The Andes Inverted: Professor Daniela Rivera's solo exhibition at the MFA

Gallery view of Daniela Rivera's exhibition, a tilted wall drawing and vertical painting series, with a cloud sculpture by Tara Donovan on the ceiling
Installation view of Daniela Rivera's show, The Andes Inverted (the cloud sculpture on the ceiling is by Tara Donovan). Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
On March 4, Professor Daniela Rivera's latest solo exhibition, The Andes Inverted, opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The show features an ambitiously-scaled copperpoint wall drawing, a series of oil paintings, a video, and a sound art piece made in collaboration with Music Professor Jenny Johnson.
The Andes Inverted takes as its subject the Chuquicamata copper mine of Chile. This mammoth space excavated from the earth, a counterpoint to the nearby soaring Andes mountains, is the largest open pit copper mine in the world. It is a source of civic pride for the Chilean government and a major factor in the Chilean economy, providing jobs and exportable goods. At the same time, the mine has had a deleterious environmental impact on the landscape and on the people whose employment depends on its operation. The mine as both geographical inversion and sociological paradox provides a rich source of material and meaning for Rivera's work.
Detail image of Daniela Rivera's large copperpoint wall drawing.
Detail view of Daniela Rivera's large copperpoint wall drawing. Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
The paintings in the exhibition are made with oil paints that have been mixed with soil from the site of the mine. The enormous wall drawing, with shapes generated by tracing stones taken from the site and rolled/shifted across the wall, is made with copperpoint, a technique that involves drawing with a small rod of copper, leaving behind a faintly metallic mark that may change in tone over time as the material oxidizes. These traces of the mine, brought into the work through the very substance used to create the imagery, tangibly connect the art to the place that inspired it.
The wall drawing and paintings are both displayed on scaffolding structures that hold them at angles within the space of the gallery; the wall drawing looms inward over the viewers, while the paintings form a high vertical stack leaning away. These architectural interventions into the space of the museum recall the physical presence of the mine, and also its metaphorical presence in the lives and minds of those in residence around it. The sound and video pieces directly incorporate the stories and histories of these people, information that was collected through a series of interviews conducted by Rivera while she was in Chile researching this project.
Detail of a mostly gray and white painting in Daniela Rivera's show
Detail of a painting in The Andes Inverted. Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
Daniela Rivera speaks about her work at the exhibition.
Daniela Rivera (center) speaks about her work at the exhibition. Photo by Samara Pearlstein.
The Andes Inverted is on display in Gallery 268 in the Linde Contemporary Art wing of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through September 17, 2017. See the MFA's exhibition page here.


March 8, 2017



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