Sergio Vega creates artworks which address both contemporary and historical systems of representation in the Americas. The artist has taken the ever-evolving notion of earthly paradise as a reoccurring point of departure for his work. He specifically bases his research on the theory by Antonio de Leon Pinelo (1650) that locates the Garden of Eden in South America. His investigation, which adopts a cross-disciplinary approach, incorporates lush imagery and distinct literary references to create physical manifestations of cultural myths to disclose the modus operandum of colonialist ideologies.

For ten years now, Vega has been working on the on-going mixed-media project Paradise in the New World which explores the mythologies of paradise underlying the culture and history of Brazil. In Vega’s own words: “When I decided to embark in the search of Pinelo’s paradise I only had a copy of his book, a map drawn by Pedro Quiroz in 1617, and an airplane ticket. I was destined to reach into the very heart of South America and flesh things out on my own. Thus the journey of discovery begun bound to become the confirmation of a previous text, which was in itself the revision of a preceding one, and so on and so forth in a vast, never ending cacophony of echoes that went through Dante and Marco Polo all the way back to the old testament. Eden turned out to be in Brazil. The area of paradise covers a section of the state of Mato Grosso with rainforests, rivers, swamps, mountains, archaeological sites, indigenous reservations, rural towns, shantytowns and cities, including the capital Cuiabá. These various sites, along with their histories and tales, supplied the source materials for this project. Empiricism counteracted by historical and theoretical research resulted in artworks designed to enable the sensorial experience as well as the critical examination of the discourses of Tropicalism. All the photographs were taken in situ and should be interpreted as depictions of paradise. The wall texts narrate the discovery of Pinelo’s mythical garden as a travel diary of my own”.

Born in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1959, Sergio Vega attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study program in 1991-92 and received an MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1996. A full time faculty member at the University of Florida since 1999, he currently teaches in the photography and sculpture departments. He has participated in numerous international exhibitions including the 51st Biennale di Venezia (Italy), the 5th Biennale de Lyon (France), Soonsbeek 9 (Arnhem, The Netherlands), the 5th Gwangju Biennial (South Korea), the 1st Yokohama Triennale (Japan), and the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (South Africa). In 2006 he presented “Crocodilian Fantasies” at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, his first solo exhibition to be held at a European museum and “Tropicalounge” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

This event is part of Algo Más Que Palabras / Something More Than Words

Sergio Vega  
  • Wed 20.6.2007
    20:30 - 20:30
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  • Artists