Lorena Ancona at Intersticio

Artist: Lorena Ancona

Exhibition title: Decapitar al caimán

Venue: Intersticio, Madrid, Spain

Date: September 10 – November 20, 2021

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Intersticio, Madrid

Intersticio is pleased to present Decapitar al caimán the first solo show exhibition in Europa by artist Lorena Ancona (MX, 1981). For this occasion, the artist presents old and new pieces, researching the ethnology of the materials as well as its relationship with the historic process and the memory, traversing the personal and the collective.

Jaws of the abyss as access to a cave, in America the caiman is an animal associated with the land. Is in this relation between interior, ground and water that his presence represents fertility, as well as respect and veneration for nature and territory.

To ‘Decapitate the cayman’ refers to the Mayan Myth of renovation and creation of the world, related to the idea of inundation where the image of the cayman is used. It emerges as a mythic creature symbolizing the Earth and, when it is decapitated, blood spreads up from its head, or rain, or esencial liquid for the creation of a regenerating world.

The cayman’s capacity to move both in water and land, surrounds esencial ideas of landscape and makes it the guardian of the precious water, relating its figure to agriculture and particularly corn. This seed has been venerated because of its development during prehispanic times as the fundamental source that originated and nurtured the American civilizations, giving the possibility for thousands of years of dominating a complex territory in its wild nature.

Starting from an exploration of local materials, prehispanic traditions and symbology related to the south-east of Mexico, the artist takes as a reference passages from the Codex of Madrid and the Codex of Dresde. Both testimonies have been the very few to survive the conquest, most of them having been burnt on the ‘Auto de fe de Maní’, when Fray Diego de Landa incinerated several sacred objects and hundreds of Mayan codexes.

At the vortex of an era when nature it’s approaching its limit of imminent wear, to ‘decapite the caiman’ seems like the fundamental ritual of detachment and regeneration.

Lorena Ancona (MX, 1981) works with sculpture and ceramics, weaving through the historiography of dyes, pigments, natural materials and Mesoamerican places. His work is the result of a research-based practice that questions the intangible displacements of forgotten traditions, heritage and identities. Using speculative techniques as an artistic methodology, her work is focused in the analysis and identification of mineral and ethnic biocultural environments. Ancona has studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and at Escuela Nacional de Pintura Escultura y Grabado La Esmeralda. Recently, she has participated in group shows at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris or the Carreras Múgica gallery in Bilbao. This September she will take part on a symposium at the British Museum in London that will discuss the Mayan blue and its cultural and historical value.