.

The largest painting in the exhibition, Captain Ann Carter (2021), embodies an archetype against patriarchy. A vibrant enactment of the conflicting protests of English activist Ann Carter, the wife of a middle-class butcher. In the midst of the industrial depression of the 17th century, Carter led riots in Malden in defiance of the escalating price of grain, encountering the inevitable fate of execution for her significant role in the uprising, her presumption of leading men, and her self-entitlement of the male rank “Captain.”

Referring to herself as “a composition freak,” de Vivanco’s work renders a turmoil of intercrossing perspectives epitomised in each gesture and silhouette. Advancing past the open greenery, the picturesque setting is strained by diagonal tensions that expose the intricacies of power-relations. de Vivanco’s figures in flux are amassed in their disposition, yet detached in their gaze, as if caught mid-commute during rush hour. No longer consenting to starvation, a fierce female carries away half a bushel of rye in her apron. Her stuffed physique is painted – almost painfully – red, but she marches heroically at the prospect of feeding her family.

However she is not alone. As sunny as it might seem, a Native female companion wears a woven hat, protecting herself from the cold as she pours rye in a vessel. Her thick, braided hair parallels the interlaced chains depicted on the border, which are torn apart, implying a necessary step in the process of human liberation. Fuelled by the possibility of food, a sketched infant follows, whose sharply delineated hand is clasping the legs of Carter in a subtle indication of not wanting to be left behind. Engaged in the frontline are those often outdistanced from mainstream society: children, women, colonial subjects – the others – or as activist Silvia Federici signals in her book Caliban and the Witch (1998), those who are essential for keeping communities together and for defending noncommercial conceptions of security and wealth.

With a passive facial expression, an anonymous character crosses a fence in a state of complete coordination. His right palm is held upright towards the unlawful receivers in an attempt to stop them immediately from trespassing. Simultaneously amorphous and definite, his enigmatic profile is symbolic of “the establishment,” also referred to as the bosses, the influential politicians, the well-connected upper-class, those undetermined and yet so pronounced. In Headquarter (2021), the artist offers an intimate portrait of this invisible force. Modest in scale but monumental in authority, he devours grains with such intensity that they spill out of the canvas, pilling onto the floor.

Also reaching the bottom surface is a headless giant made of fabric and hair that hangs from the ceiling, whose disproportionate pendulous arms stretch too far away from its body. The fragmented sculpture Capital Distancing (2021) and its performed video evoke with humour the breach between labour and value, questioning philosopher René Descartes’ understanding of bodies as extended, transportation vehicles of our independent minds. Featuring a persona seated at a dinner table, her green-tinted bare head echoes the lost commons and makes an allusion to the witchcraft trials, where the women accused were shaved so men could search for “witchery marks.” Within the bourgeois tableware, the subject, who dresses in the same ridiculously long garment that is suspended in the room, is being fed wheat in an absurd, puppet-like process. The distance is further reinforced by de Vivanco, who states “the hands produce, but are so far from the body of the producer. Labour works, the golden hands take.” In this disembodied transaction, the artist finds common ground by transforming violent histories of controlled bodies into sites of resistance that refuse capture.


Vanessa Murrell for Something Curated 


SCAN Projects is delighted to present “Two pennies for myself and tea” a site-specific exhibition of new works in painting, video, and sculpture by artist Ivana de Vivanco. 

De Vivanco began this project by diving into the histories of the area of East London and Bethnal Green. The title of the exhibition derives from Das Kapital, which Marx wrote in London, in which he lays bare the processes of the exploitation of labour, and in which he writes specifically of Bethnal Green as an example of a ‘notorious district’. Beyond the analysis of Marx, de Vivanco found generations of struggle and spontaneous resistance that often formed around a dynamic lead character, frequently a local woman. Women, responsible for food and for feeding, were protesting and being tried as witches – by no coincidence in the same areas of England where commons were being enclosed (privatised). The worst period of the witch trials was between 1580 and 1630, which coincides with revolutions in food production and changes to the food markets that caused food to become both more scarce and extremely expensive. 

Captain Ann Carter was the leading figure in the Maldon Grain Riots (1629) and was finally hanged by the state for her leadership. A century and a half later, women again resisted the widespread hunger and deprivation brought about by privatisations of common lands and organised The Housewives Revolt (1795). The revolt was forcibly ended by a state fearfully aware of the path of the recent French Revolution. The central painting of the installation is Captain Ann Carter using a visual idiom derived from a Latin American realism, popular culture, and Baroque compositions. 

Bethnal Green was originally a small common that later developed into a hamlet, and eventually was absorbed into the fabric of London. The name of the area is said to derive from Bathon Hall (Bethnal) – the name and home of a prominent 18th century local family -  combined with Green, a word that recalls the origins of the central open shared space of the area.  A green is an area of common or shared land, physically or metaphorically at the centre of a community. 

Green is also a metonym, naming work to de-carbonise, clean-up, improve our natural environment, or for general ideas about nature. Metaphorically it may imply a naïve posture,  or the state of being young or new to something, like a green sapling or a ‘green horn’. Green is associated with money (the dollar is colloquially called ‘greenback’), and with the negative face of desire, envy, and is typically invoked by ‘green eyed’ glances. Celebrity guests on stage or television programs are said to wait in a green room, and technicians and talking heads work in front of a green screen. It can also mean ‘go’ and is used to encourage change, for instance we give initiatives a ‘green light’ to begin. Whatever we mean by it, being green isn’t easy (simple to decipher), to paraphrase a famous frog. 

De Vivanco’s site-specific installation invites us onto the green, physically as well as visually. We stand on green and green colours the room and our sight. It is as if entering the aesthetic and historic reference of her works, but also like stepping into a ‘green room’ or in front of the ‘green screen’ of video production. Are we waiting for our performance, or already participating in its production? A single large painting (Captain Ann Carter) commands the room, bold and hopeful, and a sculpture/costume with absurdly long sleeves and golden hands evokes with humour the ‘capital distancing’ or the separation of labour and immaterial value. The golden hands produce but are so far from the body of the producer. Labour works, the golden hands also take. A work in video enacts this distant, nearly disembodied transaction. The work is playful, colourful, hopeful, inviting, and yet also mythological, historical, mighty, and wryly names dark forces and repeated moments of crushed resistance. 

