Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Lucia de la Puente for an inside look into the life and work of this highly-regarded gallery director, whose passion for art and drive to achieve have allowed her to successfully manage one of the most highly regarded contemporary art galleries in Peru.
For her entire life, Lucia has had ties to the cultural past and present of Peru, giving her a unique and thorough understanding of many aspects of Peruvian art. Lucia’s enrichment began at a very early age, as her mother is an avid collector of art, and other members of her family are heavily involved in cultural projects including the well-known excavation endeavors at El Brujo and the Wiese Foundation’s Museo Cao. She even dabbled with art-making herself and enjoyed sculpting in her early life, using a variety of media including wood and bronze casting.
Lucia has since dedicated her life to her gallery. “I love what I do,” she told me with a bright smile, explaining how she has found her own place in the art community as a facilitator of art dissemination. She has also found an ideal location for her dream career: the bohemian district of Barranco. In 1995, Lucia originally started her gallery not far from its current location on the vibrant plaza of Saenz Peña, explaining that she has always been drawn to the charming character of this particular district in Lima. Others with similar passions have also felt this magnetic draw to Barranco, including boutique shops such as Las Pallas and Dédalo as well as the soon-to-be-inaugurated Hotel B directly adjacent to the gallery. Important to this district, Lucia was pleased to say, are the wonderful connections formed amongst her and her fellow art-lovers, and she has described Barranco as having a strong sense of community.
Located in a fully renovated, historical house in an accessible and inviting setting, Lucia de la Puente Gallery is one of Aracari’s favorite places to dive into Lima’s contemporary culture through the eyes of prominent Peruvian painters, sculptors, and the like. Lucia’s vision was to create a gallery that hosted such artists in a setting that would meet the standards of internationally renowned galleries, and with its pristine white walls, lofty ceilings and entryways, and reputation for its refined and exquisite exhibitions, the gallery has earned well-deserved accreditation from companies such as Travel + Leisure and Art + Commerce, amongst others. Although the gallery maintains an unassuming character from the outside, this multi-floor exhibition space also includes a café as well as a photography room and a Project room, providing opportunities for professional artists and students alike to develop their work.
Interest in her gallery and Peruvian art as a whole has increased significantly over the past decade specifically in the past five years, Lucia explained to me. She attributed this to several factors, including the growing economy, the advancement in opportunities, and, perhaps the most important aspect, the vibrant and diverse cultural roots strongly embedded in the identity of the country. It is no wonder why Lucia is always faced with the difficult decision of selecting from such a wide variety of artists’ styles, themes, and media to feature in her gallery.
With the help of her team, Lucia presents ten different exhibitions annually, all featuring prominent artists, whose personal styles speak to her discerning tastes. This gives the gallery a more personal touch, yet with years of exposure to the traditional and contemporary cultural identity of the country, the criteria for selection and presentation of these artists is of a highly distinguished caliber.
Currently on exhibition at the gallery are the works of Alberto Borea and Pedro Peschiera. These contrasting artists vary in every way imaginable, yet the presentation of their work could not be more fitting. Peschiera’s work is characterized by clean, meticulous forms, and he creates vibrantly colorful studies of geometric forms that are given three-dimensional depth using transition of color. These paintings must be viewed from afar to appreciate the detailed perfection of his precision, yet they must also be view up close in order to reveal the subtle blending of colors used to create the illusion of depth. His work thus occupies the walls of the rooms in the lower level, where visitors are welcomed into this great space and are provided with ample opportunity to compare each piece from varying distances. The collection of Borea’s work, on the other hand, requires a different presentation for his evocative mixed media sculptures and collages. In a more intimate setting in a small room on the second level, the gallery forces the viewer to personally engage with the aggressive black painted forms, the shards of glass, and the chaotic tears of photographs that comprise this particular series.
Lucia de la Puente has translated her vision into a prominent gallery that is all-encompassing. Her greatest strength, perhaps, is her ability to portray the diversity and talent of contemporary Peruvian artists, complementing the artistic ambiance of Barranco. She has, without a doubt, impacted and added to the artistic prestige of Peru.
Contact Aracari for more details about how you can incorporate a private guided visit to Lucia de la Puente Gallery – or indeed any of the many excellent Lima art galleries – during your trip to Peru. We are very well placed to give you a glance at the booming contemporary art scene in the city.