'Hacia donde Olmedo miraba', Adrián Balseca, Ricardo Coello Gilbert, José Hidalgo-Anastacio, Rosa Jijón, Fabiano Kueva, Óscar Santillán, Karina Skvirsky

Artists: Adrián Balseca, Ricardo Coello Gilbert, José Hidalgo-Anastacio, Rosa Jijón, Fabiano Kueva, Óscar Santillán, Karina Skvirsky
Curator: Pily Estrada
Dates: April 1st to May 19th, 2017
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1. The Municipal Council of the city of Guayaquil commissioned a monument in honor of Jose Joaquin de Olmedo * for the centenary of his birth. The so-called “Olmedo Committee” entrusted to the French sculptor Jean Alexandre Falguière the execution of the project.
2. The monument was inaugurated on the 72nd anniversary of the Independence of Guayaquil, on 9 October 1892, at the intersections of the avenues Zaraguro (nowadays Calle Olmedo) and Eloy Alfaro.
3. Almost two decades ago, in order to inaugurate the emblematic project of the urbanization in Guayaquil, the monument was transferred to the Olmedo street and Malecon Simón Bolívar street, on the “Malecón 2000”, which borders the Guayas River.

1. It is said that the monument of Olmedo is not Olmedo, but Lord Byron. From the setting of the statue at the end of the nineteenth century, there is speculation on the similarity to the English poets’ statue located in Hyde Park, London.
2. More than a century after, local historians continue to confront arguments for and against this theory.
3. The arguments that pursue the falsification of the theory seem more solid than those who say it is not Olmedo, but there are still doubts.

1. When the monument of Olmedo (or Lord Byron supplanting Olmedo) was transferred to Malecón 2000 at the beginning of the 21st century, a controversy was triggered on whether the statue should look:
a) Towards the city, in which the hero had been its first Mayor after independence as Province in 1820 even before the rest of the country, that became independent in 1824.
b) Towards the Guayas River, great port that served as entrance to the city to visitors, pirates and the commerce that characterized the city since pre-Columbian times.
2. The Council of the City of Guayaquil decided that the statue of Olmedo should look at the Guayas River (Or turn his back to the city).
3. No one questioned where Olmedo looked before the change of location.

1. To erect a monument to a historical person as a symbol of recognition.
2. The conviction with which it is agreed that the monument is the declared character.
2.1 Then, does it matter who it is, what it did or where it looks? If at the end:

2.1.1 Who he is, is symbolically subverted to the current political powers and his speeches, and physically, to historians and their theories.
2.1.2 What he did is presented as an idea of civism (as understood by Latin American postcolonial thought), which is presumed obsolete in the present, and new discourses do not actualize their value.
2.1.3 If the figure before looked at a place, and its change of position only made more intelligent and important to those who moved it:
Could it be that how history is told makes us prone to become worshipers of myths and fanatics of divinization? Do we love to imagine the hero?
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The useless heroic gesture: Óscar Santillán climbs almost 4,000 meters high in El Parque Cajas, to milk a cow, take his milk directly from the udder and carry it in his mouth for 36 km. To feed a stray cat in the city. The Manifesto of Goodness.

The imagined heroic: Karina Skvirsky, daughter of German, born in the United States and resident in New Jersey, tries to find his Afro-American roots returning to Ecuador to follow up the steps of her grandmother Maria Rosa, who at the beginning of 1900 scapes from the Chota Valley to seek a life in Guayaquil.

The romantic hero: In his explorations Alexander Von Humboldt arrived in Ingapirca, ancient Inca ruins in the province of Cañar, Ecuador. He recognized his similarities with Cuzco and emphasized its role as a military fort. Since 2011, Fabiano Kueva has been pursuing and altering Humboldt’s American routes, discovering what he recognizes as locating “soft zones” where the relationships between knowledge and power become invisible.

The missing monument: After earning a series of state funds for the arts from the support of government entities, Adrián Balseca gets funding and assemble a monument to the oil business in the open sea of Ancón, territory in which oil was extracted for the first time in Ecuador and in turn where the first oil spill occurred on national soil. Analogy of the boom and decline of the product in which the Ecuadorian economy is based. From the oil boom of the seventies to the current bankruptcy.

Hero Impersonation: In a complex series that Óscar Santillán is producing in the immense Atacama Desert in Chile, he performs a performance where he crosses it unperturbed. Without any end. Without expectation. No more mystery than walking.

The one on which his name was all made: “I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare” Ecclesiastes 7:26. Ricardo Coello has devoured the Bible in search of misogynistic, homophobic and racist verses. With them creates anagrams that show the misery that today denote. Also, look for God in places where we do not expect it and, as in Don Quixote book, Ricardo Coello Gilbert removes his presence – literally – to return them to the world in a pile of redundant rhetoric.

The idol: As part of a residence in Antarctica, Rosa Jijón dressed and photographed the team of scientists who are part of the Ecuadorian mission on the southernmost continent of the world in the Football team equipment. The flag and uniform are colonial impositions, football an English import, which together summarize the major reason for union in a country of 13 million inhabitants that this 2nd of April elects a new president among the ruling party candidate which has been 10 years in power, and the opposition candidate, right-wing, who led the country to the worst crisis in its recent history. According to the surveys the vote is 50 – 50. But when playing the national team Ecuador is “one heart”.

The conquerors: The work of José Hidalgo-Anastacio synthesizes something that we already know about power: it imposes and homogenizes. Anastacio has worked for years in an investigation that shows the subjective of the measures that we know. It shows us how the world has been measured through the eyes of who sees it and has the power to implant it. From this he creates relations between measures of different regions and times, most of them in disuse, to create new and useless socio-political cartographies, capable of creating other apparently absurd narratives that allow understanding the relations of power.

* José Joaquín de Olmedo (Guayaquil, 1780) was one of the most important figures in the independence and republican history of Ecuador. Recognized lawyer, poet and politician, he was the first President of the Free Province of Guayaquil (1820-1822) and First Vice President of Ecuador (1830-1831).