Within Heritage Movements, 2013–21 - Autostrada Biennale

Within Heritage Movements, 2013–21

Artist: Oscar Lara

Venue: Shani Efendi House

Within Heritage Movements started from a moment of surprise: Oscar Lara’s encounter with precontact Paracas tapestries at the Gothenburg Museum of World Culture. Or perhaps it started from a moment of theft: in the 1930s, Swedish diplomats smuggled these pieces out of Lara’s native Peru. Surprise, theft, and a subtle reflection on the meaning and making of authenticity are all woven into the complex work Lara embarked on for the next decade. In a deceptively playful gesture, the project’s centerpiece involves the minute recreation of the Indigenous tapestries through exclusively Swedish labor: Swedish researchers, Swedish artisans, Swedish funding, and, sí, Swedish alpaca wool. These replicas’ trajectories eventually crisscrossed those of the original pieces, which were officially reclaimed and repatriated to Peru: two sets of tapestries traveling in diplomatic boxes across the Atlantic, along colonialism’s seams, loose threads never quite falling into place. Within Heritage Movements is a display of breathtaking tapestries, a video, and archival material. It is also a display of the way culture is staged, the aesthetics of extraction, the uneven labor relations that structure our globalized world. The start of a repatriation process can be readily identified, but where does it end—if ever? Lara’s work embraces the uncertainty that comes with every heritage, spins it, and deftly invites viewers to move within these heritage movements.

Oscar Lara (1977) was born in Lima and lives and works in Stockholm.

Text by Áron Rossman-Kiss

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