On the occasion of the exhibition Más Allá, el Mar Canta (Beyond, the Sea Sings), Times Art Center Berlin presents a conversation between curator and cultural theorist Pablo José Ramírez and Guatemalan artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa about his work Chiperrec (2021), currently on view in the show. The talk explores Ramírez-Figueroa’s research into overlapping historical narratives surrounding the history of Chinese tea in Guatemala, and the archival evidence and speculation that informed this new artistic commission and his practice at large.
Más Allá, el Mar Canta aims to explore narratives of migration from China to Central America and the Caribbean as a starting point to consider systems of kinship and ontologies of intimacy. The artists’ work in the exhibition speaks from the conundrum of diasporic subjectivities, powered by either personal explorations or by collective motifs whose common ground is the always poignant reminder that there is no political imagination without community. The artworks in the exhibition are a unique testimony of an alchemic procedure that invokes agency from within the ruins of coloniality.
Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa is an artist based in Guatemala City. He holds a BFA from Emily Carr University, Vancouver, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was a research fellow at Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht in 2013. Using performance, sound, drawing, and sculpture, Ramírez-Figueroa’s work conjures live and sculptural representations that explore themes of loss, displacement, and cultural resistance. Ramírez-Figueroa has recently participated in various solo and group exhibitions including Asymmetries, The Power Plant, Toronto (2020); Toronto Biennial of Art (2019); The Sixth State, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City (2018); The Guardian of the Forest, Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City (2018); The House at Kawinal, New Museum, New York (2018); The Luminous Grid, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf (2018); Shit Baby and the Crumpled Giraffe, Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2017), among others.
Pablo José Ramírez is a curator, art writer and cultural theorist living and working in Guatemala and Amsterdam. He is the Adjunct Curator of First Nations and Indigenous Art at Tate Modern. His work revisits post-colonial societies to consider non-Western ontologies, indigeneity, forms of racial occlusion, and sound. He holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2015 he co-curated the 19th Bienal Paiz: Trans-visible with Cecilia Fajardo-Hill. Ramírez was the recipient of the 2019 Independent Curators International/CPPC Award for Central America and the Caribbean and is currently the Editor in Chief and co-founder of Infrasonica, a curatorial platform dedicated to the research around non-Western sonic cultures. Ramírez is part of the curatorial team of the Carnegie International 58th.