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August 23 – October 16, 1999
USF Contemporary Art Museum

Tunga, Seeding Mermaids, 1997. Performance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Amnesia is a condition of repressed or forgotten memory. This exhibition explores the multiple histories of four countries–Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela–through the theme of amnesia. A diverse, cross–generational selection of artists presents a variety of perspectives. However, rather than aspiring to construct a collective survey of contemporary South American art, Amnesia seeks to address a history that exists only within subjective recollections and experiences, however incomplete or fragmented. From this ambiguous point of departure, artists were free to draw their own interpretations of memory, perception, and remembrance.

The majority of work in Amnesia was made specifically for this exhibition. These works, authentic yet diverse, present many notions of memory. Among such notions are the framing of experience through organized temporal recollections (like myths and personal narratives) and the dispersion of memory through misplaced connections and eroded frames of reference.

The wide range of mnemonic strategies here includes unique and personal approaches for navigating myth and culture by developing cognitive, emotional, and intuitive connections. While gratifying the senses, this work may at times compel viewers to see and think differently about art-making practice at the end of the twentieth century. It may also challenge people to re-think the acts of seeing and remembering. My hope is that what had once disappeared from the collective or individual psyche might somehow be recovered.

Christopher Grimes
Curator of the Exhibition
January 1999

Marcelo Pombo, Cepita Naranja, 1996. Cardboard Box.

Valeska Soares
Untitled, 1997. Digital mural, edition of 3