Please note: due to new Covid-19 guidelines, the London gallery will remain temporarily closed until further notice. However, the exhibition is also available to view via the App Store on Vortic Collect
The central theme of this exhibition is the quiet of catastrophe's aftermath, a solemnity that points as much towards modes of resilience and adaptation as it does to the crushing devastation of loss. This theme takes shape through María Berrío's narration of a small Colombian fishing village that has undergone a tragedy. In these works, the artist explores how the formation of historical memory occurs amidst processes of grieving in a village that maps the site of her own imagination.
Writing about the series, Berrío states, 'At the end of 2019, I started researching the history of small fishing villages in Colombia. I quickly became intrigued by the stories of these villages and their inhabitants, dark tales of environmental and political catastrophe. In each instance, however, I also encountered stories of resilience, of individuals miraculously cultivating hope from barren soil. These stories inspired me to imagine my own fishing village, this one steeped in the language and mythos of magical realism. Though the armature I constructed was a fiction, it was nonetheless tinged with real events. My paintings became a medium through which to channel the feelings and emotions that reverberated outwards from these events.
As the coronavirus pandemic emerged and threw 2020 into tumult, the lines demarcating my imaginary village from the reality in which I live seemed to smudge and blur. Though external circumstances may have shifted, however, my drive to create art – to respond to the world, to push back against the prevailing fear and anxiety – endured. This series explores the silence that follows in the wake of a catastrophe, the modes of resilience and adaptation that arise and evolve out of the crushing devastation of loss. Neither wholly real nor wholly imagined, these large-scale paintings depict the scenes that follow after tragedy, the ruined homes and landscapes that situate the women and children who have been left behind. I believe grieving is a process of opening oneself to the world in all its diversity and imperfection. With Flowered Songs and Broken Currents I offer a vision of what comes after certainty.
This exhibition began with the idea of a fictional town attempting to overcome a catastrophe, but it soon opened outwards into my own response to a very real, global catastrophe. The lines that distinguish art from life and life from art inevitably dissolved in its making.'
Press release courtesy Victoria Miro.