To investigate the sacred violence of colonization testimony, artists Rodrigo García and Carlos Zerpa, from MECHA Coop [VE], proposed to trace, compile, and select passages from chronicles of the Indians of the 16th century in which a monstrous para-reality is manifested. And, after that, to transpose these textual fragments to contemporary visual discourse in the form of an Atlas.
«Visual Atlas of the American Monster» is the name of the research they carried out from April to July 2022 at Villa Sträuli, in Winterthur [CH]. During this period, they had contact with other artists and cultural practitioners, experimented and tested the first drafts of their atlas.
Rather than deny or criticize the colonial Europeans’ descriptions of Latin America’s unknown nature as monstrous, the artists try to embody the monster’s figure from their afro-Caribbean mestizo roots, depicting their inner monstrosity in empowered post-colonial key.
During their stay, the duo also did a performance in the opening of Teresa Margolles’ exhibition at Zurich Art Week, had a talk with the public at art space la_cápsula, in Zurich, and participated, along with fellow residents Gretel Medina [CU] and Leyla Cárdenas [CO], in an open studio in Villa Sträuli, entitled «Oracle Night». The group appropriated the house, from the cellar to the studios, filling the rooms with work and sharing with the audience fragments of experiences, research, and inspirations they gathered during their residency at the villa.
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Rodrigo Garcia and Carlos Zerpa are MECHA, a transdisciplinary collective based in Caracas [VE]. Their creative practice emerges at the intersection of storytelling, visual arts, and social commitment. Inspired by the struggles of the global south, their work seeks to empower underrepresented characters by creating transgressive and irreverent narrative devices. Over the last ten years, they have produced several award-winning public arts, editorial, and animation projects.