Cosmopolis #2: Rethinking Humanity Tradition in the face of a new humanity: Sandra Monterroso’s

Posted on Nov - 12 - 2019

courtesy: the Artist

In a world of digital oceans and technological hegemonies, humanity is being permutated or even hybridized in new ways. As an ontological exercise, art is needed to disentangle new narratives wherein a post-anthropocentric world, humans are displaced or reconstructed. What is the place of social values in a post-modern paradigm? Keeping traditions in the dynamics of new configurations of culture can pose just another oxymoron.


Nevertheless, traditions are tools and baselines that can help us ‘rethink the human’. In an attempt to create a fertile ground for these reconsiderations, the Centre Pompidou, as a leading contemporary art and research center, launched ‘Cosmopolis #1: Collective Intelligence’ in 2016, to focus on interdisciplinary art practices. The title reflects its multi-cultural approach, proposing a constellation of works from artists that experiment with alternative interpretations, beyond individualism and embracing collective creation.


Curator and Researcher Ilaria Conti, ‘Cosmopolis #2: Rethinking the Human’ presents the works of over 35 artists and collectives. As part of the selected few, Guatemalan artist Sandra Monterroso’s work subtly shines through. When art verges on the iconoclastic, Monterroso’s remains infused with the past, and the legacy inherited from her Mayan roots. Selecting commonplace objects from her Q’equchi’ community, the artist symbolizes her rediscovery of family heirlooms, a negotiation process where she sheds light on the collective lives of women of her culture. Image 2019-11-13 at 12.28.20 PM(1).jpeg

courtesy: the Artist

Appropriately titled “Red Spinal Cord” (Columna Vertebral Roja) Monterroso infuses the sculpture made out of rolled-up traditional red cortes, used on an everyday base by the women in the region of Verapaz in Guatemala. With an autobiographical undertone, Monterroso simultaneously pays homage to the women from this culture. The artist thus continues with her aspiration to amplify ignored stories, to disconceal hidden truths, that have been relegated by hegemonical postcolonial discourses.


In her other work, Rokeb’ iq, Monterroso recited a poem she composed in Q’eqchi’ language and invited the public to feel and dematerialize the composition as more than just a significant symbol for communication. 


Throughout her career, Monterroso has created a captivating and personal interpretation of the world around her, rethinking her position in society, as well as the role and significance of traditional practices in the Guatemalan social imaginary. In the reconstruction of society and the fading importance of traditions, the process of decolonization invites the presence of the old and relegated, to create new discourses, untarnished by dominating influence. 


As one of the leading Guatemalan artists of her generation, Monterroso’s art cannot be missed and in Scoop Art we invite you to partake in her interpretations and submerge in her creations. If you happened to be in Paris, don’t miss Cosmopolis #2, where alongside Sandra Monterroso’s, talented artists from around the world also, rethink humanity.  

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz

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