Discovering the Magic of Art Lima with Gallery Owner & Contemporary Art Specialist Mariano Ugalde

Last week, James, Simon, and I were privileged to canvas the stalls of Lima’s very first international art exposition, Art Lima, with Aracari’s esteemed friend Mariano Ugalde. Owner of Salar Galeria de Arte in La Paz, Bolivia and professional art dealer, Mariano’s career requires him to promote the work of talented artists around the globe, providing him with fantastic and extensive insight into the contemporary art scene. On this such occasion, Mariano was invited to showcase his artists’ work, along with 30 other different galleries that were represented at the show.

The exhibition was held at one of the magnificent buildings of the Military School in Chorrillos, and the galleries themselves were sectioned off along the interior walls and within the courtyard area.  We meandered from gallery to gallery inspecting the wide variety of artwork, from psychedelic and evocative oil paintings, to sculptural pieces that had cosmic and aquatic characteristics.  Many galleries had representatives present to talk about the work, to answer questions, and to assist in any sales transactions, a task fulfilled by Mariano as well.  However, what made this visit compelling was the passion for and knowledge about his particular artists, providing us with biographical information, award histories, and extensive explanations that still left much to the viewer’s imagination.

Sara Modiano, a Jewish-Colombian woman whose work was not fully realized until her arrival to and acceptance in the New York art community, had a diverse yet interconnected body of work represented at the show. Her work was introspective, ranging from a celebratory piece called “Orgasmic Shrine,” which consisted of wire building blocks imposed with images of the artist’s face in ecstasy, to the pieces that portrayed the intense angst she felt during her battle against cancer. In these latter images, Modiano appears with a shaved head. In one, her face and upper body are painted in silver and emote a series of painful expressions, while in the other, various images of her body are collaged into one photograph that she then sliced repeatedly in horizontal strokes across the piece. Modiano lost her battle in 2010, and Mariano is now paying tribute to her through the presentation of her work.

Drastically different in personality and style is Bolivian artist Delta 9. His “Crying Tree Series,” while void of any outward portrayal of self, is a display of physicality and emotion, with hand-carved wooden shavings mounted to a board and coated in a healthy dose of bold, expressive color.  The set of three pieces stands in stark contrast to the blank wall on which it hangs, and the textures and colors have a magnetic draw that evokes a physical response to reach out and touch. The youngest Bolivian artist to ever win the National Prize for his work, Delta 9 desires to remain anonymous, to discard his personal identity entirely in order to facilitate a stronger connection between the viewer and his work.

The third artist represented in Mariano’s exhibition space was none other than his father, the world-renowned Bolivian artist Gastón Ugalde.  Most well-known for his photos using the Salar de Uyuni landscape as his canvas, Ugalde presented a few of his politacally-charged colca leaf pictures among his latest images from the Salar, which you can read more about here.  Also present at this event, we had the opportunity to briefly meet Gastón and discuss his most recent suggestive and visually captivating pieces.

Mariano and his family have extended their hospitality to Aracari in the past and continue to provide that same generosity to our team and any guest eager to gain insight into Bolivia, its culture, and the emerging contemporary art scene.  To learn more about how you can create a hand-tailored itinerary to Peru & Bolivia with knowledgeable and interesting specialists such as Mariano Ugalde, contact Aracari for more information.

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