Ludwig Forum Aachen presents Belkis Ayón: Ya Estamos Aquí (We’re Here Already)
October 22, 2022–March 19, 2023
Opening: October 21, 8pm
Belkis Ayón in 5 Moments: October 22, 12–1:30pm, Lecture by Cristina Vives, curator and art historian
On the Threshold of this New Millennium: October 22, 2–3:30pm, Lecture by Yolanda Wood, Pro
Ya Estamos Aquí, the first comprehensive exhibition of Cuban artist Belkis Ayón (Havana, 1967-1999) in the German-speaking world, is on view at the Ludwig Forum Aachen. The show introduces significant creative phases of the artist’s career through a selection of about 70 pieces produced between the mid-1980s and late 1990s.
The Afro-Cuban secret organization Abakuá, which is only open to men, is referenced in Ayón’s collagraphs through various figures, symbols, and rituals that she studied extensively during her life. She combines ideas of syncretism, or the blending of various belief systems, with concerns about gender equality and hierarchical power structures in her individual versions of Abakuá mythology. The artist employed the collagraphy technique—a printing method that involves painstakingly layering collaged and textured elements onto a cardboard matrix—for her revised renderings of this narrative. Ayón first became interested in collagraphy while she was a student at the Academie Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, and over the course of her brief professional life, she refined it to a high level of mastery.
From the artist’s early, in part still-colored works from his student years (1982–1991), through the multi-part series Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), created in 1995 for exhibition in nearby Breinig, to the more spatial and abstract collagraphs of the latter half of the 1990s, the exhibition takes visitors through each phase. The exhibition was expanded by loans from the Belkis Ayón Estate along with a variety of ephemera and archive materials. It began with nineteen prints and three matrices from the early 1990s that are a part of the Ludwig Forum Aachen’s Peter und Irene Ludwig Collection. Belkis Ayón, in her own words, “always wanted to challenge the human, the transient feeling, the spiritual”; subjects that have been made more accessible to a wider audience in the exhibition Ya Estamos Aquí.
Curated by Eva Birkenstock and Annette Lagler
Assistant Curator: Ana Sophie Salazar
Exhibition Design: Studio Manuel Raeder, Berlin
The exhibition project was organized in collaboration with the Belkis Ayón Estate, Havana, with the generous support of the Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung, STAWAG, the Landschaftsverband Rheinland, and the Friends of the Ludwig Forum.
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