C&AL: Let’s talk about Cromotopos y Luminancias; one could say that in these works you are in collaboration with a non-human entity, the sun. Where does this relationship come from and what would be the motivation behind this gesture?
JLM: It comes from recognizing a belonging to an Andean culture that is based on solar calendars with an agricultural-festival function. Although those calendars currently embody multiple meanings from touristic and folkloric points of view, at the same time, the relationship between agriculture and astronomy continues to exist. Ecuadorian Andean land remains largely agricultural.
It is born out of a desire to interweave discourse with an artistic proposal where I use elements from ethnohistory and archeoastronomy. The solar festivities of the Andean world reflect how the land was thought about in pre-colonial times, that is, based on the movements of the sun and connecting it to the mountains as a fixed visual axis. I started walking around the city of Quito during the dates of the solstices and equinoxes to try to translate the poetics of the duration of the sun on those dates and the atmosphere that light generates in space. I was interested in walking those lines, known in the Andean world as Ceques, betwee various Apus and tutelary mountains from the eastern to the western range. The area where the sun operates in Quito is between the Pichincha, Cayambe, and Antisana volcanoes. It is a kind of solar dance through the geography where I attempt to translate this poetics into an actual experience.
The solar festivities on Andean land have a long history, and their own logic, temporalities, and landscapes. I, on the other hand, work in contemporary art and I approach it through sculpture, expanded painting and site-specific work. I believe that the specificity of the white cube is overwhelmed by the Andean epistemic density, which includes cosmic, geographical elements and multiple life forms. The indigenous is an important reference for me, though I always position it beyond the iconographic. In Cromotopos, I am inspired by archaeological pieces that evoke the sun and I reconfigure them into acrylic pieces installed in the urban landscape that are activated by light. The space-time known as Pacha is related to the multisensory. In the work, I try to replicate that experience where multiple temporalities coexist, an idea that is aligned with ritual.