De Vivanco works in oil on canvas, video, and in sculpture, playfully and provocatively reimaging and undermining images of historical and contemporary colonialism. She invokes rebellious women, reimagining and undermining images of historical and contemporary colonialism and the roles women have played (and still do) fighting on the front line against the destruction of their communities. 

She grew up and studied in Chile, in Ecuador and in Peru, and her education, experiences and imagery are informed by the aesthetics of Latin American Baroque, Andean culture, and the colonial histories that continue to form Latin American culture and our world. De Vivanco’s palette is bright, rich, and heightened, but also can feel menacing, riotous, and evoke intense emotional states. Her work is skilful, complex, and decisive with dense historical and theatrical influences and references, and explores topics of sexuality, family, society, history and performance. 

Bruce Irwin





It is romantic if you think it over, a house full of body parts aiming to become a creature: heads, eyes, breasts, arms. Segmented limbs collaborating with a house to craft a new organism, putting together each frustration, each loss, each memory. A communion of objects that despite all the ambitions they hold, despite all the desire they experienced, cannot help falling.

The Partial Object House is Ivana de Vivanco’s first solo exhibition in London. The Chilean-Peruvian artist conjures on this occasion a series of works focusing on the body as an accumulation of different parts infused by psychoanalytic theories. The artist invites the audience to inhabit a dissected anatomy, dedicating each floor of the building to a different fraction of the body.

Don’t you find this romantic? I cannot help thinking it is – maybe it is more of another kind of romanticism, the dark one typical from England, so cloudy, a bit deadly and sometimes uncanny. Like a modern Frankenstein laying on the couch in conversation with his therapist trying to understand all the memories from his recently discovered limbs. Nevertheless, the best way to figure it out is it to get into this body-building and explore it from within. It is indiscreet, but let’s take this chance.

We start from the head, we enter from there because the body is constantly falling and therefore, it is upside down. The head is the basis, it is holding this creature to the earth. The head is the meaning factory that will add content to the rest of the parts, the space for the trauma, the anxiety floor. All these emotions articulate in the room through de Vivanco’s imagery in works such as Von zu viel Sorge. This painting is inspired by the fifteen Century book The ship of fools by German theologist Sebastian Brand, which combines texts and engravings collecting different examples of human stupidity. Of the excessive concern – which inspired the artist to create this painting and gave it its title – it’s one of these examples and speaks about of our absurd obsession with carrying more than we can take. This feeling manifests in the painting through a central character who cries a pool of tears while another one caresses her head bewildered. This scene is a good example to understand how the head functions, trying to figure out an unreachable present that leads us to a constant distress.

While we ascend in the building we descend into this body and, after the convoluted head, we come into the guts, the stomach, the digestive tract. Here, in the belly of this creature, the body functions as a machine, processing food and taking what it’s needed to keep us alive. It is in here where emotions hurt. I am sure you have lost your appetite when something once touched you deeply, or made a choice following a gut feeling. De Vivanco creates this ready-to-assemble living machine to explore the connections between our guts and our social relationships, from belly butterflies to upset stomachs. The painting Odd Breakfast represents well these emotions in a theatrical scene where a few characters sit around a table. The breakfast has reunited them, but no one seems to be really there.

The top of this house is the bottom of this fictional figure, the legs, feet, toes. It is the floor of movement or its absence. Here the characters fool around, like Martha and Charles, two works by de Vivanco with interchangeable body parts. The legs of one character can be stolen by the other and they can dance and rename themselves inventing hybrid genders. On another wall a squared character looks at the scene. He/she has become one with the space after a long quarantine.
I think it’s romantic if you think it over. Ivana de Vivanco has created here a queer romanticism that is infused by her Latin American heritage; it is colourful and theatrical; it is ironic and sad. Deliberately uncanny, but bright and colourful like a carnival or a cathedral, this humanoid house is filled with stories narrated through scenes and sculptures that transcend the canvas. Altogether they draw a character that, as every human, is an accumulation of different parts, a compilation of many unique stories impregnated in each corner of our anatomy.

Rafael Barber Cortell





The Golden Triangle rule is intact. A brawl scene depicting a feisty rabble of colorful scamps tug at the braids of the woman centers the painting, as bendy guns shoot in every direction and socks n sandals clog dance over books strewn about. Irresistible vibrant colors, silly characters and silky surfaces on a large oil on canvas work anchor Ivana de Vivanco's new solo show, conceived as a critique on colonialism that continues to shape the modern world today. 

"The pieces of my last years of work strive to give form to fragments of the stories of Andean history in South America," de Vivanco explains in the artist statement accompanying her debut solo presentation, Pink Maneuver, with Josef Filipp Galerie in Leipzig, Germany. "They are impregnated with the aesthetic of Latin American Baroque, which has been probably the most colorful and painful Baroque of all since the wound of colonization has remained inscribed in it." Born in Portugal, raised in Chile, and educated in Germany where she currently lives and works, the Chilean-Peruvian artist's life experience strongly informed her interest in the subjects that star in her surreal visuals, just as current surroundings have informed much of her approach. Based in the epicenter of what's recognized in the world as New Leipzig School, de Vivanco's figurations are built on traditional painterly techniques and are assembled from a diverse range of visuals, ranging from velvety surfaces to expressive marks and raw gestures. Often placed in spaces with an accented sense of perspective and regularly denouncing the rules of physics or logic, her images occasionally transcend into real life through  sculptural work which adds to the impact of such rousing images. 

