The scientist, naturalist and world traveller Alexander von Humboldt will be the focus of numerous events in 1999 on the occasion of the bicentennial of his “Travels to South America,” which he embarked upon from La Corufia in 1799. In close cooperation with Dr. Karin Stempel, a renowned expert on the current art scene in Latin America, the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen has conceived a series of exhibitions of contemporary art from Latin America – “WeltSichten – Hommage an Humboldt” – which will be shown in the three ifa Galleries in Berlin, Bonn and Stuttgart.

South American artists will be presented who reflect contradictory connections between images, which through their different origins and ties make visible the entanglement of ideology and history, projection and fiction, oppression and appropriation.

The three-part exhibition project begins at the ifa-Gallery Berlin with the solo presentation of Carlos Capelán (b. 1948), who critically examines scientific systems of order and forms of presentation. He juxtaposes “purely” scientific and mythical-auratic arrangements as well as Western and Latin American models of science in the installation “Monument to the Indigenous Peoples of Germany”, which incorporates all the rooms of the gallery. Two different systems of presentation confront and comment on each other: the hygiene of a clinical reason, which presents objects as isolated exhibits and exponents of theoretical knowledge, is contrasted by Capelán’s auratic staging of objects, which evokes the genius loci of original location and integrates things into a larger context.