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De La Torre Brothers, Post-Columbian Futurism

"Colonial Atmosphere" 2002 De La Torre Brothers opening at ICA San Diego museums
"Colonial Atmosphere" 2002 De La Torre Brothers opening at ICA San Diego museums

ICA Central

Saturday, March 18, 2023 -
Sunday, August 20, 2023

About

In Post-Columbian Futurism, one of their largest and most ambitious projects to date, brothers Jamex and Einar De La Torre (b.1960 & 1963, Guadalajara; live and work in San Diego/Baja California) transform the ICA’s Central campus into the site of an epic battle for the future of humankind. Through a fusion of Mexican, American, and Indigenous cultural iconographies, the De La Torre brothers engage with our seasonal theme “Limitless Growth, Limited World,” by relaying a cautionary tale about the dangers of overconsumption in all its forms. Post-Columbian Futurism imagines a battle between the Aztec gods Coatlicue, who represents Mother Earth, and Mictlantecuhtli, the god of the dead. In the brothers’ current conceptualization, Coatlicue morphs into “Coatzilla,” a savage creature wreaking destructive havoc on urban infrastructure, while the transformed “Miclantiputin” continually releases new traffic-filled highways in entrail-like ribbons that spill from his rib cage. We humans are caught in the middle…or perhaps we’re on both sides? Much like the brothers’ lenticular paintings, which reveal different images depending on the viewing angle, the resolution of this conflict may depend on one’s perspective.

Post-Columbian Futurism includes newly commissioned work to fill over 6,000 square feet of exhibition space.Two massive lenticular paintings of the gods will confront each other in the  gallery, surrounded by a series of projections, floor coverings, and related glass sculpture. “Colonial Atmosphere” (2002), an installation of a lunar lander in the shape of a massive stone Olmec head, will anchor the space, inviting us to consider how far we are willing to go, and how long we are willing to fight, for the juggernaut of humanity.

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Collaborating brothers, Einar and Jamex De La Torre, were born in Guadalajara, México, 1963, & 1960. In a sudden family move, the brothers moved to The United States in 1972, going from a traditional catholic school to a small California beach Town. They both attended California State University at Long Beach, Jamex got a BFA in Sculpture in 1983, while Einar decided against the utility of an art degree. Currently the brothers live and work on both sides of the border, The Guadalupe Valley in Baja California, México, and San Diego, California. The complexities of the immigrant experience and contradicting bicultural identities, as well as their current life and practice on both sides of border, inform their narrative and aesthetics.

The Brothers have been collaborating in earnest since the 1990’s. Over the years they have developed their signature style featuring mix media work with blown glass sculpture and installation art. Their pieces represent a multifaceted view of life that reflects a complex and humorous aesthetic that could be seen as multi-layered baroque. Their approach is additive, constantly combining material and meaning. Influences range from religious iconography to German expressionism while also paying homage to Mexican vernacular arts and pre-Columbian art. In the last 15 years they have been creating photomural installations and using Lenticular printing as a major part of their repertoire. They have won The USA Artists Fellowship award, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, and The San Diego Art Prize,. They have had 18 solo museum exhibitions, completed 8 major public art projects and have participated in 4 biennales.

* Colonial Atmosphere, 2002, Mix media installation with variable dimensions. Photo credit De La Torre Brothers | Portrait photo by Chi Essary