In his first institutional solo exhibition Nervous System at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, José Montealegre continues his ongoing series of works from 2020 titled Páginas. The starting point for these sculptures isan extensive botanical archive of plant illustrations created in the course of the Spanish colonization of Mexico and published as Nova Plantarum Animalium et Mineralium Mexicanorum (1628). The archive saw the catalogization and re-systematization of hundreds of indigenous plants by the colonizers. In rich detail, Montealegre translates these botanical illustrations into copper sculptures and presents them onthe second floor of the Kunstverein. In his artistic practice, which also includes writing, the artist tells stories that blur the line between origin and (mis)translation. Contrary to knowledge shaped by colonial powers, Montealegre allows marginalized perspectives to emerge thus challenging canonical history(ies).
The exhibition will be followed by the first publication of José Montealegre.
Text and curated by Miriam Bettin.
Hahnenstraße 6, 50667 Köln,
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Note: All information as per press release.