Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect
Galerie Martin Janda is showing new works by Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck made in collaboration with art historian Media Farzin from November 20 to Dezember 21, 2013. The artist, born in Caracas (VE) in 1972, explores the political and economic interdependencies of the post-war modernist period and the political and hegemonic interests of a state and its propaganda.
In the pieces on show here, Balteo Yazbeck makes reference to works by Alexander Calder, linking the latter’s aesthetic formalism with the political events under way at the time of their creation. He works in a variety of media including photography, film and installation, often making use of found material, for example photographs, maps and newspaper cuttings. His works question and analyse propaganda strategies of the post-war western world, when contemporary artworks were used systematically to convey such values as freedom, prosperity, security and utopias. Balteo Yazbeck combines this set of concerns with US interests in petroleum and the contingent economic and political ties which have persisted to this day.
The exhibition comprises works from Balteo Yazbeck’s Modern Entanglements, U.S. Interventions and Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect series. “Each work entangles art history and the global politics of oil and war to shape a narrative of unusual and intentionally-strained connections. The narratives follow the origins of the Cold War through visual juxtapositions that reveal the intersection of foreign policy and corporate interest that has controlled the distribution of global power since World War II.“ (Media Farzin)
Balteo Yazbeck uses models, plans and catalogues entangling specific Calder's works to visualize US interests in the oil market in South America and the Middle East. He takes advantage of the fragility and mobility of Calder’s works to link the complex political and economic dynamics underlying the petroleum as a raw material with the visual canon of modernism. The narrative in the series on the show ranges from Nelson Rockefeller as a hotel owner in Caracas to the 1940s’ MoMA, from nuclear tests on the Bikini atoll to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran and the architecture of Carlos Raúl Villanueva in Caracas.
Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck was born in Caracas (VE) in 1972 and lives and works in Berlin.
Media Farzin is a New York-based art historian specialized in language-based art of the 1960s and 70s.