PHOTO: Judith Affolter / Marlon GarcíaR
PHOTO: Judith Affolter / Marlon GarcíaR

American Gold

Looting (2010)

Guatemala – Berlin
Photo and video documentation.
Photos: Judith Affolter / Marlon García

On one side, conquest, war, scorched earth policies, pillage of the soil, the humiliated. On the other, the conqueror, he who gives the orders, the man from the Old World, he who raises his hand and keeps the gold.

In Guatemala, a dentist perforates my molars and places 8 fillings of Guatemalan gold of the highest purity.

In Berlin, a German doctor extracts the fillings from my molars. These small sculptures, 8 in total, are exhibited as objects of art.

Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García Photo: Judith Affolter/Marlon García
Work commissioned by House der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany; produced by House der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany and Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani. Courtesy of Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Italy.

Falso León (2011)

Sculpture forge in Guatemalan bronze and gold (20 cm x 9 x 16.5 cm)
Sculptor: Angel and Fernando Poyón

Photo: Courtesy of the artist and prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan/Lucca.
Falso Leon, 2011. Photo courtesy of the artist and prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan/Lucca.

In 2005, Regina José Galindo won the Golden Lion for Best Artist under 35 at the 51st Venice Biennale. In 2007, the artist sells the Golden Lion to Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, who in turn resells it to a collector. In 2011, Regina José Galindo orders a copy of the Golden Lion from a vendor in Guatemala, producing a false lion with Guatemalan gold.

Galindo's False Lion calls attention to the precariousness of contemporary art, wherein the artist ends up selling her prize in order to subsist from her art.

At the same time the possession and dispossession of the prize in gold brings to fore the looting of indigenous gold during the colonial period in Latin America, resituating the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized in field of contemporary art. The sculpture bears a close relationship to her Looting [Saqueo], which is also part of this presentation. In both works, Galindo embodies the position of the conquered, where the sarcasm of the work in the end purges de loss, and reverts the absence/lack through the art objects that her actions leave in their wake.


Regina José Galindo has participated in exhibitions such as the 49th and 51st Venice Biennales; II Moscow Biennial; I Auckland Triennial; Venice-Istanbul; I Canary Islands Art and Architure Biennial; IV Valencia Biennial; III Albania Biennial, Tirana; II Prague Biennial; III Biennial of Lima, Peru; I Festival of Corporeal Art, Venezuela and IX Festival of Performance ExTeresa, México City. Visit her website at www.reginajosegalindo.com.

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