Adrián Balseca

Adrián Balseca, <i>The Skin of Labour</i>, 2016. Video still. Courtesy of the artist
Adrián Balseca, The Skin of Labour, 2016. Video still. Courtesy of the artist
Adrián Balseca, <i>Proyecto para retrato familiar (Cuji-Grefa)</i>, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, 2019. Courtesy of the artist
Adrián Balseca, Proyecto para retrato familiar (Cuji-Grefa), Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, 2019. Courtesy of the artist
Adrián Balseca, <i>Halfway</i>, 2015. Video still. Courtesy of the artist
Adrián Balseca, Halfway, 2015. Video still. Courtesy of the artist

Although he has frequently used photography and installation in his work, Adrián Balseca (1989, Quito, Ecuador) favors the moving image, either associated or not to the presentation, in the exhibition space, of the key players of his videos or films, which in this sense can be considered almost as documents of performatic actions. Balseca's work often deals with issues very specifically related to the context of Ecuador and the country’s recent history, but which in a certain way are common throughout the Latin American continent. Over the course of the last few years, the main focus of his research has been the extractive dynamics and its environmental impact, a central issue in the politics of various countries in South American countries, including Brazil, and which results are visible and dramatically known. One of his most poetic works in this sense is Grabador fantasma [Ghost recorder] (2018), in which Balseca's concerns with the environmental crisis in Ecuador and the planet become sharper and, moreover, he seeks to transpose the realm of art. The starting point of the work is a canoe powered by solar energy, developed by Kara Solar, an NGO with which engineers and community leaders of Achuar Nationality of Ecuador (NAE) collaborate to provide an alternative system of fluvial mobility. The canoe model conceived by Balseca emphasizes the need to listen to the teachings of the forest and, without carrying passengers, it rides alone into the river, recording the sounds of the Ecuadorian wilderness. 

With his works, Balseca has been gradually constructing an incomplete and programmatically open index of symbols and metaphors of specific ecosystems in the region, which can be either natural (Amazonia, the rugged Andean region or the unique context of the Galapagos Islands, among others) or sociopolitical, based on episodes and objects, mainly industrial ones, which summarize the weakness of the attempts at modernizing the country and, metonymically, the continent. For Medio camino [Halfway] (2014), Balseca researched the the first car produced in Ecuador, the Andino, a result from the collaboration between the Ecuadorian company, Aymesa, with General Motors, in the context of the BTV (Basic Transportation Vehicle) program for developing countries, during the great oil price spike of the 1970s. The video is a record of an action performed by the artist, who took out the gas tank from an Andino and drove it the 437 kilometers that separate the cities of Quito and Cuenca without gasoline, relying only on the spontaneous help of people he met along the way. 



Support: PCAI – Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative

  1. Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
  2. Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
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