Entitled Ronda (meaning "loud" or "grand" in Welsh and Hebrew origin), the centerpiece of the show is the culmination of paintings and sculptures that form the exhibition. "Ronda has been an attempt to capture in one image something of this episode of history," the artist explains about this compelling image, referencing "the enormous discrimination it contains, and the circular quality of violence, in which gunshots turn back and generate whirlwinds." Bright blue skies and vivid details such as red socks or yellow sandals capture attention as they tug at emotion in playful elements ultimately lead to a sobering narrative.    

"I thought of the total installation, with its sculptures, its paintings, and its pink walls, as an invitation to go through and question social conventions, anchored in gender roles or in the supposed supremacy of western European knowledge. I’m fascinated about how humor and also tragedy can live together in a work of art, with all the tensions that that generates," the artist shared with Juxtapoz, as she also explained how the smaller canvases and her sculptural works made from cement, synthetic resin, plaster, and hair, often provide closeups of the primary scenes. Whether with the balloon-like blue head character yanking one of the braids, or a closeup of knees under the skirt with a chain around it,  the artist creates emotional metaphors to interpret dark history. Through her poetic approach, de Vivanco repurposes the bright colors of Andean carnivals and the dynamic rhythms and movements of their parades to construct her own vocabulary. The traditional dances and celebrations that honor the sun and the rain are cleverly twisted and strangled to address the colonial cruelty and injustice that has shaped much of the world.


Sasha Bogojev for Juxtapoz Magazine 


Una cabeza en el espacio forcejea por separarse de su cuerpo, pues quiere observar el universo a través del ojo de Dios. A pesar de estar convencida de su divinidad y de ser más azul y más brillante que el cielo, no lo logra. Lo intenta mil veces, pero permanece siempre encadenada a sus venas, a sus uñas, a su pelo. Cuando consigue, sin embargo, elevarse algunos centímetros por sobre sus hombros, arrasa con pueblos enteros, quema códices, corta trenzas.


Se trata del Complejo Cartesiano, dualista –que pretende enemistar cuerpo y mente– y monológico: una cabeza con pretensiones universales que reflexiona desde un cómodo rincón del mundo. Sus dos perfiles prácticamente idénticos dudan y dudan, pero nunca se ponen realmente en crisis, porque sólo se escuchan a sí mismos. Quizás la duda cartesiana no sea tan profunda como parece. Al fin y al cabo, ésta no acepta a ningún interlocutor en su discurso. A nadie se le permite remecer al pensador desde afuera. No hay ningún otro (y ni hablar otra) que esté a su altura.


La exposición Pink Maneuver (Maniobra Rosa) es una crítica a las estructuras de colonialidad que impulsaron la creación de la modernidad y que siguen rigiendo en nuestra sociedad. He pensado la instalación total –con sus esculturas, sus pinturas y sus muros rosados– como una invitación a recorrer y cuestionar algunas convenciones sociales, ancladas por ejemplo en los roles de género o en la supuesta supremacía del pensamiento europeo.


Varias obras de esta exposición nacen de la revisión e interpretación de episodios de la historia andina en Sudamérica. Uno de ellos es el conflicto armado entre Sendero Luminoso y el Estado peruano durante los años 80 y 90, el cual, promovido por el colonialismo interno, acumuló la gran mayoría de las víctimas en las zonas rurales y más pobres del país. 75% de las víctimas fatales hablaban quechua u otras lenguas nativas como idioma materno, cuando en el Perú sólo 16% de la población pertenecía a dichos grupos étnicos y culturales. La pintura Ronda ha sido un intento de recoger en una imagen algo de este episodio de la historia, de la enorme discriminación que encierra y de la cualidad circular de la violencia, en la que los disparos se devuelven y generan torbellinos.


Las obras de mis últimos años de trabajo se esfuerzan por darle una forma a fragmentos de estas historias y en el intento se impregnan de la estética del barroco latinoamericano, que ha sido probablemente el barroco más colorido y más doloroso de todos, pues en él ha quedado inscrita la herida de la colonización. Las escenas de las pinturas están representadas con los colores de los carnavales andinos y con los ritmos de sus danzas. En los bailes los cuerpos zapatean, se entrecruzan y chocan, pero se reconcilian en el momento en el que vuelven a coordinar sus movimientos al compás de la música.


Ivana de Vivanco

14 de enero de 2021


A head in a space wrestles to separate itself from its body, for it wants to observe the universe through the eyes of God. Although it is convinced of its divinity and it is bluer and brighter than the sky, it doesn’t succeed. It tries a thousand times, but it always remains chained to its veins, to its nails, to its hair. When it finally manages to rise a few centimetres above its shoulders, it wipes out entire cities, burns codices, cuts braids.


This is the Cartesian Complex, dualistic –it seeks to set mind and body against each other– and monological: a head with universal ambitions that reflects from a comfortable corner of the world. Its two practically identical profiles permanently doubt, but they never really question themselves, because they only listen to each other. Perhaps the Cartesian doubt is not as deep as it seems to be. After all, it doesn’t accept any interlocutor in its discourse. No one is allowed to shake the thinker from the outside. There’s no possible he (and no way a she) that is at his level.  


The exhibition Pink Maneuver is a critique of the structures of coloniality that drove the creation of modernity and that continue ruling our society. I thought of the total installation –with its sculptures, its paintings and its pink walls– as an invitation to go through and question some social conventions, anchored for example in gender roles or in the supposed supremacy of western European knowledge.


Several works in this exhibition are born from the review and interpretation of episodes of Andean history in South America. One of them is the armed conflict between Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the Peruvian State during the 80s and 90s, which, promoted by the internal colonialism, accumulated the vast majority of victims in the rural and poorest areas of the country. 75% of the victims spoke Quechua or other native languages as their mother tongue, whereas in Peru only 16% of the population belonged to these ethnic and cultural groups. The painting Ronda has been an attempt to capture in one image something of this episode of history, of the enormous discrimination it contains and of the circular quality of violence, in which gunshots turn back and generate whirlwinds.


