ESTEEMED Argentinian artist Liliana Porter’s exhibition, "Other Situations," now hangs at the SCAD Museum of Art.
Porter’s work has been exhibited in over 35 countries, and she has been involved in over 450 group shows.
Humberto Moro is SCAD’s curator of exhibitions and was instrumental in bringing “Other Situations” to the museum. We spoke with him last week.1. How did you come about getting Liliana Porter’s work at the museum?
At SCAD Museum of Art we program our shows carefully, considering how these exhibitions, separately and together, will impact our pedagogy at SCAD. In that sense, Liliana’s work is incredibly flexible and appears in a range of mediums like drawing, photography, installation, sculpture, videos, printmaking and objects. I think that seeing a revision of her work demonstrates the consistency and the evolution of an artist over decades. An exhibition format like this in an academic environment can be a catalyst for many conversations across disciplines.
Specifically, “Other Situations” by Liliana Porter offers many outlooks about the difference in perception, time and scale. It is a show that is generous in terms of how it shares some of the artist’s conclusions about gaining perspective and being very much in the present. We all agreed that this was the right time and space for her work to be seen.2. How much was Porter herself involved in the curation process?
When curating “Other Situations,” the process and the development of the show was very thoughtful and in close collaboration with the artist. The exhibition comes entirely from Liliana’s studio and archive in upstate New York. This process turned out to be a luxury, curatorially speaking, as we avoided massive logistical challenges commonly encountered when working with an artist of Porter’s notoriety, where we are working with multiple lenders and institutions.
I had two sessions with Liliana at her archive in New York, in which we revised a vast body of work and carefully considered how we could offer context to understand more than five decades of her practice without it becoming a retrospective exercise.3. What’s the curatorial process like at SCAD?
We have a team lead by Kari Herrin, executive director of museums and exhibitions; Storm Janse van Rensburg, chief curator; Amanda York; assistant curator; Ben Tollefson, assistant curator, and myself. Our curatorial process is collaborative, framed by open discussions and ongoing dialogue. The majority of the conversation is how to enrich and support the SCAD community and the university’s mission and vision. Because SCAD is an international university, we are participants in the ever-evolving dialogue about art, artists, practice, media and message in the city of Savannah, the country, and around the globe. We are committed to bringing meaningful art experiences that have the power to spark creativity and thought leadership. We have a supportive networking program in which we attend major art events around the world, which gives us the opportunity for us to propose the artists and work that best suits our vast community of interests, and supports institutional lines of research.4. What can we expect from the show?
“Other Situations” includes more than 30 works that focus on key moments in Porter’s momentous career. The show includes four groups of work: one from 1973 examining notions of performance, the body and what Liliana calls “the virtual space” (an expression she coined in a pre-computer time); a second group of work that interprets the legacy of heroes, cultural and political figures and how those are absorbed into everyday culture; the third group comes from a series titled “Forced Labor” in which the artist uses miniature figurines to ensemble installations that speak about work; and the last group – which is perhaps the most heady – deals with notions of simulacra, and reality, taking on the legacy of Latin-American magic realism literary movement.5. Why did you think the type of work in “Other Situations” deserved to be exhibited in the SCAD MOA?
Liliana is one of the most important Latin-American artists, with over a hundred institutional shows throughout her career. This year alone, she was part of the 57th Venice Biennale, where her work titled “Viva Arte Viva” curated by Christine Macel, and presented a theater play in Buenos Aires. She also had an extensive retrospective in Spain, three group shows in different countries and a solo show in New York. Her production is both visually intriguing and conceptually solid, and responds directly to the profile of world renowned artists and visionaries that SCAD MOA is committed to bring to our community. At SCAD we have majors [Ed. note: and minors] of sequential arts, writing, gender studies, film, art history, and studio arts, to which this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to connect with the life and work of one of the most relevant cultural producers of our time.