Terra non Descoperta
The de la Cruz Collection is pleased to announce the opening of an installation in our project room of a piece by Chilean-born artist, architect and filmmaker Alfredo Jaar.
Alfredo Jaar's Terra non Descoperta, 1991
Three lightboxes with color transparencies sit on the floor. They show a beautiful sea in three parts. A text by Christopher Columbus is overlaid on the images, describing his obsession with finding gold.
The spectator is seduced by these images and approach the work. The light boxes are placed some 20 inches from the wall where fifteen gold-framed mirrors hang horizontally facing the light boxes.
Suddenly, a reflection appears on the mirrors. They show us images that are inset on the other side of the light boxes, the side facing the wall. They are gold miners from Serra Pelada, in the Brazilian Amazon. But the mirrors also reflect us. We find ourselves together with the miners in the space of the mirror.
"Jaar's repositioning of the viewer recalls Sartre's notion of the Other as outlined in Being and Nothingness; Sartre understood that our desire to define an Other stems from the need to objectify that which we fear or fail to understand. Jaar's installation refutes this selfish privilege. His mirrors show us that while an ocean may stand between the Other and ourselves, the Third World is actually just around the corner. Seeing ourselves reflected alongside the Other, any us-versus-them dichotomy crumbles. In other words, we have seen the Other, and it is us." - Steven Jenkins