• Alberto Baraya - Expedición Machu Picchu: Orquídea parásita verde

    Alberto Baraya - Expedición Machu Picchu: Orquídea parásita verde

  • Alejandro Jaime - Paisaje expandido / paisaje contenido IV

    Alejandro Jaime - Paisaje expandido / paisaje contenido IV

  • Sandra Monterroso - Lix Cua Rahro / Tus tortillas mi amor

    Sandra Monterroso - Lix Cua Rahro / Tus tortillas mi amor

  • Lucía Pizzani - Las cáscaras

    Lucía Pizzani - Las cáscaras

  • Eduardo Villanes - Invitación-objeto (réplica actual)

    Eduardo Villanes - Invitación-objeto (réplica actual)

Recent Acquisitions

Posted: 10 October 2017 by ESCALA

As an art collection at the University of Essex we value art that earns its place, tells a story and is committed. Our acquisitions since 2015, by (in alphabetical order) Alberto Baraya, Alejandro Jaime, Sandra Monterroso, Lucía Pizzani, and Eduardo Villanes, are very good examples of this kind of art. Most of them relate broadly to our key themes: indigenous America, identity, land and the environment and human rights. These themes reflect the existing strengths among our holdings and some of the most pressing areas of research among our academic community more broadly. At the same time, each of our recent acquisitions is better understood from a multidisciplinary perspective and we look forward to working with students and staff over the academic year 2017-18 to investigate these artworks more fully and to use them in teaching and research. For now we have written some brief descriptions of each artwork.

Alberto Baraya

Expedición Machu Picchu: Orquídea parásita verde
Expedition Machu Picchu: Green Parasitic Orchid
Mixed media

Alberto Baraya’s Expedición Machu Picchu: Orquídea parásita verde (2013) belongs to his series called the Herbarium of Artificial Plants, an on-going project where the artist investigates the legacy of the traveller artists who went to Latin America during and after the colonial period. Baraya creates taxonomies of artificial plants that he collects on his travels to different places. He also challenges the nineteenth-century practice of anthropometry and classifying people. In his encounters with local people in his expeditions he invites people to measure his physical features and in so doing interrupts accepted racism in these historic practices.

Alejandro Jaime

Andenes III
Platfroms III
Digital print, drawing and watercolour

Paisaje expandido / paisaje contenido IV
Expanded Landscape / Contained Landscape IV
Oil on photographic print

We’ve acquired two works by Peruvian artist Alejandro Jaime Andenes III (2014) and Paisaje Expandido / Paisaje contenido IV (2016). Both explore the effects of human interventions in the natural landscape. The first shows the traces of indigenous agricultural terracing used extensively in Peru and elsewhere in the Andes, both in pre-Columbian times and today. The other shows the more destructive side of large-scale extraction of materials from a massive open mine, likely to be that of Chuquicamata in Chile. Chuquicamata is source of the majority of the world’s copper and is one of the largest open mines in the world. Jaime’s two works respond to our theme of indigenous America as well as issues of global environmental exploitation.

Sandra Monterroso

Lix Cua Rahro / Tus tortillas mi amor
Lix Cua Rahro / Your Tortillas my Love

Lix Cua Cahro is a 12 min 30 second video of a 2003 performance in which the artist is seen making maize tortillas. Monterroso chews the maize while reciting various phrases in Q’eq’chi, one of the main langauges of the Maya of Mexico and Guatemala. Eventually she makes dough and then tortillas from the maize, offering them to her ‘Love’. The video is a way for Monterroso to explore her own identity as a Mestiza woman of Maya ancestry and the role of women in Maya communities. This artwork adds to our holdings of art from Central America which has been a recent area focus in our collecting and relates to the theme of indigenous America and identity as well as the connection between humans and the land through staples such as maize.

Lucía Pizzani

Las Cáscaras


Las Cáscaras (2013), which could be translated as ‘skins’ or ‘shells’ is a video project filmed in colour, outdoors in a natural setting with an added tropical forest soundtrack and featuring four women enclosed in cocoons made from textiles with African designs. The vibrant patterns, in earth tones, echo those found in nature and the women who move within and against their cocoons, appear to be in a state of becoming. The video relates to and was exhibited with Pizzani’s monochrome Impronta ferrotypes (also in ESCALA) in El Adorador de la Imágen at the Sala Mendoza, Caracas, in 2014 and, like the Impronta series, belongs to an ongoing exploration by Pizzani of transformational processes, both in nature and in relation to women.

Eduardo Villanes

Gloria Evaporada
Evaporated Gloria
1995 re-printed 2010
Museum folio containing 10 photographs, 8 in B/W and 2 colour

Autoretrato gloria evaporada
Evaporated Gloria Self-Portrait

Invitación-objeto (réplica actual)
Object-Invitation (contemporary replica) 2012
Screen print on recycled cardboard (Gloria Evaporated Milk Box)

Our most recent acquisitions are three artworks by artist Eduardo Villanes. All are from a project by the artist from the 1990s called Gloria Evaporada, developed during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000). The title is taken from a popular brand of evaporated milk. In 1992 nine students and their university teacher were abducted by a government death squad from the Cantuta University in Lima. Their burnt remains were later found in a mass grave and returned to families in boxes of ‘Gloria’ evaporated milk. In reference to this atrocity, Villanes manipulated similar boxes, changing the lettering from ‘evaporated milk’ to ‘evaporated people.’ The artworks we’ve acquired refer to an exhibition and performances that Villanes made in response to Fujimori’s repressive regime and are closely tied to our human rights collecting theme.

More than half of our recent acquisitions: by Alberto Baraya, Alejandro Jaime and Sandra Monterroso, were researched and proposed by postgraduate students at the University, taking a module developed and delivered by ESCALA called Collecting Art from Latin America, which is run by the School of Philosophy and Art History. The aim of the module is to give students practical, real-world experience of writing and presenting a proposal to an acquisition committee as well as giving ESCALA the opportunity to benefit from a range of research and perspectives in relation to our acquisitions. Over the last three years students have been proposing artworks related to our indigenous America collecting theme. 

The work by Lucía Pizzani was part of an exhibition in June 2017 organised by MA Curating students at the University’s gallery, Art Exchange. For the exhibition, called (Co)vert Corporeality, we suggested that the students look at the work of Pizzani, who was already represented in ESCALA with three wet collodion prints from her Impronta series, purchased by ESCALA in 2014 with a Museum Acquisition Grant from Pinta: the Latin American Art Fair. In (Co)vert Corporeality the students showed included Pizzani’s video work Las Cáscaras and invited her to create a related performance in Wivenhoe Park at our Colchester Campus. We decided that Las Cáscaras would serve as an important link between this student initiative and our Impronta examples, offering a different perspective on the black and white collodions.

Text by Dr Jo Harwood & Sebastian Bustamante-Brauning 

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