In her practice, Ximena Garrido-Lecca examines the turbulent history of Peru and explores the cultural impact of neocolonial standards that are transmitted through the processes of globalization. The artist scrutinizes urban, rural and natural architecture and concentrates on spaces where a mediatory materiality is visible between the specific and the universal. She begins by considering ways of making, organizing and communicating that are present in contemporary Peruvian culture and undertakes strategies of appropriation, modification and assemblage to interrogate our relationship with these transformative processes, specifically in relation to the landscape. Frequently for this reason, her sculptures, drawings and installations have a direct relationship to popular Peruvian forms and through close examination she reveals and recovers their meaning and the way in which they construct our relationship to the world. Ximena Garrido-Lecca’s work reflects the open dynamics that form identity and records the co-existence of multiple narratives that need to be revisited in order to generate an economical and socio-political equilibrium, balance that also seeks to include more precarious communities that resist to cultural hegemony.
In A Gross of Chullos, Ximena Garrido-Lecca explores the relationship between labour and its economic value, as well as the commercialization of cultural patrimony and exoticism under globalization. In this work, the artist buys a gross of chullos, which have been hand-made in Peru and transports them to London, where they were photographed before being unstitched one by one. The documentation for these hats has then been printed onto accountancy paper in black and white ink and then hand-coloured. Through this process, the artist sends ancestral objects to Europe that date from the pre-Hispanic period; objects that might nowadays be widely viewed as a cliché of Peruvian culture. Ximena Garrido-Lecca records this circulation of stereotypical objects, viewing these supposedly autochthonous objects as oversimplified representations, yet simultaneously understanding them as commodities, reproduced for mass consumption. Nevertheless, the physical disappearance of the chullos – decomposed thread by thread and then replaced by a Xeroxed reproduction, is testimony to the distance that separates the authenticity of the artisanal manufactured object and the commercial serial reproduction of its imitation.
Similarly, with the installation Los Suelos, composed from fragments of La Trama and Yacimientos, Ximena Garrido-Lecca reveals how modernization brings about profound transformations in the rural landscape and the life of its inhabitants. Yacimientos is composed by an association of images that indexes the impact of copper exploitation through opencast mining in the countryside. According to the logic of the excessive demand for copper in this region, the mines are progressively taking over habitable space, making communities move and radically changing their way of life. As a result of the shifts brought about by the exploitation of these natural resources, the region’s towns are populated with a hybrid architecture, in which we find combinations of modern buildings replete with coloured-glass windows, alongside ruined adobe houses; a distinction that contains all the drama associated with this accelerated modernization. In La Trama, we encounter a mat woven from thin strips of copper, showing how popular knowledge is interwoven with working methods and exploitation. Between the old and new, this interweaving symbolically reflects the impact of the extractive industries on a communal life.