Carolina Caycedo’s Spiritual Fieldwork, Anna Souter, δημοσίευση στο Hyperallergic [13/1/2023]
When London-born Columbian artist Carolina Caycedo begins a new project, she embarks on a process she describes as “spiritual fieldwork.” She hopes to distance her work from the field of ethnographic research, in which the researcher deliberately situates themselves as a neutral outsider. Instead, Caycedo combines her structured system of scientific research and interviews with a more personal and immersive practice of forging connections with people and places on a spiritual level. As the title of her new solo exhibition at BALTIC suggests, ties of friendship and empathy are key to the artist’s ways of working.
Much of the work in Land of Friends (which constitutes Caycedo’s first European survey exhibition) is drawn from the artist’s long-term project “Be Dammed (Represa/Repressión)” (2012–ongoing). This major multifaceted collection of work examines the sociocultural and environmental impacts of building dams on rivers and campaigns for the rights of both watershed-dwelling peoples and rivers to self-determination.
This project is part of an ongoing attempt to unlearn the colonial gaze and offer alternative ways of seeing, representing, and relating to peoples and places. She argues that visual artists can often become complicit in the reduction of complex ecosystems to “landscapes” in a purely pictorial sense, conforming unquestioningly to European art historical formats that create distance between human viewer and nonhuman subject. Instead, Caycedo wants to place human beings and human actions within the systems she studies.