> José Roca, LARA (Latin American Roaming Art), March 2013

Ximena Garrido-Lecca has been living outside of Peru for more than a decade. The physical and temporal distance, and being immersed in a cultural environment with very different codes, has made her see some cultural features of her country of origin with different eyes. Garrido-Lecca is interested in the social landscape of Peru and in the ways in which the ancestral cultures are gradually disappearing as result of globalization. Among her iconographic sources are adobe walls, decorated gates, precarious enclosures made with metal sheets, multi-colored public fountains, cemetery niches, and the popular aesthetic in general, baroque and overdone, with its strident colors and unlikely combination of forms.

When visiting the Market Square in Honda—a beautiful building constructed in 1935 that still houses the public market—Garrido-Lecca became interested in the way in which vendors have adapted the building to meet their spatial and practical needs. The building occupies an entire block and has four interior patios for light and ventilation. The patios have been partially occupied in order to fulfill the demand for retail space. To protect this newly occupied area four “funnels”, inverted pyramids of corrugated metal, were built, leaving only a small shaft of light in the center, where there is a faucet. In the relative darkness, the intense beam of sunlight entering through the overhead opening becomes a kind of sundial that marks the everyday life of the marketplace. In Tropismos Sociales (Social Tropisms) (2013), Garrido-Lecca creates an abstraction of this structure, with a powerful light that dramatizes the passage of time through the movement of light across the floor. She also took a series of short videos that document the life of the square, marked by the constant need to access water.

Like choreography, different characters come into play; they drink water, wash dishes, wash their heads, fill bottles—a series of basic everyday actions in the four communal points. The video captures many of these actions as small vignettes. Isolated from their temporal context and presented choreographically, these simple actions take on an unreal, almost theatrical, character. In the artist’s words, “The title Tropismos comes from the idea of movement created by external stimuli, for instance, a plant’s gravitation to light (phototropism) and water (hydrotropism) as sources of life. The work looks at the interaction of humans with their constructed environment and the natural forces of the sun, rain, and the passage of time as a form of social ‘tropism.’ The architecture of the market becomes a stage where these ‘movements’ occur.”