Manuela Ribadeneira – ‘Objects of doubt and certainty’

11th DECEMBER 2019

Manuela Ribadeneira (Quito, 1966) had her first solo exhibition in her hometown in 1996. Since then she has forged one of the most outstanding careers in contemporary art in Ecuador with a notable presence within international exhibition circuits. Almost a quarter of a century after these beginnings, the present panoramic exhibition of her at the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in Quito constitutes the first review of her career put into perspective.

The artist is known for her particular way of producing sophisticated objects that, through various metaphorical operations, skillfully synthesize a series of stories that allow us to critically focus on the present. Her works are based on concerns linked to specific situations at the time of her creation, which she usually addresses based on a scientific curiosity or historical anecdote, responding to them from personal experience or family memory. This quality of seeking in her works a crossover between the intimate and the political has allowed them to go beyond the original context of her creation to become thoughts that are projected in time, allowing a continuous update of her readings.

The route of this exhibition curated by Rodolfo Kronfle Chambers, distributed throughout four pavilions, outlines his inclinations by putting works from different periods in dialogue, thus emphasizing core interests and key signifiers that cross his work. The first part presents his historical research and reflections on the notion of territories and the acts of possession that determine them, to then continue with his exploration of the topic of punishment as an inherent corollary to excessive power. In the last two pavilions, works are gathered that seem to investigate their own place in the world – where existential concerns overlap with identity themes – in works that speak from a subjectivity that is sufficiently open, and deployed in a horizon full of doubts and certainties, as to propose to also think about our role and direction in the grand scheme of things.

The dispersion of his works in institutional and private collections outside the country presented a challenge for the selection and logistics necessary for this exhibition. It was possible to bring together 40 works, including videos, sculptures, audios, installations and objects, as well as some made especially for the occasion, which reflect the breadth of formal resources that Ribadeneira uses to develop his work and that allow for a recount – at less partial—of its production in the last 20 years.