Apariciones/Apparitions (2018) reconceptualizes several iconic Huntington spaces, including the Huntingtons' former residence, through Afro-Latinx and indigenous spiritual practices and dance. On view in the Huntington Art Gallery, Aug. 17, 2019–Feb. 10, 2020
Published : Monday, July 29, 2019 | 11:26 AM
A video work by acclaimed Los Angeles artist Carolina Caycedo that reconceptualizes several iconic Huntington spaces through Afro-Latinx and indigenous spiritual practices and dance will go on view Aug. 17, 2019, through Feb. 10, 2020, in the historic Huntington Art Gallery, the Huntingtons’ former residence, which is one of the settings in the piece. Apariciones /Apparitions debuted in 2018 at The Huntington as part of the institution’s contemporary arts initiative called “/five,” when The Huntington and the Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) at East Los Angeles College invited Caycedo to create work in response to The Huntington’s collections. This month, with the support of the The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, The Huntington purchased the video jointly with VPAM, where it is currently on view.
The nine-and-a-half-minute Apariciones/Apparitions features ghost-like dancers inhabiting The Huntington in unconventional ways. Choreographed by dance artist Marina Magalhães and shot by videographer David de Rozas, the piece is centered on brown, black, and queer bodies haunting The Huntington’s iconic and traditional spaces—such as the great double staircase of the Huntington Art Gallery, the sweeping sculpture-lined North Vista lawn, and the rare book reading room in the Library building—in sensuous movements informed by the spiritual rituals of an Afro-Brazilian deity. In much of the powerful, captivating piece, the dancers look directly at the camera. “The gaze of the dancers, or phantoms, holds the viewer accountable,” said Caycedo, something that she feels is too often missing from history and art.
“We are always eager for people to engage in meaningful ways with our collections,” said Catherine Hess, chief curator of European art, who organized the acquisition and installation, “and Carolina Caycedo is a superbly astute artist who trained her eye on this place with stunning results. Apariciones /Apparitions is an exquisite and relevant—even provocative—work. We are deeply indebted to the Berman Foundation for making this possible.”
In the video, dancers embody past entities returning to the earthly realm. Caycedo worked with Magalhães to develop gestures inspired by the Candomblé religion and the goddess Oxúm, a deity of water, pleasure, fertility, and sexuality. Dancers appear dressed in Oxúm’s signature color of deep gold and perform such rituals of labor as tilling land or washing gold in a river. The figures inhabit historically white spaces in evocative, unconventional ways, approaching the collections as sites for ritual, enjoyment, and divination.
Born in London in 1978 to Colombian parents, Carolina Caycedo has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 2012. She has developed publicly engaged projects in major cities across the globe, from Bogotá to London, New York to Paris, and San Juan to Tijuana. She has exhibited work at several international biennials and in solo shows in galleries from Los Angeles to Berlin. Her artist book Serpent River Book was included in “A Universal History of Infamy,” an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and she participated in the Hammer Museum’s “Made in LA 2018” exhibition. Her work is also currently on view in “Young Latinx Artists 25 Buen Vivir/Vivir Bien” at Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin.
The Berman Foundation has contributed to The Huntington’s art collections in several ways over the past decade. It made the promised gift of a bronze Sounding Sculpture by Harry Bertoia, was instrumental in securing the long-term loan of Alexander Calder’s Jerusalem Stabile for a stroll garden at The Huntington, and in 2017 gave The Huntington a major gift of 330 works on paper by Henry Moore. Berman Foundation president Nancy Berman is chair of the art committee for The Huntington’s Board of Governors.
VPAM’s acquisition of Apariciones /Apparitions is supported by the Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation.
About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Information: (626) 405-2100 or huntington.org.