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Miguel Ángel Rojas, El nuevo dorado, 2018, Serigraph print with vegetable pigments and gold leaf. 400 x 1,800 cm. (157.48 x 708.66 in.)

Miguel Ángel Rojas, Economía salvage, 2018, Serigraph print with clay, vegetable pigments and gold leaf. 400 x 1,500 cm. (157.48 x 590.55 in.)

Miguel Ángel Rios produced two new monumental works, Economía salvage and El nuevo dorado, for the 12th Shanghai Biennial. Rojas believes in the responsibility of artists to confront world issues through their art, and this connection between art and reality underscores much of his work. With this public messaging in mind, his work feeds into the biennial's thematic framework of dualities that exist on a global scale, namely our experience of advancement and regression simultaneously. The new industry and technology of today "has become inseparable from the dangers posed by climate change in the anthropocene, which now threaten us with the end of times." In keeping with the opposing forces theme, Rojas chooses natural materials - vegetable pigments for the prints and layers of clay - pitted against gold leaf to communicate his message to the viewer. As exhibited in Economía salvage, the hurricanes drawn in clay and chainsaw blades in gold leaf reference the impact arid deforested land has on global climate change. The true "nuevo dorado," or "new gold," is the world's natural resources: air, water, and the rainforest, which is the lungs of the plant. His work and materials communicate to the viewer the need for restoring these as the most valuable resources for life.