Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo. Artistic Topography by Arttextum

Page 1

Artistic Topography by Arttextum

Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo

Costa Rica

Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, Spain · Promoción del Arte

Arttextum’s Team: • • • •

Frida Cano Wendy Cano Mick Lorusso Andrea L.T.

A special thanks to Begoña Torres, Paloma Ballesteros, Arturo Kanno, Silvia A. Domínguez, Adela Windsor and Paulina Velázquez Solís.

Arttextum is a project registered with the Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor (National Institute of Copyrights), Mexico.

Maps of Artistic Topography by Arttextum


Arttextum, Weaving of Cultural Agents Inspired by Latin America is an original idea by Frida Cano and Wendy Cano, in collaboration with Subdirecciรณn General de Promociรณn de las Bellas Artes, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, Madrid, Spain, 2012/2017.


Maps of Artistic Topography are creative analyses within the logic of the Arttextum project that investigates the cultural landscape generated from Latin America. This project translates algorithms into metaphors, associating the cultural landscape with the natural landscape, where artists are like the creative rivers that flow and modify the cultural landscape and the art institutions are like the geographical ground through which these rivers pass. These maps are composed of geographic research, linking them with artistic products in conjunction with interviews with directors and curators of cultural institutions.

Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo Institution attached to the Ministry of Culture and Youth

Centro Nacional de la Cultura - CENAC Avenida 3, Calle 15 San José, Costa Rica

Arttextum COSTA RICA

–Fiorella Resenterra, director MADC


“T he museum should make itself a platform in service of the artists, curators, scholars, students and their public.”

Description of Institution Type of institution: Museum of contemporary art and design Physical description: MADC has a physical space of approximately 1200 m², which includes 5 exhibition halls, the collection, the workshop, the administrative offices, the terraces and the Pila de la Melaza, the latter being used for multidisciplinary events (performances, installations, music, among others). The museum offers a video-library and a documentation center, for researching audio-visual materials, catalogs, and books of art and contemporary design of Central American and international artists. Disciplines focused on: Solo and group exhibits by national and international artists and curators with visions related to the aesthetic, cultural and social issues that affect the Central American region and the world. At the same time, the museum promotes the implementation of art competitions, and supports video-creation shows, digital art, emerging artists, among others. Brief summary: Under the initial management and curatorial effort by Ana Luisa Piza Carrillo and Virginia Pérez-Ratton (RIP), the MADC was founded in 1994 in the former site of the old national liquor factory, which dates back to the year 1856. This site is situated in a historical zone of downtown San Jose and it is valued as one of the most important architectural and heritage sites in Costa Rica. After a radical restoration at the beginning of the nineties, the old FANAL (National Liquor Factory) was converted into the National Cultural Center (CENAC) which is part of the Ministry of Culture and Youth. Services offered: Exhibitions, workshops, guided tours, lecture cycles and round tables on museum exhibitions, cinema and video cycles, interactions between artists and public in public spaces (En la Calle), performance, video, music, bibliographic and audio-visual consultation in the Video Library and Documentation Center. On its website, MADC offers information on past, present and future events and exhibitions, on its Permanent Collection, social networks, podcast contents with interviews to artists and curators, calls, as well as information and images about the main artists, institutions and contexts of the Central American area linked to contemporary art. Type of collection: The permanent collection boasts an important patrimony of Central American contemporary art, with renowned Costa Rican, Central American and international artists. These include a mixture of techniques and art languages: painting, etching, drawing, sculpture, photography, installation, intervened object, and video. Selections of these works are exhibited each year in the MADC’s galleries.


According to Arttextum MADC corresponds to the IrazĂş Volcano

In Arttextum,

Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo is a volcano

imagine a world in which people are like water...

Arttextum works with artists and visualizes a world where artists are like rivers

art institutions are like mountains and lakes art theory is like the weather In Arttextum, mountains are form when two or more artists exhibit there and recommend such a place.

