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(Yvy-mará-ey, in Guaraní)

Curated by Aluna Art Foundation

The series Cultures in Friction (2017-), by Vero Murphy (Argentina, 1973-), marks the artist’s discovery of an abstract language as subjective as it is loaded with a collective memory linked to human geography and to the cultural landscape of Latin America. Instead of acrylics and oil paint, Murphy employs natural materials like gold and yerba mate as her artistic medium. She extends them on the canvas as signs of historical tensions, proposing an aesthetic-poetic path that goes from the animosity between cultures long set in opposition to one another, to the search for dialogical spaces.

The smears of yerba mate, a dietary staple of the Guarani people, symbolize the original civilizations of the southern reaches of Latin America—jungle farmers who migrated to the continent’s southern regions in search of Yvy-mará-ey, the “Land Without Evil.” These smears extend across Murphy’s paintings as a legacy of reciprocity. Simultaneously, on the surface of her works, she extends layers of gold, emblematic of Europe’s fascination with this resplendent metal, whose presence on Earth is nearly unparalleled. By exploring the physical and symbolic specters of materials of both vegetable and mineral origin, Murphy is able to establish vast meeting spaces in her vestige-laden paintings. Embracing the concept of hybrid cultures each one of her pieces sensitizes memory, generating a syncretic and dialogical vision for the present and the future. Her art is her own way of giving continuity to the search for the Land without Evil.