The pieces of my last years of work strive to give form to fragments of these stories and in the attempt to do so they are impregnated with the aesthetic of Latin American Baroque, which has been probably the most colourful and painful Baroque of all, since the wound of colonisation has remained inscribed in it. The scenes in the paintings are represented with the colours of Andean carnivals and with the rhythms of their parades. In the dances the bodies stomp, intertwine and collide, but they reconcile themselves in the moment in which they coordinate their movements again to the rhythm of music.


Ivana de Vivanco

14th of January 2021





Blind Eye nace tras la residencia realizada por la artista chileno-peruana Ivana de Vivanco en Casa de Indias en 2021. Durante su estancia en el Puerto de Santa María la práctica de la artista se vio atravesada por una serie de encuentros con el pasado colonial de la zona que afectaron a su trabajo y lo pusieron en relación con los discursos en los que dicho pasado colonial se reinterpreta desde otros puntos de vista, para fracturarlo y discutirlo.

La exposición se centra en varios polos entre los que destaca la figura de Santiago Apóstol y su representación como conquistador de América en una de las iglesias más importantes de Cádiz. La obra Santiago Mata Indias, bebe de esta iconografía cristiana y la reconfigura al presentar una escena en la que Santiago cae del caballo cuando una de las indias a la que pretende aplastar realiza el sencillo acto de hacer cosquillas en la panza del caballo para que se tambalee y derribe al conquistador. Este gesto inocente que encabrita al caballo denota la fragilidad de un discurso que hoy en día es incapaz de sostenerse y está condenado a la caída mientras que, por otro lado, expone con ironía el final de una masculinidad caducada en la que las indias son las figuras poderosas que derriban al santo con cierto desdén y sin ápice de violencia. 

La figura de Juan de La Cosa, que según algunos teóricos fue el primero en trazar un mapa del mundo que incluye a América asoma también en la narrativa de la exposición a través de varios trabajos. En Santa MarÍa la artista presenta una escena alejada del dramatismo y más cercana al teatro aficionado o colegial en la que De la Cosa dibuja su mapa ante la mirada algo atónita de los indígenas, y con un Cristóbal Colón que aparece al fondo ensimismado mientras mira una moneda. De un modo similar en el retrato de De la Cosa, se nos presenta un personaje cuyos ojos están cubiertos por pequeñas hojas que le impiden ver. De nuevo con un gesto sutil y nada violento de Vivanco nos habla de esa incapacidad de ver al otro que tuvo el cartógrafo al crear un mapa que atendía solo a la tierra y sus potenciales formas de explotación olvidando por completo a sus habitantes y legítimos poseedores.

Blind Eye supone una visita a una iconografía del pasado que, sin embargo, desvela cuestiones que siguen siendo muy actuales hoy en día, muchos siglos después. La mirada de de Vivanco presenta con ironía la realidad de unas relaciones entre colonizadores y colonizados que siguen perpetuando políticas de desigualdad y explotación que deben ser miradas, analizadas desde la empatía y la mediación en igualdad de condiciones.

Rafael Barber Cortell



>1000 WORTE


„Und der erste Engel posaunete. Und es ward ein Hagel und Feuer,
mit Blut gemenget, und fiel auf die Erde. Und das dritte Teil der
Bäume verbrannte, und alles grüne Gras verbrannte.“
(Offenbarung 8,7)

Ivana de Vivanco (*1989) malt die Bühne des Lebens: Akteure, Gegenstände und Symbole plaziert sie in stark farbigen bis psychedelisch bunten Räumen mit beklemmend geringer Tiefe. Diese silhouettenhaft flachen Gehege lassen den Akteuren keinen Ausweg – Dramen, Grotesken und Komödien entwickeln sich mit schicksalhafter Unausweichlichkeit. Die funkelnde Pracht dieser verzweifelten Welten erinnert an den magischen Realismus und an den phantastischen, gnadenlosen Prunk des lateinamerikanischen Barock.

Der Bezug zu ihrer Biographie liegt nahe – Ivana de Vivanco wuchs in Chile, Peru und Ecuador auf. Sie studierte Kunst in Santiago und absolvierte anschließend bei Annette Schröter an der HGB Leipzig ein Meisterstudium. Aus dieser Zeit mag Vivancos Vorliebe für das virtuose Spiel mit Fläche, Textur und Räumlichkeit stammen.

Unsere Ausstellung „>1000 Worte“ faßt Werke narrativer und gegenständlicher Natur zusammen. Die drei gezeigten Gemälde Ivana de Vivancos entsprechen diesem Anspruch in großartiger Weise. Den Einstieg bildet das kleinste Format, eine „Nuage mis en abyme“, eine an Ketten hängende Wolke mit der Abbildung von Wolken, aus der es feurig regnet.


Die Erzählung hinter diesem kleinen Werk führt ins Neue Testament, zur Offenbarung des Johannes, nimmt Abstecher zu Magritte und verführt zu Gedanken über das Theatralische im lateinamerikanisch-spanischen Barock.

Eine ähnlich feuerregnende Wolke wird ins Bühnenbild der großen Komposition „Study for a Happy Apocalypse“ herabgelassen. Unter einem schweren Himmel, vor strahlendblauer Kulisse, auf kunstgrünem Rasen entfaltet sich eine befremdliche Szenerie. Ein vielleicht zehnjähriges Mädchen und seine Mutter führen vor einem männlich-weiblich-schaurigen Engel mit Posaune einen Adorantentanz auf. Ihre Gesichter sind hektisch gerötet, die Augen glänzen und sind auf den gen Himmel weisenden Posaunenträger gerichtet. Frau und Kind sind nahezu unbekleidet und bieten sich gestisch dar. Beim näheren Hinsehen erweist das aufgeregte Lächeln auf dem Gesicht des Mädchens sich nicht als Teil der Figur, sondern wirkt angeklebt. Das verwendete Rot kehrt wieder in seinem Slip, den Stelzen und Fingernägeln des falschen Engels, dem Feuerregen und dem roten Teppich unter der Frau. Die „Study“ entwirft eine apokalyptische Vision, bei der Gottes angeblicher Bote sich als Sendling des Bösen erweist. Mögliche Deutungsversionen – als Mißbrauchsdrama, Kolonialkritik oder Kirchenkritik – läßt Ivana de Vivanco offen.

