Untitled (Lynchings), 2008

Miami Beach 2018
Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Installation
Installation including one painting (enamel, oil and pencil on canvas on wood with newspaper clipping, 14 x 18 cm), works on paper, showcase (wood, glass, 55.5 x 242 x 47 cm)
55.5 x 242.0 x 47.0 (cm)
21.9 x 95.3 x 18.5 (inch)
The work addresses issues of violence in Latin America, specially popular lynchings of suspected criminals at the hands of large crowds that saw an increase across the region in the 1990s. Altough it is often assumed that theses incidents involve random, regrettable, and relatively spontaneous acts of violence or throwbacks in the past, these represent purposeful, powerful, and deeply political acts. Most literature on the region tends to regards contemporary violence as a predominantly top-down phenomenon - by state against citizen, landowner against peasant, mestizo against indian - yet these incidents reveal a new sort of violence that originates at the bottom. The lynchings suggest an attempt by embattled communities to reassert their autonomy after decades of repeated assaults by state armies, local elites, the globalized economy, and other adversaries. By enacting these highly ritualized, unevoqually public displays of justice, marginalized communities seek not only to punish and to deter criminal activity, but perhaps more importantly, to reassert themselves collectively as agents rather than victims. In this way, lynchings may reveal a dark side of what passes for democracy in the region.