# 39

Applied Thinking: The Capote Brothers

Iván Capote (born 1973 in Pinar del Río, Cuba, lives and works in Havana, Cuba) + Yoan Capote (born 1977 in Pinar del Río, Cuba, lives and works in Havana, Cuba)

I admit I have never managed well to keep the Capote brothers Iván and Yoan apart, even though they are not identical twins, but rather two different characters and artists, each with a meanwhile substantial oeuvre of his own. Nevertheless, I am doomed to failure in trying to do them justice individually here, so I hope that they will forgive me for taking the liberty of dealing with them jointly.

“Applied Thinking: The Capote Brothers”

# 38

Alejandro Campins (born 1981 in Manzanillo, Cuba, lives and works in Havana, Cuba)

When I first visited Alejandro Campins in his studio some ten years ago, we had difficulty just viewing his latest, recently completed paintings, all of them giant formats: he had to struggle to roll them out on his far too small studio floor so that I could try to imagine what they might look like from a distance of 15 meters in a white exhibition space. Not to mention his conditions for production, which had certainly required enormous imagination from him …

“Alejandro Campins (born 1981 in Manzanillo, Cuba, lives and works in Havana, Cuba)”

# 37

Luis Camnitzer (born in 1937 in Lübeck, Germany, raised and educated in Uruguay, lives and works in Great Neck, New York, and Valdottavo, Italy)

“I still would like to change the world, but it turns out to be more difficult than I thought.” (Luis Camnitzer, in conversation with Hans-Michael Herzog, Zurich, June 22, 2009)

“Luis Camnitzer (born in 1937 in Lübeck, Germany, raised and educated in Uruguay, lives and works in Great Neck, New York, and Valdottavo, Italy)”

# 32

Three architects

By no means is it unusual for 20thcentury Latin American visual artists to have been trained as architects—be this due to the lack of art schools in some regions or to their actual intention of creating real architectures for a living. The idea of realizing the own dreamt up architectural worlds to 100% as pure fictions may have lured so many young architects into the cosmos of visual art, where they could give free rein to their poetic, social, political, and symbolic creations without any external restrictions.

“Three architects”

# 29

Observations on some of the artists in the Daros Latinamerica Collection

My intention at this point is to start introducing a few of the artists represented in the Daros Latinamerica Collection to you. But what is the best way to go about it? If I were to apply politically democratic principles such as the equal-time rule for candidates in campaigns, we would still be sitting here in a couple of years, bored to death!

“Observations on some of the artists in the Daros Latinamerica Collection”

# 28

Who wants to be “Latin American”? An attempt at approaching an unpopular term – part 2

“(1) America is ungovernable for us. (2) Those who serve revolution plough the sea. (3) The only thing one can do in America is emigrate. (4) This country will fall inevitably into the hands of the unrestrained multitudes, and then into the hands of insignificant tyrants, of all colors and races.”

“Who wants to be “Latin American”? An attempt at approaching an unpopular term – part 2”

# 25

Is Argentina in Latin America?

Only a few years ago, on the occasion of a lecture event at the auditorium of the MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano – sic! – de Buenos Aires) and coram publico , the renowned Argentine artist Marta Minujín explained to me that she herself, and indeed all of Argentina, had nothing whatsoever to do with Latin America. She asked me pointedly where on earth we at the Daros Latinamerica had the idea from to collect “Latin American” art; there was no such entity in Argentina…

Back to the roots, somewhere in Europe

“Is Argentina in Latin America?”

# 24

Travel log Central America, October/November 2005, part II


Next came Tegucigalpa, where I was initially slightly frustrated because of the iris recognition and fingerprinting I had to undergo. Bayardo Blandino picked me up. He is a very professional, very friendly colleague in his mid-thirties and heads the Centro de Artes Visuales Contemporáneo de Mujeres en las Artes in Tegucigalpa.

“Travel log Central America, October/November 2005, part II”

# 23

Travel log Central America, October/November 2005, part I

All in all, with the benefit of hindsight, this was an interesting, illuminating trip. Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panamá were the only countries still missing on my list, apart from Bolivia, so the trip was also necessary. Even if these countries are “small” in terms of their size on the map and often neglected, they are nevertheless highly relevant for Latin America as a whole. I noticed both their similarities and their differences, their individuality and their common traits.