Ihr „Self-Portrait as an Ostrich before Hiding It’s Head“ („Selbstportrait als Vogel Strauß, bevor er seinen Kopf verbirgt“, 2017, Öl auf Leinwand) zeigt die Künstlerin von einer völlig anderen Seite. Formell verläßt sie das Feld der schematischen Figuren, inhaltlich betritt sie das Terrain von Selbstironie und feiner Analyse. Ihr Selbstportrait präsentiert ein altes Mädchen in kurzen Hosen und karierten Kniestrümpfen. Ein unsicheres Lächeln heischt Verständnis, aus dem Wollpullover sprießt eine Straußenfeder. Die sitzende Figur wirft einen großen dunklen Schatten. Links trägt sie einen Handschuh, die Rechte ist entblößt. Was hat sie damit gemacht? Wobei auch immer: Sollten wir sie inflagranti ertappt haben, wird sie blitzschnell ihren Kopf verstecken. Das kreisrunde Loch im Riemchenparkett ist jederzeit aufnahmebereit ...

Jörk Rothamel



The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire
mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. …, a third
of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up..“
(Revelation 8:7 NIV)

Ivana de Vivanco (*1989) paints the stage of life: she places actors, objects and symbols in bold to psychedelically coloured spaces with oppressively little depth. These silhouette-like flat enclosures leave the actors no way out – dramas, grotesques and comedies develop with fateful inevitability. The sparkling splendour of these desperate worlds is reminiscent of Magical Realism and the fantastic, merciless pomp of the Latin American Baroque.

Her early influences are obvious – Ivana de Vivanco grew up in Chile, Peru and Ecuador. She studied art in Santiago and then completed a master‘s degree under Annette Schröter at the HGB Leipzig. Vivanco‘s preference for the virtuoso interplay of surface, texture and spatiality probably stems from this time.

Our exhibition „>1000 Words“ brings works of a narrative and representational nature together. The three paintings exhibited by Ivana de Vivanco meet this requirement splendidly. The introduction is provided by the smallest format, a „Nuage mis en abyme“, a cloud with clouds painted on it, hanging on a chain, and from which it is raining fire.


The story behind this small-format work links to the New Testament, to the Book of Revelation, it takes detours to Magritte and leads to thoughts about the theatrical in Latin American Spanish Baroque.

A similarly fire-raining cloud is the backdrop for the large composition „Study for a Happy Apocalypse“. Under a darkened sky, against a brilliant blue background, a disquieting scene unfolds on an artificial green lawn. A girl of perhaps ten and her mother perform a dance of adoration in front of a macabre male-female angel with a trumpet. Their faces are red with frenzy, their eyes gleam and are directed towards the trumpet bearer, who is pointing towards heaven. The woman and child are almost unclothed and have exaggerated poses. On closer inspection, the excited smile on the girl‘s face does not prove to be part of the figure, but appears to be pasted on. The red used there reappears in her slip, on the false angel‘s stilts and fingernails, in the rain of fire and the red carpet beneath the woman. The „Study“ creates an apocalyptic vision in which God‘s supposed messenger turns out to be the emissary of evil. Ivana de Vivanco leaves possible interpretations open – as a drama of abuse, colonial criticism or criticism of the church.


Her „Self-Portrait as an Ostrich before Hiding It‘s Head“, 2017, oil on canvas, shows the artist from a completely different angle. Formally, she leaves the field of schematic figures; in terms of content, she enters the terrain of self-irony and fine analysis. Her self-portrait portrays an older girl in short trousers and chequered knee-length socks. An uncertain smile begs approval, an ostrich feather protrudes from her woollen jumper. The seated figure casts a large dark shadow. On the left she wears a glove, the right is bare. What has she done with it? Whatever: if we have caught her in the act, she will hide her head in a flash. The circular hole in the striped parquet is always ready...

Jörk Rothamel





‘… works of art are the most intimate and energetic means of aiding individuals to share in the arts of living.’
‘Art as Experience’ by John Dewey, 1934

[I.art as experience]

In art, the presence of physicality breeds symbiosis. An exchange between artist and observer that relies on the act of creating to understand the creation itself. Such record of activity resides principally in the process. When this becomes visible, when an artist consciously leaves traces of life, encountering their work surpasses casual viewing to convey the purity of imperfection and complexity of human expression.

The works of Tom Anholt, Igor Moritz, Sola Olulode and Ivana de Vivanco in ‘Trace Evidence’ divulge material and mental environments through narratives of a shared cultural existence. This exhibition inquires into the necessity of biography, referencing fundamental understandings of essayist Roland Barthes doctrine of the ‘death of the author’ and how character need not condition interpretation. It instead favours those shared glimpses of circumstance, episode and incident. Art as lived experience.

Chilean-Peruvian artist Ivana de Vivanco extends an invitation to unveil obscured identities and histories, pursuing disclosure in the materiality of clay and oil. She stands out for the theatricality of her pieces which are equally as dramatic as they are discreet. The composition of ‘Western Hand’ bridges the chasm between figuration and abstraction to offer a metaphor for the writing of history amidst a prism of colonialism. Finding continuity within clandestine occurrences and sufferings universally recognised to constitute such, de Vivanco alludes to the complexities of emotion. The painting ‘Recognition Failure’ is reactionary in attempting to read greed, grief and guilt, expressing the impossibilities of omniscience both in reality and in paint. The sculpture ‘Triple Drama’ is contradictorily vivid however, in it’s unmasking of melancholy, is made humorous in an adoption of primary colours and cartoon-like semblance.

