preparing for my show on illness and wellness
I was born ill and I have lived with illness all my life. My current project, which will culminate in a show at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Palma Gallery in Lima in April 2017, is nonetheless my first real examination of illness.
My approach is always exploratory and experimental but more than ever before I am researching my way into this project.
Some of this research involves immersion in the work of other artists who have produced work on this theme: Hannah Wilke, Bob Flanagan, Janine Antoni, Damien Hirst and Joseph Cornell to name a few. I am also reading Susan Sontag´s groundbreaking text ‘Illness as Metaphor’ to see the topic from different angles.
I am also exploring representations of illness and wellness in modern medical practice and pharmaceuticals but also in folk remedies. Peru has an incredibly rich tradition of plant-based remedies that not only survives to this day but which even rivals conventional western medicine in popularity and influence. Perhaps more than anywhere else, this is where I feel the pull and fascination of my Peruvian identity. Peruvians, especially in the Andes and in areas with high density of migrants, trust in faith to heal. I find faith to be a huge component of healing, faith in doctors, in herbs, in medicine, in bigger forces.
My investigation has led me to stray away from traditional occidental medicine and doctors in a personal search for liberation from illness with cures that do not harm the body further. My research nonetheless also covers both traditional medicine and the pharma industry.
My explorations find form in my mixed media sketchbooks and in a large body of preparatory pieces that will, over time, be replaced by final pieces destined for the Centro Cultural Ricardo Palma gallery show. This body of work began with accurate watercolour representations of my own medicines and has organically transformed itself to more experimental pieces where I´m using the actual healing herbs I´m studying for printmaking and drawing.
I intend to install the exhibition showing part of my process, taking the shape more of an artist studio than that of an exhibition space.