Carolina Caycedo: Apariciones/Apparitions

Exhibition Information:
October 7, 2022 - March 12, 2023

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Lincoln, MA

Organized as deCordova Curatorial Fellow

Installation view of Carolina Caycedo: Apariciones/Apparitions(October 7, 2022 – March 12, 2023) at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. © Mel Taing, 2022.

Apariciones/Apparitions, a film by London-born Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo, follows a group of Afro-Latinx, Indigenous, and queer individuals as they wander The Huntington Art Galleries, Library, and Botanical Gardens, in Pasadena, California. In this haunting video, the performers revive Black, Brown, and queer experiences that remain absent or buried throughout The Huntington’s collection of European and American art, rare books and manuscripts, and sculpture-lined gardens. 

The video cuts between scenes of the performers silently staring into the camera, blissfully twirling with fishnets, to violently shaking as if possessed by supernatural forces. Their movements, at times fluid and strained, are suggestive of spiritual practices of the Candomblé religion and the goddess Oxúm, an Afro-Brazilian deity of water, pleasure, fertility, and sexuality. Caycedo intersperses these scenes with still images of enforced labor from The Huntington’s archive. These flashing moments between past and present are overlaid with whispers and airy breaths that insinuate an invisible, yet palpable presence in the museum’s hallowed halls.

Apariciones/Apparitions brings to the surface the underrecognized histories of race, labor, and sexuality at The Huntington. The dancers’ ghostly presence within the museum’s whitewashed, Eurocentric spaces identifies the simultaneous existence and erasure of people of color in art, history, and cultural institutions. Their fishnet props and reenactments of labor rituals, like tilling land and washing gold, also acknowledge racialized people’s often overlooked contributions to the founding of museums.

Through their entrancing stares, the performers impart onto viewers and institutions a sense of accountability – encouraging us to reflect on our fraught pasts in order to improve our future.

Website last updated 8/27/23.