Opening | “Somos Libres”

(Lima, Peru)

Asociación Mario Testino (MATE) presents “Somos Libres” [We are Free], an exhibition of artworks from the Mario Testino collection, curated by Neville Wakefield in collaboration with Mario Testino.

“Somos Libres” opens 15 October at MATE in Lima. The exhibition will continue and expand upon the mission statement of MATE, Testino’s cultural institution, established in 2012, to contribute to Peru’s cultural landscape.

For the past three decades, we have come to understand the world of Mario Testino through his photography. While the images he collects with the camera are known to the world, the art that inspires him has remained private. Here, for the first time, we are offered insight into his relationship and interest in the often challenging and provocative world of contemporary art. “Somos Libres” —translated from Spanish, meaning “We Are Free”—includes works by established artists such as Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and Paul McCarthy alongside works by lesser-known and emerging artists, as well as those from his native Peru. Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, who was part of the Nomination Committee of PIPA in 2010, is one of the selected artists for this group show.

“Our national hymn starts with ‘Somos libres seamoslo siempre,’ which means, ‘let’s always be free,’” says Testino. “When Peru gained independence from Spain, we were freed as a country to exist and to discover our own identity. We became a republic. In many ways, the attitude of liberation and freedom from external constraints applies a lot to fine art. Looking at art has also pushed me to seek a kind of freedom that is hard to find within the commercial world. For me, art is a way in which people find themselves in the world around them.

“The idea that art is something you live with is important to me. Just as photography is for me a vehicle to live a new moment, to go to a new place, meet a new person and so on, art is a process of encounter and discovery. For me it’s not just about seeing the work isolated in a white cube. It’s also about engaging with the art and the artist and sometimes even collaborating with them to make a new work altogether. Art is never static. I wanted to show how it changes with each new context. It lives as objects and on walls but it is also an inspiration and conversation: as part of a greater mental library.”

Somos Libres is presented as a personal journey through this world. It tells the story of one person’s quest to find and then identify themselves in work other than their own. Many of the elements familiar in Testino’s own practice are reflected in the work he collects. Somos Libres presents these works, not in terms of the canons of the new in contemporary art, but for the qualities—freedom of expression, spirit, humor and provocation—that originally captured Testino’s imagination and opened his eyes to them.

Alongside this exhibition, MATE will be running an educational program that will include conferences, film screenings and artist talks. The program will begin with a conversation session between Neville Wakefield, Rachel Feinstein and Mario Testino. Peruvian artist Miguel Andrade Valdez will also be part of the artists talks series.

“Somos Libres”
15.10.2013 – 06.04.2014
Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Asociación Mario Testino – 409 Pedro de Osma Avenue, Barranco – Lima 4, Peru

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