Santiago Reyes Villaveces. Rarities at Artvisor, London

Artvisor’s latest exhibition, Rarities, opens in London on 9th April. Featuring a body of newly commissioned works by Santiago Reyes Villaveces (b. 1986, Bogotà) and curated by Piero Tomassoni, the exhibition is the first of a series of three exhibitions by the artist, opening this month in London, Venice, and Medellin.

Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Meanders (Magdalena), 2024 (Left and Right)

Villaveces’ work examines various knowledge systems aimed at controlling and exploiting nature, in this instance focusing on minerals and their role in social and political dynamics, starting from his native Colombia all the way to space exploration and colonisation. He has long been interested in the idea of rarity by looking at objects very near and very far. Celestial bodies, particularly the Moon, and gold nuggets from his native Colombia are source materials for the artist’s laborious and precious drawings, whose many layers determine their sculptural quality. Indeed, every work in the exhibition is at once a drawing and an object, with an intricate and obsessive etching technique recurring throughout different series and types of work, from the map-like Meanders, presented here for the first time, to the alien-like Parasite, inspired by Lygia Clark’s ‘Bichos’.

Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Goodwill Moon Rock (Apollo 17), 2023.

The series Fiebre and Moon Rock exemplifies the well-known proximity between the infinitely large and the infinitely small on a journey from the depths of the Amazon Forest to moon craters and back to Earth through the lunar relics gifted by US presidents as a ‘goodwill’ gesture In both cases, the rarity of the materials determines their mystique and their highly symbolic value in all contexts. Rarity has always been a distinctive element in the realm of art. From rare metals and ground minerals used by artists to produce bright and precious colours to the idea of artworks as unique objects, brought to light and interpreted by scholars, rendered valuable by connoisseurs, and coveted and preserved by collectors and museums.

Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Fever, Guainia, 2022.

Gold is the symbol of all that is valuable and rare, while the Moon is that place which is far enough to be unreachable and magical but close enough to seem tangible and somewhat familiar. Both are what dreams, fantasies, and poems are made of. In Rarities, a snake-like creature (titled Bird, reminding us of the common ancestry between reptiles and avians) hangs from the ceiling as the only organic form in the exhibition, guarding the entrance with a menacing eye and reminding us that, beyond the scientific and political discourse, a dose of ancient, ancestral mystery lies behind and within each artwork.

Santiago Reyes Villaveces at Artvisor

Santiago Reyes Villaveces (b. 1986, Colombia)

is known for exploring sculptural and post-sculptural processes. His diverse practice includes installations (large-scale and site-specific), sculptures, drawings, prints, archival fiction, and performative actions, all of which foster speculative relations across a myriad of materials. Villaveces’ overarching oeuvre is deeply rooted in an examination of knowledge systems utilised to control and colonise nature, often employing site-responsive elements to transform, determine, and modify the spaces they inhabit. He regards these forms as potent techniques for engaging with contemporary systems of power and their material manifestations.

Exhibition Information

Santiago Reyes Villaveces. Rarities curated by Piero Tomassoni

9 April until June 2024, Mayfair, London

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