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Pepe López. Arte en el tapete. (Logos of disintegrated institutions) Yucef Merhi. Maximum security. (Hugo Chávez emails hacked), 1998-2001. Photograph courtesy: Anilu Gómez, María Carlota Pérez, Rolando Carmona.

Caracas Reset. Yucef Merhi, Hugo Palmar, Santiago Torres, Rolando Carmona, Nayari Castillo, Teresa Mulet, Andreina Mujica, Jaime Gili. Background image: installation Maximum security. (Hugo Chávez emails hacked), 1998-2001 Photograph courtesy: Anilu Gómez and María Carlota Pérez.

Forum / Conference
"Caracas Reset" at La Colonie


Paris, France
Susana Benko

La Colonie was the site in Paris for a three-day multidisciplinary encounter organized by curator Rolando J. Carmona between Venezuelan artists and intellectuals. A resident of Paris for many years now, Carmona's central objective was "to sublimate tragedy and end mourning in order to approach Venezuela from another perspective." Indeed, participants are, for the most part, Venezuelans who emigrated, some many years ago, and who currently reside in different parts of the world.

The encounter took place at La Colonie, a space created for multicultural interaction founded by artist Kader Attia. After reviewing its profile and closely following its program of events, Carmona selected this venue because he regarded it as "the best strategy for the reconciliation between the Arab world and French culture." For his part, Attia was very receptive to the idea of hosting "Caracas Reset" in his space.

As its name suggests, the objective of this great encounter was to showcase Venezuela and begin to look at with a different lens: resetting past experiences in order to overcome and "retell our history." In this sense, the event had three central themes: "The Chávez Period," "Marginal Histories," and "Activism and Revolts."

The event included an exhibition that clearly outlined political content but that carefully avoided propaganda. With this purpose in mind, Carmona involved Venezuelan artists in the diaspora, including some who have lived in France for many years. Some came to Paris from other parts of France or from countries like Spain, the US, Germany, and even from Venezuela. The exhibition began with a survey of the works by Juan Loyola and Rolando Peña, as historic triggers, and continued with projections and works by the following artists: Beto Gutiérrez, Ana Alenso, Erika Ordosgoitti, Efraín Ugueto, Bernardita Rakos, Juan Carlos Rodríguez, Iván Candeo, Deborah Castillo, Sandro Pekeno, Raul Rodríguez, Linda Philips, Vincent + Feria, Pedro Morales, Armando Ruiz, Antonio Briceño, Mariana Bunimov, Marco Montiel-Soto, Argelia Bravo, Hugo Palmar, Lucía Pizzani, Jaime Gili, Enrique Moreno, U- TT, Teresa Mulet, Nayarí Castillo, Milton Becerra, Miguel Bracelli, Julia Zurilla, Sandra Vivas, José José, Luis Poleo, Carlos Salazar-Lermont, and Clemencia Labin.

The roundtables focused on the following themes: "The Decolonial Inflection Point in Venezuelan Contemporary Art. 1962–1989," with the participation of Elizabeth Burgos (winner of the 1983 Casa de las Américas Award), Fabiola Velasco, Asdrúbal Colmenárez, and Rolando Peña; and "The Chávez Period and its Influence in the Contemporary Art Circuit: 1999–2018," with the participation of Nelson Garrido, Nayarí Castillo, Rolando J, Carmona, and Yucef Merhi.

The conferences were given by María Luz Cárdenas, Paula Vázquez, Rolando Peña, Iván Candeo, Nayarí Castillo, Clemencia Labin, Alfredo Brillembourg, Alejandro Haiek, Nelson Garrido, and Yucef Merhi. In this context, editor Francisco "Kiko" Villanueva presented the book titled Arte Contemporáneo de Venezuela (Contemporary Art of Venezuela), a referential publication on the subject.

Rolando Carmona, along with friends and sponsors, is currently preparing a book-catalog that documents the results of this experience. 




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