“Travel log Central America, October/November 2005, part I”

# 21

Colombia – The Athens of Latin America?

It was still the year 2000; I had already familiarized myself with my new work and had travelled quite a bit, when I noticed that Colombia was missing on my agenda. No wonder, really, for no one was traveling there, and everyone advised against it, out of deepest conviction, for safety reasons. What could I do? I turned it over in my mind for a while, weighed the pros and cons, and then told myself: “I simply have to go to Colombia; everything will be alright!” So I set off…

“Colombia – The Athens of Latin America?”

# 20

Brasil – ordem e progresso?

My first trip as curator of the Daros Latinamerica collection-to-be took me to Brazil in the very beginning of the new millennium. I landed in Rio de Janeiro in the morning of January 3, and I vividly remember the moment when I saw the Copacabana for the first time in my life. I was virtually blinded by the overwhelming blaze of the sun as I looked out of the window from the former Meridien Hotel and tried to grasp where I was. On the street, I was swept away by an ever-present eroticism; again, I was blinded, this time by the sultry, fecund, tropical, literally HOT atmosphere, and by countless permissive glances that met my eye wherever I looked…

“Brasil – ordem e progresso?”

# 17

Indiana Jones, or Hunting for the Hidden Treasures

It is the dream of every true researcher to discover something radically new, something that dwarfs everything known up to date. The researcher seeks immortality through the definition of a new chemical formula or the discovery of a species to name after oneself. In much the same way, the art collector—who is also a hunter—passionately searches for the unrecognized genius to help bring out her or his light from under the bushel…

“Indiana Jones, or Hunting for the Hidden Treasures”

# 16

Those deceased

It was always a pleasure to meet the grand old Latin American artists. Some of those that I was very interested in had already died. You might think everything was easier if the artist was no longer alive? Well, that’s far from true. Because then you have to deal with the executors, who — out of greed or ignorance — are fully capable of blocking or botching entire oeuvres! And this applies not only to Latin America…

“Those deceased”

# 15

Early rediscovery: the “old ones”

On seeking out the “old” artists of the 20th century at the turn of the millennium, I remember how my question: “Do you happen to know where the well-known artist such-and-such lives nowadays?” would pretty much worldwide produce the standard reply: “Oh, is he/she still alive?”

The rediscovery boom of the “old ones” had not yet set in, so my research on these largely forgotten artists seemed a rather lonely affair around 2000…

“Early rediscovery: the “old ones””

# 13


I invariably aimed at buying only first-rate art for the collection. I would rather refrain from a purchase than have second best works of an artist. Lame compromises were not my style, and I never bought on impulse, either. I always knew in advance what I wanted to have. Whenever I happened to stumble upon something that deeply interested and fascinated me, I slept on it for at least a night before making up my mind and arriving at an unbiased judgment. Once, however, I made an exception…


# 12

Mutual confidence

The better you get to know an artist—a human being like all others, after all—, the more obvious become the weaknesses and strengths of his or her oeuvre. I always had to take care not to become presumptuous and raise beyond measure the quality standards I applied. It’s similar in sports, perhaps, to being spurred on from one world record to the next, continuously topping your own self!


“Mutual confidence”

# 10

Meeting the artists

Overwhelming and deeply impressing were the generosity, the communication skills and the education of the artists and other exponents of Latin America’s art world. My itinerary was far from being a tedious chore—it was pure enjoyment! I rediscovered art’s capability of providing pleasure. In Europe and North America, discussions with artists had in the previous years far too often drifted into sheer triviality, focusing merely on the supposedly most interesting marketing strategy.


“Meeting the artists”

# 9

Here we go!

During my extensive travels in Latin America over the years—in North America and Europe as well—I have established a functioning network that includes nearly everyone involved in the Latin American art community: artists, curators, critics, art historians, collectors, gallerists and art dealers.

“Here we go!”

What does Madame de Staël have to do with Latin America?

My intention is to save the world, or, more precisely, the world of arts. No less will do as justification for writing these lines, with a plethora of ideas, experiences, and memories for more already up my sleeve. To save the world of arts—from what? From downfall by decadence, from ruin by rot, and above all, from the errors of economics. Even good old Duchamp would be turning over in his grave in view of some of the things happening ostensibly in his name …

“What does Madame de Staël have to do with Latin America?”