[II.material traces] 


As the characters emerge, these reveal patchworks of process. The artists in ‘Trace Evidence’ care for the phase of experience in which the artworks come to life. For this very reason, they do not shun moments of resistance and tension, instead cultivating them for their potential to bring spirit to a static scene. In the paintings of UK-based Tom Anholt, material traces are detected in contrasting textures that pull up stories from the past and present. The imaginary portrait ‘The Merchant’s Daughter’ emerges from its layered surface. Actions of destroying and rebuilding, where elements have been scratched into and wiped away, are reminiscent of an exploratory exercise of origination. Conscious of the tendency to become absorbed by detail, Anholt creates distance in his still life ‘Lisa I’. Placing emphasis on movement and modification, a wood board is prepared with beads of glue and thick oil skins like scars, telling a story of what came before.


The tactile painting ‘Whatever the Weather Study’ by British-Nigerian artist Sola Olulode embraces this investigation, distorting time and space by recasting one of her earlier works. Enclosed by two dancing figures, faded remnants of the original lovers remain. The close and yet distant embrace is both tinged with nostalgic raindrops and embraced by glorious sunshine. A crafted moment entrenching sadness and joy, opposites that are often quite prone to finding each other. The work becomes more than simply a rough redoing to acknowledge evolution as it interweaves notions of intimacy, memory and relief.


[III.susceptible existence] 


In scenes that place value on life as a series of forged connections, Olulode exemplifies experience as a bi-product of an interaction between the organic self and one’s surroundings. Monoprints ‘Walking Study’ and ‘Falling in Love’ depict the warm embrace of queer love where excess ink transferred from one to the next, continuing an anecdote of nostalgia and impression of touch.


Believing too that art is being; being faced with oneself or with the other, Polish born Igor Moritz uses his personal experiences to create familiar portraits that explore the juncture of the inner essence and the outer world. His painting ‘Christi drinking coffee in Balaklava’ and drawing ‘Błażej in Christmas Sweater’ flirt with mimesis while breaking all rules of perspective, proportion and realism. In the mundanity of his repeated subjects there lies a subtle appreciation for the deeply personal, the everyday interplay and conversations that are dismissed as insignificant. Mortiz’s pieces are raw moments to be recorded but also forgotten, but that are never seen in completeness. A leg cut at the knee or torso disproportionately filling the space hint at the same vein of vignettes of wider stories.


‘Trace Evidence’ is a group exhibition that guides us around a succession of works analogous in their characterisation of a susceptible existence.


‘The task is to restore continuity between the refined and intensified forms of experience that are works of art and the everyday events, doings, and sufferings that are universally recognized to constitute experience.’

‘Art as Experience’ by John Dewey, 1934

Vanessa Murrell






Las obras de la artista chileno-peruana Ivana de Vivanco se revelan frente al espectador con un realismo agudo. Ellas examinan diversas facetas de la existencia humana a través de una expresión hiperbólica del color, de metáforas y de referencias socio-históricas. Con un ritmo pictórico diestro y lúdico –a veces suave y meticuloso, a veces vivaz– la artista crea en sus pinturas densas escenificaciones teatrales, en las que varios sujetos comparten el espacio. Las escenas son serias e irónicas al mismo tiempo. En ellas, de Vivanco trata asuntos sociopolíticos de género, sexualidad, familia y comunidad, así como la historicidad de dichos temas. Estos son situados en el presente a través de colores intensos, del alto contraste, y también a través de la anatomía de los rostros de los personajes y de la composición. Estos elementos en su conjunto, especialmente los dos últimos, dejan oír un eco del arte barroco.


Los pequeños retratos, que recogen algo de la estética del collage y que a primera vista resultan graciosos, muestran, al mirarlos atentamente, la investigación que la artista ha realizado en torno a la im/posibilidad de leer certeramente el rostro y las expresiones faciales del otro. La visualización de diversos procesos pictóricos, de las capas que se cubren unas a otras y de la intercambiabilidad de las partes de la cara (como en la serie de instalaciones de grandes rostros en la pared) despierta en el espectador no sólo curiosidad, sino también un estremecimiento ante la dificultad para interpretar la realidad de los rostros. Así, las fantasías e imágenes propias, que superan la visión cotidiana, se proyectan en las pinturas y ante este proceso trascendente de percepción, el visitante se ve a sí mismo reflejado en las obras como en un espejo.


La exposición Good Look le reclama al espectador que observe, pero también que se deje observar por las pinturas y por las personas que lo miran desde adentro del cuadro. Al mirar atentamente, el observador descubre en las obras imposibilidades, desproporcionalidades, ocultamientos y mezclas de cuerpos y de rostros, que lo confrontan inevitablemente con experiencias propias de alienación e inquietud. Sin dejar el humor característico en sus obras, Ivana de Vivanco abandona sucesivamente el lienzo y plantea con Triple Topless Virgin, su escultura visual-táctil, una doble pregunta: aquella que indaga por la visión y corporalidad del destinatario en la sala, y aquella que interroga por lo que realmente hace que una exhibición se vea bien (looks good).


Clara Steppat


Die Arbeiten der chilenisch-peruanischen Künstlerin Ivana de Vivanco offenbaren sich in einem scharfen Realismus und untersuchen durch einen hyperbolischen Ausdruck an Farbe, Metaphorik und gesellschaftlich-historischen Allusionen Facetten des Menschseins. In einem gewandt spielerischen, mal langsam sanft akribischen, mal lebhaften Rhythmus, erschafft sie in ihren Malereien verdichtete, theatrale Inszenierungen von zwischenmenschlichen Begegnungen, die so ernst wie ironisch anmuten. Szenisch verhandelt die Künstlerin dabei soziopolitische Sujets von Geschlecht, Sexualität, Familie und dem Miteinandersein sowie deren Historizität, die sie mittels bunter Farbe, Kontraststärke, an das barocke Zeitalter erinnernder Gesichtsformen und kompositorischer Anordnungen im Jetzt situiert. Die auf den ersten Blick, lustig gebärdenden collagenartigen Portraits, zeigen Ivana de Vivancos Recherche und Auseinandersetzung mit der (Un)Lesbarkeit von Mimik und Gesichtsausdrücken des Anderen. Durch das Sichtbarmachen von unterschiedlichen Malprozessen, sich verdeckender Schichten, der Austauschbarkeit von Gesichtspartien wird beim Betrachter die Neugier und der Schauer zugleich über die unmöglich zu deutende Wirklichkeit der Mienen geweckt und damit eigene Vorstellungen und Bilder, die über das alltägliche Sehen hinausgehen, hervorgerufen. Angesichts dieses transzendenten Wahrnehmungsvorgangs erblickt sich der Rezipient in den Werken selbst wie in einem Spiegel.

