Collection

Jaime, Alejandro

Andenes III (2014)
Platforms III

Digital print, drawing and watercolour
height: 62cm
width: 141cm
Mixed Media

3-2017

Developed as part of the project Extracción, Los paisajes del vacío (Extraction, Landscapes of Void), exhibited in 2014, the mixed media work Andenes III presents a series of representations of terraced landscapes created to facilitate agricultural activity. In this project, Jaime assembles a sort of territorial genealogy of extraction in South America by creating works that bring into dialogue technologies that span an expansive timeframe, from pre-Colombian agriculture, via colonial mining, through to contemporary copper extraction. In this genealogy, Andenes III centres on terracing, an ancient agrarian technology used throughout the Andean region as a means of farming steep gradients and maximising cultivatable land, while controlling erosion and improving water absorption. This sophisticated pre-Hispanic tradition dates back some 4000 years in Peru and constitutes a spatial heritage whose remnants are visible throughout the country.

Andenes III comprises two drawings in which Jaime projects imaginary territories, and a photograph taken in southern Peru that documents a real manmade landscape formation. In a large cross section he reassembles the distinct parts of the altered landscape, presenting layers of human intervention through a counterpoint between finely sketched lines that suggest the original layer of topsoil, and dense triangular shapes that represent the land excavated to create the flat terraces. The high contrast tones of this sparse composition draw attention to the geometric shapes of the extracted land, evoking sculptural forms that might invite us to see such earth movements as forerunners of the much later tradition of land art developed through the mid-twentieth century, to which Jaime’s practice is itself deeply indebted. A smaller drawing situated below the side elevation offers an aerial perspective on an imaginary topography that typifies the type of precipitous land that terracing rendered productive. The third element, a black and white vertical photograph offering a frontal view of terraces, reveals the architectural structure of stone walls that fix the landscape in its altered form. Onto these Jaime has painted black forms that draw the gaze upwards and downwards, scaling the platforms in a rhythmic movement that zig-zags from side to side, thus mimicking the motion of a physical ascent of the landscape. As the gaze moves across the whole work a vicarious experience of gradient is produced as the eyes move diagonally to climb the steep topographies. This mobilisation of sight perhaps nods to the artist’s constant use of embodied practice in his work, in which he often develops artwork during journeys through territories where he tracks river courses, climbs mountains, and leaves his own traces in the landscape.

(Text taken from the exhibition catalogue for Gone to Ground, 2019)

Blackmore, Lisa, 2019

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