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The new Peruvian photography scene

The new Peruvian photography scene

Eight years ago, the famous fashion photographer Mario Testino founded the Museo Mario Testino (MATE) in Lima, Peru, in an effort to spotlight and disseminate Peruvian photography. The current exhibition, entitled Cámara Lúcida, presents the work of twenty-three young Peruvian photographers selected among portfolios submitted to the museum’s open call for projects. We take a look at these emerging talents.

Ollagüe, 2018, © Natalia Pilo-Pais, Museo MATE 2019

The photographs showcased in the exhibition Cámára Lúcida take the form of prints, videos, installations, as well as books, and foreground the diversity of Peruvian photography. While there are connections among the different works in the exhibition, their diversity shows that the shared nationality of the photographers and their status as emerging artists are not creatively determining or limiting factors.

The overall impression of the exhibition is precisely a multiplicity of possibilities to be found in photography. This is true in particular of works that push the limits of the medium. Thus Amanda Del Carpio explores the boundary between photography and drawing. Her image makes the viewers wonder about the techniques used in its production. The title of the work, This Is Not a Drawing, This Is Not a Photo, reveals that the project hinges on this ambiguity. 

Manuel Limay Incil’s surprising installations explore forms of photography that elude academic categories: he creates micro-sculptures that incorporate coca leaves featuring archival images developed thanks to a photographic process that takes advantage of chlorophyll-based pigment reactions.

This is not a draw, this not a photograph, 2019, © Amanda del Carpio, Museo MATE 2019

Collective imagination and personal stories

Some photographs shown in Cámara Lúcida adopt more classical forms even while addressing very contemporary themes. For example, the deserted mountainous landscapes, which Ana Lucía Negri has laid out on a table, help her explore the sculptural dimension of the Peruvian territory. Sharon Castellanos, in turn, in a project carried out during an artist residency in the Swiss Alps, draws attention to climate change. The jagged forms of glaciers shown next to a candle melting in the palm of a human hand send a clear message about the urgent need to protect these natural landscapes: their fate, the images seem to be saying, is in our hands…

© Ana Lucia Negri

While some works appeal to the collective perception of natural landscapes and to a shared vision of climate conditions, others evoke personal narratives. Rafael Soldi explores the question of his own masculinity through a graphic portrayal of boys at play enacting rituals paradoxically straddling cruelty and desire. Daniela Muttini, who is a fashion photographer, is showing a more personal project: photographs featuring a woman whose body is unlike the fashion models she normally photographs because it breaks with the common stereotypes and might even be found lacking. Muttini’s photographs thus show a nude woman, portrayed in natural surroundings that envelop her and carry her along, and which appear to be in perfect harmony with her body.

​Iol​ (la primera letra es una i mayúscula), 2018, © Daniela Muttini, Museo MATE 2019

A brilliant photograph 

“All that glitters is gold”—Todo lo que es oro brilla—the title of a series by Pedro García Miro twists the popular saying that warns about misleading appearances. By inserting pieces of gilded plastic and scraps of gold-colored fabric into natural landscapes, the artist seems to invite the viewers to let their guard down: the glitter sparks an optimistic discourse. The neon lights and kitschy shop signs in Piétina Masquez’s photographs are no less brilliant. Reprising a vernacular aesthetics, the artist recreates a world onto itself in a simple installation of 10×15 prints and familiar, vintage objects arranged on a shelf.

Todo lo que brilla es oro, 2018, © Pedro García Miró, Museo MATE 2019

The twenty-three diverse, unclassifiable projects illuminate the “camera lucida” exhibition at MATE through the end of November. The heterogeneous forms and storylines breathe fresh life into approaches to photography, and we wish their creators a radiant photographic future.

Notas sobre Lima, 2019, © Pierina Másquez, Museo MATE 2019

Sin título., 2014, © Sharon Castellanos, Museo MATE 2019

By Elsa Leydier

Cámara Lúcida: Young Peruvian Photography

October 18 to November 28, 2019


Av. Pedro de Osma, 409 Barranco Lima 15063


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