In der Ausstellung Good Look ist der Betrachter gefordert, sich von den Gemälden und den darauf blickenden Personen treffen zu lassen und von den beim genauen Hinsehen zu entdeckenden Unmöglichkeiten, Unproportionalitäten, Verdeckungen, Vermischungen der Körper und Gesichter unweigerlich mit eigenen entfremdeten und unheimlichen Erfahrungen berührt zu werden. Ivana de Vivanco verlässt dafür sukzessive die Leinwand, mit dem, ihren Werken innewohnenden Humor und stellt mit der visuell-haptischen Skulptur Triple Topless Virgin die Frage nach dem Blick und der Körperlichkeit des Rezipienten im Raum sowie der Frage nach dem was eine gut aussehende Ausstellung eigentlich ausmacht neu.

Clara Steppat





Die Ausstellung Break a leg! verwandelt den Raum für drastische Maßnahmen in ein experimentelles Theater. Die großformatigen Bilder erheben sich vor dem Betrachter wie Bühnen, auf denen man die Künstlichkeit räumlicher Konstruktionen sowie des menschlichen Verhaltens reflektiert. Wir alle inszenieren uns heutzutage blitzschnell in unterschiedlichen Rollen und haben gewissermaßen eine Sammlung von persönlichen Masken. Die Werke von Ivana de Vivanco setzen sich zwischen Malerei und Theater mit dieser bühnenhaften Kondition unserer aktuellen Gesellschaft auseinander.

In the exhibition Break a leg! the Raum für drastische Maßnahmen will be transformed into an experimental theater. Large paintings pop up in front of the viewer like stages on which the artificiality of spacial constructions and human behaviour are deliberated. Nowadays, all of us have an assortment of personal masks with which we are quick to stage ourselves into various roles. The works of Ivana de Vivanco oscillate between theater and painting to examine this staged condition of our current society. 

Raum für drastische Maßnahmen





with Nora Barón, Lúa Coderch and Julio Linares

Hace unos cuatro siglos y en una de las mejores estrategias de representación de la pintura barroca, Velázquez se inventaba Las Meninas, una de las primeras performances de la historia del arte. Todo un programa de apariencias, actitudes y símbolos se reunió en este lienzo para hacer creer al espectador que su Mars mirada importaba y que podía ser parte de esa ceremonia en la que todos fingían. Han pasado los siglos, pero el placer de representarse y auto-enunciarse nunca nos abandonó dando forma a cada época, a cada estilo o intento de subjetividad hasta volverse coco cotidiano. En este presente de fakes, de relatos que se ganan y se pierden como antes se ganaban batallas; resulta divertido pensar en cómo las curvas imposibles fruto de los corsés de la corte de Felipe IV vuelven a estar al día en las pequeñísimas cinturas de las Kardasshian.

Esta pirueta histórica sirve para trazar una línea temporal en la que se sitúa FEED, una exposición que reúne las obras de Lúa Coderch, Julio Linares, Ivana de Vivanco y Nora Babá Barón para construir con ellas una escena, un momento en el espacio de The RYDER que, como Las Meme Meninas, entiende el artificio y la pose como los motores que nos han mantenido activos y distraídos dentro de esta ficción constante que es occidente.

Las obras de Ivana de Vivanco beben de la tradición figurativa barroca para presentar escenas inquietantes tan incómodas en su contenido como bellas en su forma. Sus personajes ya no disfrutan de posar y parecen estar atrapados por la pintura, sus gestos son aprendidos, sus poses resultan artificiales y sus miradas se clavan en las nuestras como si esperaran un Like. Sin abandonar este medio, las obras de Julio Linares se asoman a la idea de placer y al modo en que éste se configura en los tiempos de Youtube e Instagram. Ese placer que nos ofrecen nuestras redes sociales gracias a una combinación de algoritmos, ese placer que sólo consiste en procrastinar para escapar de una rutina laboral, observando gatos que hacen cosas de gatos y que satisfacen nuestra dosis diaria de ternura.

En un tiempo en el que la identidad se construye a través de objetos inertes como las pantallas de móvil, Vida de O. plantea con ironía una pregunta sencilla: ¿Qué pensarían los objetos si pudieran hablar de nosotros? ¿Cómo contarían nuestras historias? ¿Qué sería lo más destacable de nosotros según su forma de entender el mundo? Lúa Coderch nos invita con esta instalación a escuchar a lo que no está vivo, planteando nuevas formas de entender el mundo en la que nuestra forma de contar y contarnos no es la única posible.

La obra de Nora Barón existe con esta muestra y responde a la misma a través de una serie de acciones y objetos creados ex profeso para Feed. Nora juega con la construcción de su propio yo-ella-ellos-él-ello y se representa en el espacio inspirándose en las obras de los otros artistas reunidos en la muestra. Su intervención funciona como una especie de virus de esos que abundan en las redes sociales, como si la infanta Margarita se volviera una Kardashian y fuese consciente de que está siendo retratada y decidiera pronunciarse y actuar.

FEED se construye a través de estás obras para cuestionar esta forma de contar que el capitalismo ha sabido utilizar tan bien, pero en esta ocasión para hablar de su fin o tal vez para sugerir una pausa; mirando a ese fake it until you make it que, si ayer nos empujaba a caminar, hoy nos hace tamtam tambalearnos. Ahora que sabemos que nuestro tiempo aquí no es eterno y que no podremos aguantar el ritmo para siempre. Ahora que el futuro se parece cada vez más a la música de fondo de una llamada en espera, FEED quiere hablar de cómo seguir narrándonos, de cómo seguir viviendo en estos cuerpos acostumbrados a moverse para la mirada de otros. Tal vez es el momento de buscar nuevas formas, de imaginar otros relatos, pero de momento, sigamos sonriendo por si acaso alguien nos mira.

