An Offering to Peru by Sixe Paredes
21 – 26 May 2014
Great Arch Hall, Lightwells & Deadhouse, South Wing
Somerset House, in collaboration with A(by)P, brought acclaimed Barcelona-born graffiti artist Sixe Parades’ ode to Peruvian and Andean aesthetics to its underground spaces in late May for his first major solo show in the UK.
Working on all senses – sight and sound as much as taste and touch – Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering to Peru by Sixe Paredes was an all-encompassing exhibition experience with free daily, interactive events on all aspects of Peruvian and Andean culture from food and film, to music and performance, hosted alongside large-scale artworks from tapestries to totems crafted by Sixe Paredes (formerly known as Sixeart).
Hidden underneath the neoclassical courtyard, the bowels of the building became awash with vibrant and vivid colours, a spectacle set against the classic Portland stone work of Somerset House. Within this unique space for one week only, Sixe was resident with an exhibition that represents the richness of the Peruvian and Andean art world and a lively line-up of events that capture the soul and spirit of contemporary Peruvian and Andean culture.
Blending tradition and modernity, Sixe’s approach is full of bright, bold bursts of colour and geometric patterns which depict the primordial – whether animal life, adolescents or ancestors – but all in his signature Surrealist style, much like the street art for which Sixe is famed. Influenced and inspired by folk art and art brut but reinterpreting it for a modern generation, Sixe has termed this approach as ‘futurismo ancestral’ (or ‘ancestral futurism’). The exhibition featured 25 large-scale works including tapestries, totem sculptures, ceramics and quipus (a system of knotted cords developed by the Incas to communicate and record important information, or otherwise known as ‘talking knots’) and some smaller-scale works such as masks and chichas (hand-drawn concert posters decorated with fluorescent inks), all created by Sixe. Produced exclusively for this project, it was the first time that the collection has been exhibited.
Since 2009, Sixe has spent periods in Peru to engage with and enrich his knowledge of Peruvian and Andean art and culture. He has collaborated with the creative community in the region and has learnt about the local art traditions and techniques from celebrated ceramicists, chicha artists and weavers.
In 2008, Sixe was one of six international artists invited by Tate Modern to paint its river façade for the first time. He has not participated in any UK shows since, with the Somerset House residency marking his return to London.