To date, MADC has had 3 recommendations (Y axis) and 8 exhibitors (X axis); the creative involvement of these artists makes MADC a volcano-museum with a height and surface area of relevance to the cultural landscape of Costa Rica.

Recommended by:

Paulina Velázquez Solís

Óscar Figueroa Cháves

s m a i l il W e i an h ep St

María Adela Díaz

s s ve á olí h S C z oa ue r q ue láz g i e F aV ar n c i l u Ós Pa

2011, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

2015, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007



The height and length of this volcano is represented with a scale of 8:20, since 20 is the maximum number of exhibitors in the cultural terrain for mountains and volcanoes in Latin America.

n eó L da en l G

o nd i l Ga é s Jo a gin Re


o er t uin Q s afi h J


o till s a rC e Ed


2010, 2006

n yó o P el g Án


Scale X= exhibiting artists

Y= recommendations

MACD’s altitude is of 3 exhibitors, since that is the number of Arttextum artists that recommended this museum; this number is subject to changes, depending on the influence or relevance of the activities of the museum in the near future according to the perspective of the artists themselves. Like all natural landscapes, the landscapes of Arttextum also change based on the flow of the artistsrivers through the cultural territory.

It should be noted that in the cultural landscape of Arttextum each exhibitor is equivalent to one kilometer in the natural landscape, so MADC, seen as a volcano, would have an area of 8 km².

Topographic Analysis by Arttextum Due to its characteristics, the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo corresponds to the Irazú Volcano in the natural landscape of Costa Rica. This analogy is a direct reference to the physical geography of the land as a metaphor, in order to broaden the understanding of the place.

The Irazú Volcano is located in one of the most visited areas of the city by both national and inter national tourists.

The MADC is located in the cultural area of the capital of Costa Rica, which makes it one of the tourist attractions, along with other artistic centers of the region - such as TEORéTica and Despacio.

The name Irazú is of native origen, coming from the word Iztarú, which means hill of the earthquake and lightning. Over the years the name morphed into Irazú. The legend refers to the chiefs Coo and Guarco, who fought over the territory -today the Valle Central del Guarco. After the death of Coo, the warrior Aquitaba took his daughter “Iztarú” and carried her to the highest part of the mountain to sacrifice her to the gods in supplication for help to defeat Guarco. In a fierce battle, fire, ash, and rocks leapt from the highest peak and destroyed the warriors of Guarco and their forts, thereby ending the era of the invader and despot Guarco.

The MADC takes its name from the focus it has on promoting contemporary art and design. This museum is located in the structures of the historic Fabrica Nacional de Licores. The FANAL had the objectives of furthering the sugar cane industry and protecting the population from the consumption of harmful liquors, established in 1853 as one of the first and largest liquor industries in Costa Rica. Today, the CENAC houses cultural and social activities of many types (with two theaters, an amphitheater, the Compañía Nacional de Danza and the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo) that make the heritage buildings of the FANAL into an open an lively space. The MADC still preserves what would have been the bodega of the rums (as its main exhibition hall), the bottling areas (such as its rooms 2, 3, 4 and 5), and the Pila de la Melaza and the Tanques of water as galleries for visual arts and contemporary design.

The vegetation in the highest part of the IrazĂş Volcano is characteristic of the subalpine rainforest, a zone of life that develops at elevations above 3,300 meters, typical of the Andean regions. This is the only place in the Central Volcanic Range that presents this type of living zone. There are also forests of oak, hard bark tree, among others. Its vegetation is changing and, little by little, the visitor is integrated into the environment and seems to merge with nature.

The art that the Museo de Arte y DiseĂąo ContemporĂĄneo handles consists of a broad diversity of media, a product of the interaction of various art agents, such as Central American and Latin American artists and curators who engage with space. The art media include painting, installation, object art and above all printmaking. The featured techniques shown at this museum are changing and, at each event, the visitors are integrated into the environment and the museum seems to merge with them as they tour its halls.

