Eros Rising at the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA)
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June 16–September 30, 2022
Opening reception: June 16, 5–8pm
The Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) is delighted to announce Eros Rising: Visions of the Erotic in Latin American Art, curated by Mariano López Seoane and Bernardo Mosqueira. Bringing together thirteen works by Artur Barrio, Oscar Bony, Carmelo Carrá, Feliciano Centurión, and David Lamelas with five more recent works by Carlos Motta, Wynnie Mynerva, La Chola Poblete, Tadáskía, and Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, this exhibition will present drawings, paintings, and photographs that seek to give form to the intangible experience of eroticism.
Inspired by a series of pastel drawings by David Lamelas (b. 1946, Argentina) from 2014 and 2015, Eros Rising explores how artists have challenged conventional representations of sex—based in the objectification and categorization of the body—to instead convey the myriad sensations bound up in erotic encounters. The featured artists reimagine sensuality in surreal representations that question the limits between the real and the fictitious, decentering the human by fragmenting it or displacing it altogether.
Viewed collectively, these works subvert codified expressions of sensuality and static definitions of the human to visualize the body as radically open. Encompassing a range of styles and perspectives from across Latin America, Eros Rising highlights a cross-section of intergenerational artists who have contested the restrictive boundaries of identification, grasping for more fluid and expansive conceptions of the self and the erotic.
In Lamelas’s works, human forms are evoked through celestial phenomena—a rising sun or a flowing meteor shower—that find the mundane in the cosmic. Drawings by Artur Barrio (b. 1945, Portugal), Tadáskía (b. 1993, Brazil), and Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro (b. 1996, Brazil) similarly propose other ways of imagining the body in relation to the surrounding landscape, dissolving the barrier between the self and the outside world. Meanwhile, artists such as Feliciano Centurión (1962–1996, Paraguay) and La Chola Poblete (b. 1989, Argentina) tease out mythological references from ancient Greece and Andean lore to approximate the otherworldliness of desire.
While many of these works approach the languages of abstraction, others rethink the canon of figuration by transforming the body. An untitled drawing by Carmelo Carrá (b. 1945, Italy) fractures the human form, while the large watercolor Formas de alargar un pene (2021), by Wynnie Mynerva (b. 1993, Peru), elongates and warps the phallus. The body becomes grotesque in a small ink drawing by Carlos Motta (b. 1978, Colombia), from his series We The Enemy (2019), which reflects on the designation of certain sexual identities as “deviant” or “perverse” in Christian traditions. Two photographs by Oscar Bony (1941–2002, Argentina), which were censored for their erotic content when they were first displayed in Argentina in 1976, similarly depict the body in segments, zooming in on two bright red, intertwining tongues.
Eros Rising: Visions of the Erotic in Latin American Art will be accompanied by a booklet featuring an essay by Mariano López Seoane and Bernardo Mosqueira. Physical copies will be distributed free of charge at ISLAA and made available to download at islaa.org.
ISLAA Exhibition Talks
In conjunction with the exhibition, ISLAA will present a live online roundtable conversation with artists in the exhibition, moderated by the curators, in September 2022. As a complement to this public program, ISLAA will also publish prerecorded lectures by scholars that reflect on the exhibition’s historical context and resonances. Additional details will be added to ISLAA’s website in the coming weeks.
The Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) advances scholarship and public engagement with art from Latin America through its program of exhibitions, publications, lectures, and partnerships with universities and art institutions.
Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA)
50 East 78th Street
New York, New York 10075