[Photos: Max Creasy]

Corn is one of the most important crops in the global economy. While it held a central position in Pre-Columbian mythology and was a major source of nourishment, its origin as a plant native to the Americas has been widely overlooked. Considered the origin of humanity by the Aztecs and Maya, the cultivation of corn has shaped all aspects of life for millennia, from social environments to the measurements of time. In Ximena Garrido-Lecca’s exhibition Inflorescence at Portikus, the artist explores the crop’s multilayered meanings in relation to ancient beliefs, the colonial appropriation of knowledge and wealth, and the processes of modernization.

Conceived in the fall months, the harvesting season of maize in Europe, the exhibition links traditional techniques of stacking and threshing corn in Latin America with the telecommunication infrastructures that populate today’s rural landscape. A series of sculptures made of corn plants from the fields of Hesse, are mounted with antennas and megaphones that emit radio interferences as well as Mayan myths encrypted in Morse code. Composed of maize modules, vases, and stones, a circular threshing floor is a place for gathering and regular activations for the production of the traditional Peruvian drink chicha de jora (corn beer). Regarded as the beverage of the gods by prehistoric civilizations, chicha de jora today is still a symbol of hospitality.

By enhancing ancient rituals centered around corn, systems of communication and the communal value of broadcasting, Garrido-Lecca creates a site where cultural transmissions and social exchanges can take place. Considering an exhibition space not only produces but also transmits knowledge, Portikus features a radio station over the course of the show. Radio Inflorescence is a bi-weekly program, comprising a series of commissioned podcasts, material from the sound archives from Fonoteca Nacional de México and shows developed in collaboration with the Frankfurt-based radios EOS (www.eosradio.de) and Radio X (FM 91,8 MHz).

Inflorescence reflects on the radical shifts in our relationship to the natural world, following industrial revolutions, social paradigms, and the current configuration of the information age. Both haystacks and antennas are also evocative of the rural landscape, whose abandonment by capitalism has been a continuous thread in the artist’s work.

Ximena Garrido-Lecca (b. 1980 in Lima, Peru) is an artist based in Mexico City, Mexico. Her works have been exhibited among others at the Museo Madre, Naples (2021), 34th Bienal de São Paulo (2020), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Lima (2019), Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (2018), Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS), Mexico City (2017).
Inflorescence is the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany.

Radio program at Portikus

25.11.2022 with EOS Radio (live)

02.12.2022 with Alfredo Bojorquez (podcast) and archive material from the Fonoteca Nacional de México

16.12.2022 with Radio X (live)

23.12.2022 mit Luis Alvarado (podcast) and archive material from the Fonoteca Nacional de México

06.01.2023 with EOS Radio (live)

13.01.2023 mit Nabil Yanai Salazar (podcast) and archive material from the Fonoteca Nacional de México

27.01.2023 with Radio X (live)

03.02.2023 mit Julio Lugón (podcast) and archive material from the Fonoteca Nacional de México

Curated by Liberty Adrien and Carina Bukuts

Inflorescence is generously supported by Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, and Städelschule Portikus e.V.. Special thanks to Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Additional support is provided by Feuerlord.de

[Text: Liberty Adrien + Carina Bukuts]

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