2 May – 29 June 2018
The artistic practice of Adrián Balseca (b. 1989, Ecuador) engages histories of artisanal handicrafts and industrial techniques encompassing different configurations of materials and immaterial processes involved in the production and circulation of manufactured goods. His works range from small interventions to large-scale actions and video documentation. He recently received a solo exhibition at the Precolumbian Art Museum Casa del Alabado, Quito, Ecuador (2017). In 2013, he was awarded the Premio Brasil–Arte Emergente at the Contemporary Art Center of Quito.
In the early 20th century, the South American rubber industry entered a phase of decline as a result of the successful implantation in Southeast Asia of a batch of hevea brasiliensis (rubber plant) seeds, brought to the region from London’s Kew Gardens in 1877. Expanding the lines of inquiry of a previous project—The Skin Labour (2016)—that examined rubber plantations in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Adrián Balseca follows the “trajectory of latex” in the Global South by investigating power relations, labour processes, and patterns of bodily movements devised for rubber harvesting in Singapore and Malaysia at a crucial moment of transition from manual to mechanical techniques. In particular, furthering his investigation of social-environmental issues and the “extractivist” dynamics that underscore capitalistic development, the artist will research designs and graphic patterns of incision employed for tapping rubber trees and the manifold implications entailed by the relocation of labour practices in different political, cultural, and environmental contexts.