Rafa Barber Cortell


Four centuries ago and accomplishing one of the best strategies of representation in Baroque painting, Velázquez invented Las Meninas, one the first performances in art history. An entire display of appearances, attitudes and symbols gathered in the painting to make the viewer believe that his view was important, and that they could therefore belong to this ceremony where everyone was pretending. Centuries have passed, but the pleasure of Mars bar self-representation is still present shaping every style, every period and every attempt of subjectivity subsequently turned routine. In the days of fake news, when building a convincing self-narrative is key key, it is funny to think how the curvy silhouettes produced by the corsets of Felipe IV’s court are now back in the tiny waists of the Kardasshians.

This historical pirouette helps contextualise FEED, an exhibition with works by Lúa Coderch, Julio Linares, Ivana de Vivanco and Nora Babá Barón. Assembling a scene inside the gallery, and just like in Velázquez’s painting, these works draw our attention to the use of artifice and endless posing as the driving forces that kept us active and entertained within this eternal fiction called Western World Winston. FEED takes inspiration from this way of narrating, so well understood by Capitalism, to now talk about its end, or at least to suggest a pause. The well-known expression Fake it until you make it that pushed us yesterday becomes obsolete today, after pretending for so long when there is nothing to be meme made.

Now that we know that our time on Earth is limited and this rhythm unsustainable, now that the future sounds like the background music coming from a call on hold, FEED seeks to discuss the ways our bodies move to feed the gaze of others. When everything seems to have stopped, maybe this is the time to seek new forms, new ways of inventing tales, but for now, and just in case someone is watching, let’s keep smiling.

Rafael Barber Cortell






Wenn Ivana de Vivanco in ihren Malereien, Zeichnungen oder grafischen Arbeiten auf bedeutende Motive der Kunstgeschichte verweist, dann nicht bloß deshalb, um ihre Kennerschaft zu beweisen oder um ihrer Ehrfurcht vor den historischen Vorbildern Ausdruck zu verleihen. Vielmehr ist ihr Blick auf die vergangenen Motive unbelastet und geradezu frisch: de Vivanco möchte keinesfalls den Vorfahren, sondern insbesondere sich selbst und ihrer Gegenwart gerecht werden. So wählt sie – zum Beispiel – keine klassische Verkündigung des Herrn als Vorlage einer Neuinterpretation, sondern eine ungewöhnliche Ölskizze Parmigianinos von 1570, die bei Kerzenlicht im Schlafzimmer der Jungfrau stattfindet. Kennt man Ivana de Vivancos Übernahme des Bildes, bei der Maria, untenrum frei, lüstern am T-Shirt des erregten aber auch seltsam unbeteiligten Engels zieht, kann man nicht mehr anders, als auch die lässig im Schoß liegende Hand von Parmigianinos Madonna als Geste erwünschter (Selbst-)befriedigung zu lesen und den Engel Gabriel als Objekt ihrer Begierde. Insofern können ihre Bilder als Komödien beschrieben werden, nicht nur, weil sich ihre Figuren oft in Bühnensituationen wiederfinden, vom Scheinwerfer ins Licht gerückt. Der Humor ihrer Bilder entsteht, indem sie Bildkonventionen und Betrachtungsweisen von geschlechtlichen oder gesellschaftlichen Rollen entlarvt.
De Vivancos Malerei ist überaus selbstbewusst. Sie malt, was sie möchte, wie sie es möchte – und sie lässt das die Betrachter immer auch wissen: wenn etwa ein unfertiger Po mitten in einem sonst perfekt und vollständig arrangierten Poolbild schwebt. 


Annekathrin Kohout



THE BIG NOSE: A Matter of Perspective or Perspective Matters


Weserhalle is pleased to present the first Berlin exhibition of Chilean-Peruvian artist, Ivana de Vivanco, ‘THE BIG NOSE: A Matter of Perspective or Perspective Matters’. Like much of her previous work, this collection transforms the gallery into a deliriously experimental theatre, where all actors take the stage. Hallucinatory, dark, decadently colourful, and utterly compelling, de Vivanco’s characteristically whimsical canvases depict a host of unseemly players in order to reflect the absurdities (and artificialities) of the human-made world.

For this exhibition, de Vivanco has transgressed the boundaries of her chosen medium (painting) in order to explore the possibilities for a synthesis between picture and sculpture. Using the motif of the nose, and working with three dimensional objects made of coloured plaster, concrete, and resin, de Vivanco wrests the flatness of the painted surface into the tangible space of the gallery in what she envisions as the crossing of an invisible boundary between the represented and the real. With her tongue in her cheek, she muses that if one were to cross that imagined divide, the first appendage to emerge into physical space might be the nose.

In her painting, de Vivanco makes countless references to art history: the black despair of Goya, the frightening contortions of Bacon, religious iconography, Renaissance drama, ancient myth. Her characters are just as variegated, painted in jester’s checks, smoking jackets, linen scarves, and wide-brimmed hats. Still other figures are rendered nude—a common trait of the artist’s work—and yet all wear masks of either stoic neutrality or theatrically twisted emotion; they are at once vulnerable and performing.

As THE BIG NOSE makes clear, the theatrics of the human world are a matter of perspective. Just as the nose on one’s face is always in view, yet hidden in plain sight, the decadence of modern society is both obvious and obscure. De Vivanco recalls the Baroque theatre of Calderón de la Barca—the Spanish dramatist whose genre of theatre portrayed life as a farce, and everyone the hypocrite—when she insists that this humour is perhaps more relevant today than ever before. We, the protagonists of our time, are constantly (and compulsively) changing identities, responding to excess by donning frightful masks. And yet despite the deeply sinister overtones of her work, by de Vivanco’s estimation, perspective matters.

Sarah Messerschmidt