Gabriel Acevedo Velarde  l  Art Pieces/Tonotono

November 11 - January 28, 2012


At the beginning of this year I decided to separate what I produce as “art” from and the rest of things I do and intend to do. Tonotono is the first event that I’ve produced after making this decision.

The invitation to Tonotono (a party which took place on June 15th, 2011 in Lima, Peru) announced that the event was “a sound installation, a labyrinth made of acoustic panels and a fragmented concert”. In a popular venue used for parties and events, located in downtown Lima, I installed a series of panels which divided the dancing floor in three spaces. In each of the spaces a different music was played. In the middle of the space there were two cabinets that resembled corporative furniture from a bank branch. Musicians from young bands, placed across the dancing floor, improvised music throughout the night. 600 people attended the party.

After decades – or rather centuries— of a succession of democratic governments and dictatorships, public institutions in Peru are in a state of transition. At the moment there is a general optimism amongst the citizens generated by notion of capitalist progress. This optimism, expressed as a neo-nationalism, frequently promotes colonial ideologies (such as racist ad campaigns and reactionary public declarations by State functionaries).
Within this context I built a labyrinth of panels, which incorporated a couple of bank teller windows. This is the backdrop for the party. I wanted that the act of celebrating and loosing oneself (what happens in a party) also opened up alternatives in the way we relate to “official” architecture and “institutional” furniture.

Art Pieces

At the beginning of this year I decided to separate what I produce as “art” from and the rest of things I do and intend to do. “Art pieces” is my first show after making this decision.

It feels like a new beginning and it must be, because I’m asking myself old questions, like what is this thing I call “art”, who uses it and for what, who sustains it economically and, above all, why do I want to keep being involved in the art world. Although not all of these questions need to be answered in a definite manner, to ask them makes me feel, on one hand, distant from the art world --which feels good-- and, on the other, closer to an issue which catches my attention, that is, the emptiness of art spaces, its utopian isolation from the exterior world.

When I was thirteen (Lima, Peru, 1989), my father took my brother and I to get our first passport. The immigration services office was divided into two areas: A small building and a patio with no roof. The immigration personnel occupied the building. The rest, us, were in the patio, slowly advancing in a sequence of long lines that reached the building’s ground floor windows, which served as counters.

It was the first time I had a direct contact with the State. Although I didn’t think of it in those terms, this initiatory experience had the same characteristic that I would later recognize in encounters with other institutions: the uncomfortable frontier between “us” and “all of us”. It’s like the experience of trying to be nice to a bureaucrat. Or when someone asks you how many people attended an event yesterday and all you can visualize is an anonymous crowd. It’s like the pride of having a new ID, with a new photo. It’s like all those moments in which we erase the traces of our own complicity.

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde                   


Click here for the German press release