The climate of the Irazu Volcano is classified as very humid and cold, with a short dry season (from December to April) and a rainy season (from May to November). Often mornings are clear and cloud cover increases during the day.

The MADC has a warm cultural climate. The artistic-cultural temperature of this museum is temperate during the majority of the year due to its constant scheduling of cultural events.

From the peak of the Irazú Volcano (that’s to say, from the western edge of the main crater) it is possible to see both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, a large part of the Costa Rican territory, and with a telescope, as far as the Lake of Nicaragua. In general, a view of the volcano always produces anticipation and it is true that one never knows how it might surprise each visitor, since its climate changes constantly: from fog, rain, even radiant sun. No matter what its climate might be, a visit to it always surprises.

From the activities, events and exhibitions that take place in the MADC, it is possible to view the work of contemporary artists and designers from the Central American region. In general, a visit to the museum always produces anticipation and one never knows how it might surprise each v i s i t o r. I t s e v e n t s a n d e x h i b i t i o n s a re multidisciplinary, from video art to installation or open air events. Whatever the medium on display, a visit will surprise you.

Geology: Irazú is a complex volcanic shield (500 km²) of irregular sub-cone shape. The Irazú volcano is a stratovolcano (differentiated layers of volcanic material) of 3,432 meters high, with strombolian characteristics (with violent eruptions) and five well-differentiated craters (Cráter Principal, Cráter Diego de La Haya, Playa Hermosa, La Laguna and El Piroclástico). The outer slope of the main crater, an area known as las Fumarolas, emits water vapor and gases.

Morphology: MADC is an artistic complex that forms part of the National Center of Culture CENAC. Being established in the old National Liquor Factory, the historic strata of the region are visible to the attending public. The museum preserves much of its original structure so its design harkens back to the buildings of the colonial era. Two of the Arttextum artists who have repeatedly exhibited at the MADC have formed flows of creative water that emerge as if they were craters with water.

Irazú is an active volcano with a long history of eruptions and eruptive cycles. It is a very important hydrologic zone. Various rivers are born there and feed the basins of Río Chirripó, Río Reventazón, Río Sarapiquí and Río Grande de Tárcoles.

The Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo is a museum with great cultural and artistic activity. It is a zone of great importance since it impels and furthers the careers of Central American artists and designers. Within Arttextum, the artists Óscar Figueroa and Paulina Velázquez stand out for their continual flow through this museum.

Arttextum COSTA RICA

–Antonieta Sibaja, education MADC


“T he commitment to society is our motivation.”

About crisis During the interview with the director of Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, Fiorella Resenterra, she was asked about the notion of crisis and strategies of survival during these periods (including economic, social, or conceptual approaches). In response, Fiorella commented: “I am convinced that the crisis is an opportunity. Countries such as ours have always lived in crisis, and the institution cannot by any means afford the luxury of collapsing due to limited resources. To enable the possibilities, to study the context, and above all to analyze the situation and the opportunities is fundamental for proposing new routes of action and approaches to realistic projects.” Its interesting to note that the current director of MADC is focused on how the museum operates in relationship with the immediate context. Seen from a local perspective, one must remember that MADC is part of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, that makes them dependent on the Civil Service for recruitment. As a result, the internal work pool does not always identify with the projects that the museum manages, and the prospects for profesional growth become rough. “The lack of human and economic resources is a factor that we strive to overcome,” said the director of the Education department, Antonieta Sibaja.

Antonieta explained that, through the related volunteer programs and education programs, they can achieve the goals of each project, while involving the local community in the events that the museum realizes.


