Drawing Modern History

Fernando Bryce

Jimena Gonzalez; jgonzalez@mali.pe

from 02/2012

Natalia Majluf, Tatiana Cuevas

Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI

The selection proposed for this exhibition, defined in close dialogue with the artist, will present most of the major drawing series, spanning over a decade. The presentation of hundreds of drawings has a cumulative effect, helping to impress upon the public both the systematic nature of Bryce’s work, the ambition of his endeavor and the range of thematic and geographic issues that he pursues.

Drawing has been the medium most consistently used for the exploration of these images, but it has by no means been the only one. This exhibition presents variants of the artist’s method through a careful selection of works that give priority to his major drawing series, but which also gives significant space to other techniques of mimetic analysis.

Thus, the exhibition will show an early work, an installation titled Huaco TV, which originally accompanied the presentation of Atlas Peru, Bryce’s most ambitious early drawing series. A still-life formed by a pre-Columbian figurine reclining against five volumes of Jorge Basadre’s major history of modern Peru is re-presented to the pubic through a closed-circuit television monitor. While the piece is an evident homage to Nam June Paik’s TV Buddha, the artist transforms the effect of the image on the monitor by turning it towards the spectator. The exhibition will explore other strategies used by the artist to represent modern history, alternating the drawing series with a group of cases containing printed documents. The presentation of documents was one of Bryce’s earliest explorations of mimetic analysis, and one that the artist has returned to consistently.

Most of Bryce’s major drawing series will be included in the show. Together, they cover broadly the politics of modern world history, in diverse geographic contexts. Bryce centers on the printed matter of ideology; war and revolution, colonial exploits, foreign policy and art programs, as officially portrayed in their own graphic language. They are carefully analyzed and objectified into a bizarre uniformity through the artist’s graphic style and calligraphy. In the process, mimetic analysis produces parody.

“…I feel as close to history painting and the chroniclers, as I do to certain contemporary artistic practices”, Bryce has stated in a recent interview. His project may be indistinguishable from the practice of the critical historian, except his focus is placed on the visible traces of history, made concrete through visual means. Through this strategy, Bryce recovers the aesthetics of ideology. His project engages the images of history in the modern world, fixed selectively to forge a genealogy of the present.”