María María Acha-Kutscher
23.03.2019 – 23.06.2019
Curator: Valentín Roma
Opening: Friday 22 March, 7 pm
Free guided tours: Tuesday at 6 pm Saturday and Sunday at noon
By combining archive, postproduction and fake, the works of María María Acha-Kutscher (Lima, 1968) seek to give new meaning to those imaginaries that have constructed a discriminatory, detrimental history of women since the invention of photography, in which they appear as if pushed into the background within hegemonic, paternalistic narratives.
This exhibition brings together various series of works under the title of Womankind (2010-2015), a long-term project with which María María Acha-Kutscher (Lima, 1968) provides a critical analysis of those imaginaries that have constructed a discriminatory, paternalistic history of women since the birth of photography.
Her working method consists of resignifying several archive images from highly different sources and then introducing subtle formal changes into these. Accordingly, as in Agnès Varda’s cinematographic fable, it could be argued that María María Acha-Kutscher has become a “gleaner” of the detritus ingested by this male, heterosexual, white cultural hegemony that created the visual, literary and public stereotypes of women between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The exhibition includes eighteen photographic collages and the installation 365 Days (2012), which outlines a sequence of images in the form of a year-long diary that invites spectators to construct associations based on their particular iconographies.
Therefore, the colourised collages of Les Spectaculaires, two of them created specifically for La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, portray women pathologised as “abnormal” by the clinical, theological and social systems at the time. Cornered like monsters and displayed in circus shows, these women exemplify the processes of persecuting difference and therapising abnormalities that proliferated throughout Europe after the Industrial Revolution, in which the freak show was one of their overriding episodes.
On the other hand, Derruidas (2011) portrays two women in two ruined architectural spaces, perhaps recovering some object before it is lost forever or maybe bidding farewell to their former places of residence.
Series 2 (2011), 3 (2012) and 4 (2013) represent a tour through household rooms, places of socialisation and areas of entertainment or knowledge, in which women can be seen in various attitudes, at times imbued with a certain pathos of melancholy and at others deliberating or absorbed. The characterisation of the “feminine universe”—a male chauvinist 3 epithet—as a territory free from the logic of reason, as well as the myth of Bovarysm, in other words, harmfully ascribing women to a sort of perpetual state of unproductive daydreams, together with the cliché of youthful beauty and class elegance, are here literally transformed into a mirror of how prevailing cultural representations historically typified women, separating them from any possibility of political action and positioning them in a territory of existential solitude or a state of limbo outside of chronological paths.
Finally, Maybe 1 (2015) portrays a woman surveying an urban landscape from the ledge of a building. Factory chimneys, church spires and housing rooftops can be seen in the background. Her bold silhouette appears set against a sky of industrial pollution and uniform clouds, against the productive pulse of new capitalist cities.