Peru: 2x1* : Solo exhibition by Andrés Argüelles Vigo

23 February - 22 March 2022

Dialogue of fictitious spectators | Mathilde Ayoub - Curator


Peru 2 x 1 proposes a dialogue between traditional Peruvian iconography and contemporary art, both in terms of scenography and market strategies. With a certain humor, Andres Arguelles Vigo (Lima, 1988) proposes a reformulation of the symbols that make up the lexicon of the history of Peruvian art. That's what two visitors who enter the gallery, recently opened in the area, read this summer day. It would seem that, to inaugurate it, they have made some very interesting offers, they think. The space is filled with many paintings, of different sizes, which in fact seem to have been made by different artists, as if they were referring to the whole history of the country in a second. Their gazes first point to the kittens, in front of the entrance, in the card holder...


- Like the ones you see in the chifas, they remind me so much of one in particular, where we always went with the mamama... And look at these huaquitos, they look like they are also on sale! They look so tiny. And the Virgin of Cusco with her little angels; a classic...


They both laugh.     



- Is it a criticism or a parody? So many symbols gathered in the same place. I see a history of Peruvian art, mixed with a representation of craft traditions, but also colonialism and population migrations. It seems to play with the codes of popular and ancestral traditions, which now have a tourist value as an identity value. They are part of the history of Peruvian art, they are hybrid mixtures of mythical representations that grew as reference images and were later reproduced millions and millions of times. They are both what represents us and what we represent. The symbolic capital, as Bourdieu would say. Besides, the title PERU 2x1 that keeps turning in the led lamp, as if the whole history of the country was in promotion...


 - Well, that's... that's what's happening. I think that's what it's all about, a caricature of the contemporary art system as a counterpoint to tourist techniques. It seems to be a reflection on commercialism and the value of art. Of an art that can also be accessible... but that plays with the language of the market established by capitalism, ironically promoting itself.


 - But how do you explain the caricatural regime of this value if it fits perfectly into the same codes of world capitalism, and particularly in the strategies of the tourist trade at the heart of classical representation, established by the history of images in Peru?

-Listen to me, I can no longer distinguish the context of these paintings, this installation seems all upside down from a contemporary art show, even if that is where the whole paradox lies: they are ancient symbols that we have always seen, reappropriated by a contemporary artist, questioning their production status. Who is Andrés Argüelles Vigo? He may have learned to paint with these same paintings of huacos, kittens and angels. The contemporary painter paints like the popular painter, with the same brushes, on the same canvas. What is the difference between the two? Here they paint the same ancestral and shared motifs. Will their paintings be valued for the symbols represented or for the symbolic value of the artist?


They leave the gallery, and down the stairs: 


-I think the answer lies in the title of the show: two for one.