Catalina Parra

May 22–June 26, 2011

MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to announce a solo show by Catalina Parra. For this exhibition Parra has selected works made between 1969 and today, stemming from extended periods in Germany, Chile, Canada and the United States. The exhibition opens with a series of crayon drawings executed by Parra at the beginning of her career near Lake Constance, Germany. Also presented are early collages and photographs including material that led to Parra’s contribution for Manuscritos (1975), the first publication of art criticism after the Chilenean military coup of 1973.

Relying on a variety of media including drawing, collage and film, Parra has demonstrated an extraordinary sensibility towards the socio-political affairs that take place around us. As artist Coco Fusco outlined in a 1991 essay that was published in the catalogue for Parra’s solo show at the Intar Gallery, Parra “concentrates on the process of coming to terms with information that connotes something different than what it denotes.” With an aesthetic awareness that draws parallels to the work of Hannah Höch and John Heartfield, the artist repeatedly begins her constructions from newspaper advertisements to create hand-sewn collages and mixed media works. Her newspaper collages are executed in series form, each series containing multiple variations. The exhibition at Ludlow 38 features pieces from a number of these series including Coming your way (Banff, 1994), The Human touch (1989) and Here, there, everywhere (1992). In these works, Parra critically examines military interventions as well as the empty promises of fi nancial institutions and capitalist consumer society.

Parra was commissioned to develop a number of pieces that resulted in the creation of new time-based work. USA, Where Liberty is a Statue (1987) is a thirty second video that was played on the Spectacolor billboard in Times Square as part of the Public Art Fund project titled Messages to the Public (1982–1990). The artist created an animation using the words of her father, the Chilean Poet Nicanor Parra. The piece questions the idolized American vision of freedom and liberty. For FOSA (2005), the artist employed excavation equipment in the Atacama Desert (Chile) to create a land art piece that resembles a mass grave. Monumental and ephemeral at the same time, Parra pays tribute to the many individuals that went missing during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973–1990). Documentation of the intervention is presented at Ludlow 38 in the form of a video installation.

Catalina Parra was born in 1940 in Chile and currently lives in New York. Solo exhibitions include Museum of Modern Art, New York (1981); Intar Gallery, New York (1991); Lehman College Art Gallery, New York (1991); and It’s Indisputable at the Jersey City Museum, New Jersey (2001). Recent exhibitions include Subversive Practices, Art under Conditions of Political Repression, 60s–80s / South America / Europe at Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, and II Trienal de San Juan, Puerto Rico (both 2009).