From a much wider perspective, historically Costa Rica has stood out as one of the most abundant Central American countries -in fact it has been know as “the Central American Switzerland”- and therefore to speak of crisis might seem out of place. However, it is important to note that similar contexts connected to crisis have been the ones that define the majority of Latin American art production, and this museum detects these tendencies, propels them, and includes them in their multiple annual activities. (Think of the 2015 solo show featuring artist Óscar Figueroa, who addresses the ideas of progress and development from a perspective that has been cut short; or in the critical exhibit organized by the museum itself “Construction / Inventions: From the Central American Switzerland to the Happiest Country in the World” in November 2012 to February 2013, in which they debated stereotypes and collective imaginaries about the country.)


By dissolving these internal difficulties, the work of the MADC would strengthen as a result of its investment in regional contemporary art and design, and it would further impact the work and the careers of the artists on an international scale, not only in the short term but in the long term.

Conclusions It would seem that the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, with the status of a cultural producer, defends and promotes the activity of reimagining the context of Costa Rica through the works of visual art and design that it presents. Considering this, Arttextum would see this museum as a volcano that, in every exhibition or event that it realizes, creates socio-cultural earthquakes about the situation that the country and the Central American region confronts. “Maybe an earthquake is what the institution needs so that it can be fractured and the status quo breaks. There is nothing more harmful for an institution than to remain in its own comfort zone,” comments Resenterra. Starting from the context and results that the MADC contributes, it is worthwhile to delve into the notion of crisis on an international level, since its artists-rivers remind this institution that inspiration does not always emerge from the comfort of a country considered to be a model, but also from the fractures that make the present into a tangible reality in constant change.

A special thanks to Fiorella Resenterra, director of MADC, and to Antonieta Sibaja, MADC’s Department of Education, for their time and honesty during the interviews with Frida Cano y Wendy Cano- Arttextum.

Bibliographic References and Image Credits Antonieta Sibaja, Interview at MADC, August 4, 2015 and via email September 4, 2015. • “Costa Rica Overview,” in World Bank. Accessed February 15, 2017. costarica/overview • “Crisis económica en Costa Rica,” in Central America Data. Accessed Accessed February 15, 2017. http:// search?q1=content_es_le:%22crisis+econ%C3%B3mica %22&q2=mattersInCountry_es_le:%22Costa+Rica%22 • Daniel32708, “Distant Diego de la Haya Crater, Irazu Volcano, Costa Rica,” index.php?curid=9517767 • Eric Díaz Serrano, “Leyenda de Iztarú,” in Mitos y leyendas. Accessed February 15, 2017. http:// • Fiorella Resenterra, Interview via email, April 15, 2015. • “Fotos de Economía,” in Qué. Accessed February 16, 2017. http:// fotos/vista-volcan-irazu-costarica-f776471.html • Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, “Construcciones / Invenciones: De la Suiza Centroamericana al país más feliz del mundo”, Published March 27, 2014. Accessed February 15, 2017. docs/ lasuizacatalogovext • Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo. Accessed February 15, 2017. 14-historia-de-lasinstalaciones • “Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo en la antigua Fábrica de Licores,” in TripAdvisor. Accessed February 16, 2017. https:// Museum_of_Contemporary_Art_and_DesignSan_Jose_San_Jose_Metro_Province_of_.html •

Paolo Caffelli, “Los volcanes dormidos más turísticos del mundo,” in Soy Viajes. Accessed February 16, 2017. volcanes-dormidos.html • “Parque Nacional Irazú, Cartago,” in Go Visit Costa Rica. Accessed February 15, 2017. https:// cID=406 • Rafael Golan, “Irazu Volcano Costa Rica”, w/index.php?curid=17990842 • “Volcán Irazú, Cartago,” in DestinosTV. Accessed February 16, 2017. irazu/ • “Volcán Irazú (Medio Día),” in EcoTours. Accessed February 15, 2017. tours-de-1-dia/tours/ excursiones-desde-san-jose/item/12-irazu-volcano-half-day • “Volcán Irazú, Parque Nacional,” in Mapio. Accessed February 15, 2017.




Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.