Cecília rebelde

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa

In Residence: Sep 20 – Nov 22, 2021

Exhibition: Nov 18, 2021 – Jan 9, 2022

Conflicting stories collide in Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa’s exhibition Cecília rebelde. Ramírez-Figueroa explores the catholic St. Cecília and the story of the Totonicapán Uprising of 1820 of indigenous Maya peoples (K’iche’) against the Spanish Empire in Guatemala. More specifically, the artist focuses on the rumor that Atanasio Tzul crowned himself king with the crown of St. Joseph, borrowed from the church, and used the crown of St. Cecília for his wife Felipa Soc.

Ramírez-Figueroa has transformed the Artpace gallery into an airy and contemplative chapel of history.

Five carved-wood paintings, Dressmaker’s Geometry, form an open-arced pentagon, inviting viewers to examine patterns that were sourced from Saints and everyday clothing. Utilizing his skills as a printmaker, the artist has carved into wooden panels while pushing his pallet into a newly expanded use of color.

The sounds of the mass-like audio poem written by collaborator St Ezequiel, with Melodic Adaptation and Vocal Performance by Julieta Garcia Reyes, wafts throughout the space. The poem is a decima or rhyming poem in Spanish, and the nine stanzas are an auditory mass based on the tale of the folk Cecília, Felipa Soc, that emanate from a small sculpture of a conch shell.

Bronze and resin sculptures, symbolic of adornments of both the catholic St. Cecília and the folk Cecília sit low to the floor. They highlight a story of sacred rebellion in objects such as a crown of flowers, palm frond, sandals, hand, and mask.

Through a catholic saint and indigenous folk tale, Ramírez-Figueroa continues his series of works examining atrocities and rebellions.

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Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa (Guatemala, 1978) lives and works in Guatemala City. He holds a BFA from Emily Carr University, Vancouver, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was a research fellow at Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht in 2013. Using performance, sound, drawing and sculpture, Ramírez-Figueroa’s work conjures live and sculptural representations that explore themes of loss, displacement and cultural resistance. The Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996) is a recurring subject in his work, which although often softened by an absurd and humorous approach, fails to conceal the force of history that precedes it.

Ramírez-Figueroa has participated in various solo and group exhibitions including ​Asymmetries, ​The Powerplant Toronto (2020); ​At Small Arms​,Toronto Biennal Of Art (2019; ​The Sixth State​, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City (2018); ​The Guardian of the Forest​, Proyectos Ultravioleta; Guatemala City (2018); ​The House of Kawinal​, New Museum, New York (2018); ​The Luminous Grid​, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf (2018); ​Shit Baby and the Crumpled Giraffe​, Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2017); ​The Green Ray​, daadgalerie, Berlin (2017); ​Linnæus in Tenebris​, CAPC musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux (2017); ​VIVA ARTE VIVA​, 57th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2017); ​Two Flamingos Copulating on a Tin Roof​, Haus Esters, Krefeld Kunstmuseum, Krefeld (2017); ​Incerteza Viva​, 32 Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo (2016); ​God’s Reptilian Finger​, Gasworks, London (2015); Rendez-Vous​, 13th Lyon Biennale, Lyon (2015); ​Burning Down the House​, 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2014); ​A Chronicle of Interventions​, Tate Modern, London, (2014); ​Illy Present Futur​e, Castello di Rivoli, Torino (2013); ​Beber y Leer El Arcoiris​, Casa América, Madrid (2012); Home Works IV, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2008); and 53rd Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Oberhausen, (2007).

He is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Mies Van Der Rohe prize, the Franklin Furnace award, the Akademie Schloss Solitude fellowship (selected by Dan Graham), and the DAAD Berlin Artists-in-Residence fellowship.

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Natalie Bell

Natalie Bell is Curator at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, where she recently organized solo exhibitions of Leslie Thornton and Sreshta Rit Premnath (both 2021). She was previously Associate Curator at the New Museum, New York, where she organized over a dozen solo exhibitions, among them: Lubaina Himid (2019), Marguerite Humeau (2018), Kahlil Joseph (2017), Hiwa K (2018), Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2017), and Anri Sala (2016). Bell also co-curated several major group exhibitions, including “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” (2017), “The Keeper” (2016), and “Here and Elsewhere” (2014), as well as “The Same River Twice” (2019) and “The Warmth of Other Suns” (2019). She has edited or coedited more than a dozen exhibition publications and published widely. Prior to her work at the New Museum, Bell was assistant curator for “The Encyclopedic Palace,” the International Exhibition of the 55th Venice Biennale (2013).

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