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In this essay for the exhibition Venezuela, nuevas cartografías y cosmogonías [Venezuela, New Cartographies and Cosmogonies] (Caracas, Galería de Arte Nacional, 1995), curator Luis Ángel Duque offers a brief introduction to the serious problems that affect the planet Earth in the period preceding the new millennium (environmental deterioration, the extinction of animal species, the depletion of the earth, and urban pollution, among others). Duque highlights the artists that assume responsibility for dealing with these problems, along with the scientists, politicians, and inhabitants of the earth. Thereafter he offers a historical and theoretical framework for the development of sciences focusing on satellite technologies, the space race, ecological and geographical research, and the global art movements that have arisen, such as “artistas de la tierra” [artists of the Earth]. He comments on the most important works within this field and offers general guidance on how to appreciate the installations in this show.
The essay “Nueva cartografía para el siglo XXI” [New Cartography for the Twenty-First Century] by Venezuelan curator Luis Ángel Duque is divided into three parts preceded by epigraphs. The originality [of this text] is rooted in its emphatic inquiry into the environmental problems that affect and threaten the future of the planet Earth, which precedes any artistic analysis or critique in relation to selected works. Duque delves into the careers [of the artists], upon which there are comments in another chapter of the catalogue. In this text, he proposes an awakening of public environmental consciousness regarding the gravity of ecological problems, as well as an aesthetic enjoyment of the show that is meant to be an artistic examination of the theme of “Venezuela,” understood as a fragment of nature that goes beyond any notions of “country” or “nation.” Duque affirms that [the show] is meant to present its art as “event and reflection theater” in Venezuela. The curator discusses the exhibition and its context through well-documented information and using precise references to scientific advances within the satellite sciences (meteorological; astronomical; navigational; military; communications; and [technology for] exploring natural resources). Duque’s comments on the responsibility of the contemporary artist immersed in an awareness of himself as an inhabitant of the planet, and its environmental and sociopolitical situation at the end of the millennium, are likewise important.
The artists in the show included: Oscar Molinari, Alejandro Blanco Uribe, José Antonio Hernández Diez, José Gabriel Fernández, Jorge Pizzani, Alí González, Oscar Machado, Pancho Quilichi, Miguel Noya, and Milton Becerra. In addition to the present document, the catalogue contains the chapter “Proyectos y artistas” [Projects and Artists], also written by Duque (the projects) and the documentalist Cruz Barceló (biographies); as well as a scientific and technological text entitled “La teledetección espacial, una valiosa herramienta de la geografía” [Spatial Detection, A Valuable Tool in Geography] by Silvia Pardi La Cruz, and finally, a glossary of terms.
See the ICAA digital archive to access the third part of the exhibition catalogue, “Proyectos y artistas” [Projects and Artists], also written by Duque (doc. no. 1160711)].