Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa: Corazón del espantapájaros (Heart of the Scarecrow)
Wednesday, January 16, 6 – 9pm
Exhibition Dates: January 17 – March 9, 2019
Working with performance, sculpture and drawing, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa’s practice evokes symbols, sounds and gestures that have been lost to history, to politics and to memory. He often draws from literary and poetic sources to create a constellation of tragic, comedic and mystical traces.
Corazón del espantapájaros (Heart of the Scarecrow) is the third iteration of a serial project that explores the historical reverberations of Guatemalan playwright Hugo Carillo’s 1962 script, El corazón del espantapájaros (The Scarecrow’s Heart) and its oblique interpretation by students at El teatro de la Universidad Popular de Guatemala in 1975. The students’ highly stylized satirical portrayal of juridical archetypes provoked one of the most severe censorships of the arts during the Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996).
For this iteration, Ramírez-Figueroa will focus on the central character and namesake of the play, and query “Who is the Scarecrow and what is its heart?” Working with a contemporary interpretation of Carillo’s script by Guatemalan poet Wingston González, Ramírez-Figueroa’s solo performance will take up a breadth of symbolic and material interpretations of the scarecrow and the heart, as form and force. His exhibition will also consider the endurance of artistic production in tumultuous times, the political efficacy of education, and the long-term effects of censorship on bodies, geography and culture.
In tandem with Ramírez-Figueroa’s consideration of the contemporary values of artistic production and education, SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts theatre students will perform their own interpretation of the play in the gallery, supported by Assistant Professor Cole Lewis. In 2018 theatre student María Escolán Nuila completed the first English translation of Carillo’s script, supported by Lewis and Guatemalan writer and translator José García Escobar.
Ramírez-Figueroa’s recent solo exhibitions at New Museum, New York (2018); CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2017); and group exhibitions at São Paulo Biennial, Venice Biennale and LACMA, Los Angeles (2017); Lyon Biennial and EFA Project Space, New York (2015). He has participated in performance series at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2017); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2016); and Tate Modern, London (2015). Ramírez-Figueroa is a recipient of the Mies van der Rohe Award (2017); and a DAAD fellowship (2015-16). He holds a BFA from Emily Carr University, Vancouver, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in Guatemala City.
Presented with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Curated by Amy Kazymerchyk.
* Please note that entrance to the gallery is via 149 W. Hastings Street only.
Image: Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Obsidian Mirror, 2018. Woodcut, 40 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the artist.