Concerning the direction in which the wind blows: Manuela Ribadeneira


22nd November, 2018 – 3rd February, 2019

An important part of Manuela Ribadeneira’s work has revolved around punishment as a significant theme, which can be contrasted against the polarizing discourse of ideologies and against the aggressive and punitive climate established by various regimes. All the works gathered in this exhibition, produced in the last decade, emerged as reactions to the turbulent global and regional political scenarios of the period.

Although the artist’s investigations into hostile and arbitrary gestures in everyday life or in historical anecdotes intermittently cross her practice, it is from 2009 to the present that this subtext acquires a singular presence.

The presidency of Rafael Correa in Ecuador (2007-2017), the tragic future of 21st century Socialism in Venezuela, the extreme changes in course or the recalcitrant and lambasting language that appears in the political scenarios of different regions, look like good reasons to approach the body of work gathered here.

The artist’s work operates in an emotional register crossed by the political: although each piece is activated by curious historical data that act as a statement referring to facts and circumstances of public life, these are also, in essence, a drift of the feelings that exemplify how each person can narrate the course of the present and its intensities from the intimate perspective of their lived experience. Beyond all the contextual connections that outline a critical angle in the works, they communicate a certain helplessness: a sense of urgency caused by the understanding of living immersed in a world governed by uncertainty and where post-truth prevails.

The chronicles involved in this exhibition, and the meanings that emerge from them, also function as a backdrop for the artist’s official participation in this edition of the Cuenca Biennial. This serial, as a guided tour, collects a conversation piece by piece between the curator and the artist, who was invited to revisit these works and put them in perspective.


Rodolfo Kronfle Chambers