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María Fernanda Cardoso in The De-Centered Gaze. Art and Colonialism in the Thyssen Collections at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

María Fernanda Cardoso, Corn Drawings, 1985-1989. 35mm slides, color. Dimensions variable

The colonial system lies at the origins of modern western society while its legacy continues to affect human and geopolitical relations around the world. As Europe advanced in the conquest of liberties, it simultaneously imposed a regime of extractivism and physical domination on its territories across the globe.

This exhibition sets out to decipher the elements of colonial power within the iconography of certain works in the Thyssen-Bornemisza collections. A selection of paintings will reveal “invisibilised” stories of racial domination, marronage and the civil rights struggle, as well as the introduction of the modern mercantile system based on European military control, the use of enslaved African workers and the appropriation of firstly Latin American and later Asian and African land and raw materials. Visitors will be introduced to fictitious representations of new Arcadias and will witness the western projection of its unsatisfied desires in the form of the “Orient” and the construction of the “other” as barbarian or primitive.

With the aim of rethinking the future through the parameters of cultural diversity the exhibition benefits from a curatorial team comprising Juan Ángel López (curator at the museum and director of this project), Alba Campo Rosillo (art historian), Andrea Pacheco González (independent curator and artistic director of the space "FelipaManuela"), and Yeison F. García López (director of the “Espacio Afro” cultural centre).