The Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego is pleased to present Aesthetics of Commodity, a solo exhibition, by Los Angeles-based artist Carolina Caycedo at ICA San Diego North.
The exhibition features a unique series of digital collages in which Caycedo overlays 19th and 20th-century stocks and bonds from the commonwealths of Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Carolina Caycedo deconstructs the visual language of financial bonds and their implication of a colonial legacy in her show Aesthetics of Commodity.
In a series of digital collages, Caycedo overlays 19th and 20th century stocks and bonds from the commonwealths of Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, calling attention to the symbolic text and imagery emblematic of the consumption of land and the economic and social systems formed through the sale of those bonds. Elaborate tableaus, vignettes, and borders extracted from historical documents highlight themes parallel to Manifest Destiny, slavery, and modern day capitalization of public infrastructure.
Bonds, sold by governments to private parties for the development of public programs including water, energy, housing, health, and education, leverage their decorative nature to influence the public into acquiring them. From the detailed borders and insignias to the fetishization of pastoral and picturesque landscapes, often depicted as “unoccupied and wild, ready to be tamed”, bonds allowed for the growth and expansion into new territories, ripe for commodification.
People represented in the bonds are often the enslaved or indigenous individuals, those that were most directly affected by the purchase of those same bonds. When money was borrowed to expand business ventures, the collateral that was put up against these loans were human lives. The banks, companies, and people built their foundations on these idyllic visions, utilizing art and beauty to hide ugly truths and to encourage further commodification of basic human rights.
Aesthetics of Commodity kicks off the new exhibition season, Limitless Growth, Limited World, in which 11 local and international artists use contemporary art to portray possibilities and conversations about what we value and consume.
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