“¡Hay que dar para recibir!”
Carlos Mérida in Guatemala City
A solo exhibition by Lake Verea
The Guatemalan artist Carlos Mérida (1891-1985) is widely known as one of the first exponents of abstract modernism in Latin America, and for his contributions to the mexican muralism movement. Nevertheless, those who knew him better remember him by a phrase he often repeated during his lifetime and that, in a way, influenced his personal philosophy of life: hay que dar para recibir (we must give in order to receive).
This same phrase which characterized Carlos Mérida and his generous spirit is also the title of the first solo exhibition presented in Guatemala by Lake Verea, an artist duo composed of Francisca Rivero-Lake Cortina (Mexico City, 1973) and Carla Verea Hernández (Mexico City, 1978), who work collaboratively since 2005.
The exhibition itself consists of 30 framed photographs of 20 x 20 cms each, which document the legacy of Merida’s murals, created between 1952-1956, in Guatemala City. More specifically, the two murals located at the I.G.S.S. and the Municipality of Guatemala, and at the Banco de Guatemala, Crédito Hipotecario Nacional, Edificio Italia and Villa Dora.
The “Carlos Mérida” series, as most of Lake Verea’s work involving architectural documentation, aims to present architecture as a living being in constant flux, from its initial conception to becoming a ruin, and then changing into something else. In this way, architecture becomes a conceptual vehicle for addressing other themes, as one in this case being of fundamental interest for NuMu: to promote the preservation of our cultural heritage and the legacy of guatemalan artists, who would otherwise go unnoticed.
For the duration of the exhibition, visitors will be invited to reconfigure the selection of photographs which hang on the museum’s walls. Thus, even if done only as a symbolic and transient action, visitors will have an active participation and responsibility over Mérida’s legacy, in the hopes that this small gesture will urge us to understand that caring for these murals, which are slowly deteriorating with the passing of time, is our shared responsibility.
Furthermore, as part of “¡Hay que dar para recibir!”, the artists have produced a publication which borrows its title from the exhibition and seeks to identify the various sites in Guatemala City where the guatemalan modernist artist’s murals are located.
The original photographs were commissioned by Pablo León de la Barra for the exhibition “Incidentes de viaje en Centroamérica, Chiapas, Yucatán y otros lugares”, co-curated by Emiliano Valdés and presented at Centro Cultural de España, Guatemala, in 2010.
Lake Verea is Francisca Rivero Lake (Mexico City, 1973) and Carla Verea (Mexico City 1978) working as duo since 2005 and is represented by Galería La Caja Negra in Madrid and Galería Proyecto Paralelo in México City.
Lake Verea works with analogue negative and vintage cameras and focus on portraying buildings, houses and constructions that are paragon to modern architectural history in their condition of “Modern Ruins”. Their desire is to compose portraits that reflect their quality as living beings. The duo, understands architecture not as a static form, yet as one that adapts, evolves, gets old, breaks-down, transvestites or disappears.