Lo estático en movimiento: sobre paisajes domesticados y piedras encubiertas
Ana Lucia Garcia Hoefken (*1994) currently lives and works in Barcelona. She was born and raised in Lima, and studied in Lima, Groningen (NL), London (Central Saint Martins), and Barcelona (Escola Massana). In 2022, she was invited as an Artist in Residence to the Centro Internazionale di Scultura in Peccia (CH cf. www.centroscultura.ch), together with three artists from Germany, India, and Switzerland. Peccia is located at an altitude of 840 meters and currently has about 180 inhabitants. The settlement was first mentioned in the 14th century and has been part of the political municipality of Lavizzara in the canton of Ticino on the south side of the Alps in Switzerland since 2004. In the early 20th century, soapstone was extracted and processed in the valley. In 1946, however, the Cristallina marble was discovered near Peccia, 400 meters higher, and the only still-operating marble quarry in Switzerland was opened. The artists had six months to explore the somewhat isolated mountainous valley, its stones, its inhabitants, which was all quite unfamiliar at first, and thus develop their personal projects. What Ana Lucia Garcia Hoefken realized in Peccia is presented in the current exhibition in Lima.
Ana Lucia Garcia Hoefken’s artistic work is based on a scientific approach. She designs experimental series of tests using stones that she finds on paths, slopes, and in the nearby riverbed, selecting them from the abundance of stones available based on what she can carry or transport. This means that the weight or size of the individual stones depends on what the artist can carry or transport and is also reflected in the series of works she presents. She mainly uses original resources, natural or artificially eroded sediment residues, and explores preconceived notions about stones and their materiality. In one series of experiments, the artist focused on wrapping stones with moist clay. The wrapped stones were laid out on the studio floor, and then the applied sediment layer was observed as it dried, how craquelures formed, slowly detached from the stone surface, fell to the ground, and accumulated around the stripped stone until it was completely eroded. In another, larger experimental series, stones were cut into thin slices and laid out in a chain-like manner, following chance or the artist’s intuition. This exposed the interior of the stones and revealed the previously hidden layers - an approach which provides insight into prehistoric material. Exposed veins meander over the cut surfaces and transform the previously inconspicuous stone into a new landscape traversed by a path or a river. In a different experiment, a multi-part plaster relief was created by combining, wrapping and sawing equally sized plates. The strength of the imprint gradually increased until the plate broke through. The wall relief shows part of a cut-out negative form, molded from a stone that was wrapped in gypsum. Shifting light passes over the surface, directing the eye to the depressions and breaks. The interconnected, sawn, or drilled stone elements appear slightly playful. However, the interlinking is ambiguous, as the artist confirms, and does not only refer to cohesion and connection but also marks a boundary against the other. Chains close off and exclude.
In an additional, concluding phase, Ana Lucia Garcia Hoefken created stone pictures with fabric pieces, which she sometimes folded, covered, perforated, or stretched onto a chassis like a classical canvas. She sewed lines with thread and sewing machine, evoking the association of contour lines on maps or reminding of streams and paths. Then she positioned specially prepared stone sections, similar to erratic blocks and glacial erratics, onto the pre-sewn areas. The new pictures simulate rockfall and faults. The various series of experiments reflect a strong interest in geology, topography, and cartography. Changes in the landscape are perceived and brought to mind with simple artistic interventions. The works document landscape events and history. A look at her sketches, drawings, and designs with pencil and brush confirms this. Committed to sustainability, Ana Lucia Garcia Hoefken consistently avoids “waste” – as much as possible, everything is used or returned to nature.
Bern, April 2023, Marie Therese Bätschmann, member of the 2020-23 jury and the artistic commission at the Centro Internazionale di Scultura in Peccia. .
A year ago I was living and working in Peccia, a village in southern Switzerland located in the Lavizzara Valley. The region is full of lush mountains and converging rivers, full of geological history through the ages, and with marked seasonal changes that I was able to observe over a period of half a year. I began to reflect on the historical transitions of the landscape, our perception of time and its tangible representation in nature. I investigated the topographical traces caused in part by human intervention, from tracks to quarries, as well as by geomorphic processes, small and large scale, such as alluvium and plate movements.
This is how I begin to represent the landscape image as a link between the terrain and the culture in which it is inscribed. Lavizzara is a region where different types of extraction take place, producing a marked transformation of the environment, which is not only perceived in the sphere of the physical and what we can see, but also in the change of the sound environment and the intimate exchange subject to the experience of each being. Within the raw material they extract is marble, a preeminent material that is widely recognized and prestigious. I had the opportunity to visit a quarry of this material that was located near the town. Upon entering I was amazed by the magnitude of the space and then overwhelmed by the immense transgression that it implied. I could observe with a feeling of anguish and discomfort as huge blocks are extracted, torn out by rumbling machines, in a process that takes a lot of time and effort, it was as if the mountain itself did not want to give them up.
With this concern to investigate the process of mineral extraction and to understand the changing space, I begin to question the present link between the territory and culture and to relate to all kinds of stones that I find in the valley: scraps of these processes or collecting stones in the Fiume river. Thus I begin a process of exploration on the commonly perceived characteristics: hardness, resistance and permanence; and I sought to stretch and question these conceptions through experimentation. This obsessed and constant interaction led me to rediscover stone and see it as a fluid, light and fragile material. Qualities of movement and change that are characteristic of stone, but are not evident.
During this process, the human elements that attempt to delimit the terrain - putting up fences, chains, signs indicating the outline of private property or the demarcation of roads and trails - begin to become evident. Researching on the domestication of landscape I make a connection between the present link between territory and culture. It is us who for reasons, have delineated and marked out a private property that does not belong to us, that changes. Although we try to control it, it persists and takes its own path.
The result of this study and experimentation were works that reencounter the landscape, a lost and imaginary landscape. An insistent search for ways to provide access to what is not there. This is how I begin to recreate from memory and intuition. Thus I find hidden topologies and return to what was once that same stone, dismantling the impermanence of the body. Experience in the world is subject to our interpretations and perceptions, where the landscape should not be seen only as a physical space, but as a multi-layered phenomenological environment that relates to our experience of life. The terrain is not simply an unsociable landscape, but a space of interaction and development in constant movement and questioning about the reality that each one of us perceives, to achieve a deeper understanding of the meaning of our existence.
- Ana Lucia Garcia Hoefken