Laura Vinci, "Bateia", 2015 (Pan), brass, Dutch gold leaf (copper, zinc and palladium) and fan, variable dimensions, artist collection

Group show reviews the myth of El Dorado in America from a selection of contemporary works

(Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Until August, the Fundación Proa presents El Dorado. Un Territorio [The Golden Myth. A Territory], a group show that reviews the myth of El Dorado in America from a selection of contemporary works from different countries of the continent, revisiting its impact as one of the most influential American myths in the history of humanity. Coming from public and private institutions, and private collections, a set of works by Latin American artists crosses – through videos, installations and performances – themes that range from materiality, syncretism, transformation processes and the landscape of a territory prodigal in resources0 and raw materials that changed the world from the 16th century.

Grouped into different plot nuclei, emblematic pieces are presented such as the raft by Clorindo Testa, the experiments with the potato by Víctor Grippo and the golden messages by Mathias Goeritz, Stefan Brüggemann, Laura Vinci, Leda Catunda and Olga de Amaral; Pedro Terán, Mazenett & Quiroga, Andrés Bedoya, Betsabée Romero, Ximena Garrido Lecca, Santiago Montoya, Gastón Ugalde, Iván Argote, Tania Candiani, Florencia Sadir and Benvenuto Chavajay Ixtetela; Marta Minujín pays Argentina’s external debt with corn and Evi Tártari builds textiles with husks, among other works that coexist with original objects from the colonial period on loan from the Fernández Blanco Museum, including the series of rain capes, the pair of wings silver and a coquera made of the same material during the 19th century.

The Golden Myth. A Territory is a joint project of Fundación Proa, Americas Society and the Amparo Museum. The three institutions met between 2021 and 2022 to delve into the problem of the myth of El Dorado and its validity. The result of this initiative is structured in three non-itinerant exhibitions, to be developed throughout 2023 and 2024 in Buenos Aires, New York and Puebla. Each of them seeks to reflect their own dilemmas and points of view on the legend and the scope it had in their respective regions. The curatorial project opened in Proa with the exhibition in the rooms and a public educational program shared by the three institutions.

El dorado, did it exist or not? Proa decides to address the issue based on this question, to seek answers in the territory. Did the gold exist through the raw materials and the immensity of resources that were in America? Marta Minujín expresses it in her work “Payment of the Argentine foreign debt to Andy Warhol”, in which she settles the debt with corn. We can say that all these riches from the New World changed the daily life of the East and the West, of course, without forgetting the cost and the consequences it had for the protagonists”, explains Adriana Rosenberg, director of Fundación Proa. “Why contemporary works of art, and not historical ones? In principle, we are a contemporary art center, and we believe that revisiting history requires doing so with tools from the present such as video, photography, and installations. It is the language to which we are accustomed, both the artist and the spectator”. El Dorado. Un Territorio is conceived by the Fundación Proa team based on the research carried out during the Seminar led by Edward Sullivan.


The supposed flow of precious metals and extraordinary wealth found in America aroused the fascination of adventurers in the fifteenth century, then convinced of the real existence of a place called El Dorado, a “region of incalculable wealth, whose image emerges from the story deformed of the ceremonies of the chibchas in the lagoon of King Guatavita and unfolds later in the imaginary of the mythical city of Manoa. It is an authentic u-topos, a non-place whose mirage unleashes the most exaggerated illusions, drives painful adventures and ends in tremendous actions” wrote Graciela Sarti in her notes, regarding an essay published in 1990 by the Grupo CA&C.

Those treasures lay across the continent and were the essential livelihood of local communities. Potato, sweet potato, corn, territory, South America, Latin American gold, crafts and food appear in the works of the invited artists who explore these natural resources in a contemporary language.

Read more about the group show here.

Idea and Project: Americas Society, New York – Amparo Museum, Puebla – Proa Foundation, Buenos Aires
Curatorial Committee: Aimé Iglesias Lukin – Ramiro Martínez – Adriana Rosenberg
Sponsors: Tenaris – Ternium
Academic Seminar Coordination: Edward J. Sullivan
Curatorial Assistants: Manuela Hansen – Tie Jojima – Maite Paramio

Leda Catunda, “El dorado II”, 2018, acrylic paint on canvas, voile and plastic, 284 x 470 cm, private collection

“El Dorado. Un Territorio” [The Golden Myth. A Territory], group show
From April 1st to August, 2023

Fundación Proa
Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929 y Caminito
La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
(+54-11) 4104-1000

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