The Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego is pleased to present Aesthetics of Commodity, a solo exhibition, by Los Angeles-based artist Carolina Caycedo at ICA San Diego North.
The exhibition features a unique series of digital collages in which Caycedo overlays 19th and 20th-century stocks and bonds from the commonwealths of Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Carolina Caycedo deconstructs the visual language of financial bonds and their implication of a colonial legacy in her show Aesthetics of Commodity.
In a series of digital collages, Caycedo overlays 19th and 20th century stocks and bonds from the commonwealths of Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, calling attention to the symbolic text and imagery emblematic of the consumption of land and the economic and social systems formed through the sale of those bonds. Elaborate tableaus, vignettes, and borders extracted from historical documents highlight themes parallel to Manifest Destiny, slavery, and modern day capitalization of public infrastructure.
Bonds, sold by governments to private parties for the development of public programs including water, energy, housing, health, and education, leverage their decorative nature to influence the public into acquiring them. From the detailed borders and insignias to the fetishization of pastoral and picturesque landscapes, often depicted as “unoccupied and wild, ready to be tamed”, bonds allowed for the growth and expansion into new territories, ripe for commodification.
People represented in the bonds are often the enslaved or indigenous individuals, those that were most directly affected by the purchase of those same bonds. When money was borrowed to expand business ventures, the collateral that was put up against these loans were human lives. The banks, companies, and people built their foundations on these idyllic visions, utilizing art and beauty to hide ugly truths and to encourage further commodification of basic human rights.
Aesthetics of Commodity kicks off the new exhibition season, Limitless Growth, Limited World, in which 11 local and international artists use contemporary art to portray possibilities and conversations about what we value and consume.
The regional artist program fosters artists from Southern California and Northern Baja California to Los Angeles, and east into the desert. United under a curatorial theme, the program showcases artists exploring unique perspectives on the world through interdisciplinary approaches.
Carolina Caycedo (b. 1978, London, UK, to Colombian parents; lives and works in Los Angeles) received an MFA from the University of Southern California in 2014 and a BFA from Los Andes University in Bogotá in 1999. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Visual Arts Center, University of Texas, Austin (2021); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020-2021); Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (2020); Orange County Museum of Art (2019-2020); and Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, Poland (2019-2020). Caycedo has participated in group exhibitions at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond, VA (2020); Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden (2020); Chicago Architecture Biennial (2019); Museo de Arte São Paulo, Brazil (2019); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2018); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA (2017); and Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2017). Caycedo is the recipient of the VIA Art Fund Artistic Production Grant (2020), Art Matters Foundation Fellowship (2020), California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists (2017), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2016), Creative Capital Award (2015), and Harpo Foundation Grant for Visual Artists (2015), and has participated in residencies at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA (2018); FAAP/Bienal São Paulo, Brazil (2016); and DAAD, Berlin (2012). Caycedo is the 2020-21 Wanlass Artist in Residence at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and a 2020-2022 Inaugural Borderlands Fellow of the ASU Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. The Blessings of the Mystery, Caycedo’s exhibition with filmmaker David de Rozas, opens at Ballroom Marfa in April 2022.