Past Exhibitions

Portadores de sentido

Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

February 9, 2019 to July 22, 2019


The Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC), in collaboration with the Museo Amparo in Puebla, Mexico, presents the exhibition Portadores de sentido—Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, on view at the Museo Amparo from February 9 to July 22, 2019.

Portadores de sentido brings together 70 contemporary artists from 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean whose works were acquired by the CPPC between 1990 and 2015. The exhibition is curated by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, former Curator of Contemporary Art at the CPPC and now the Director of the Witte de With Contemporary Art Center in Rotterdam. Sara Meadows, Project Manager at the CPPC, is the Assistant Curator for this exhibition.

A number of the artists included in Portadores de sentido have made short audio recordings in which they discuss their works on view. These are accessible in the gallery via cellphone through a link printed on the associated wall label, and on this page.

An exhibition guide will be published including images and didactic texts representing all the work in Portadores de sentido. It will be available for purchase at the Museo Amparo.

Museo Amparo
2 Sur 708, Centro
Puebla, Pue., Mexico 72000
T +52 (222) 229 3850

Curatorial Text

Portadores de sentido presents a broad range of contemporary art by artists from Latin America and the Caribbean from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC). The work in the exhibition is informed by artistic research that elicits narratives, resources and associations with a number of disciplines. With those disciplines in mind, the exhibition has been organized into four groupings, each one of which borrows methodology or derives inspiration from areas of inquiry beyond aesthetics.

The first grouping, Insertions, concerns ethnography and its theories; the second, Excursions, is an analysis of geography; the third, Concrete Environments, considers the implications of urbanism; and the final group, Mediations, addresses media and mass communication. The exhibition emphasizes the artists’ analytical and sensitive responses to a given environment, and how artworks are experienced as bearers of meaning (portadores de sentido) across time and place. Portadores de sentido presents more than 100 artworks acquired between 1990 and 2015 that are representative of the diversity of artistic concerns emerging in Latin America during that time.

Beyond a common geographical determination, the concept of the artist as conveyor of meaning runs through the five collecting areas of the CPPC. Besides contemporary art, the CPPC’s other four collection areas—modernism, colonial art, traveler art from the 16th to 19th centuries, and ethnographic objects from the Orinoco River Basin—reflect a wide range of research and material from Latin America. The concerns of each of these four other areas find renewed expressions in contemporary artistic practice. From the collection of modernist art, specializing in geometric abstraction, there is an impetus to experiment with forms of artmaking in a perceptual and rational idiom; within the colonial period, there is an emphasis on the sacred and secular uses of art; from the collection of traveler art, there is a focus on the artist as an explorer dedicated to the task of field research and the registration of landscape; and from the Orinoco collection, the consideration of the foundational role of everyday and ceremonial materials in both anthropology and aesthetics.

Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Curator
Sara Meadows, Assistant Curator

The artists in this section are concerned with people and cultures, focusing on the particularities of experience and place. Some incorporate ethnographic methodologies directly into their artistic practice. For example, field research is central to Laura Anderson Barbata and Pepe López; both artists have spent extended periods of time with indigenous groups, and their work speaks to the endurance of ancient cultural traditions. The observation of social practices can be found in several works, such as in Juan Manuel Echavarría’s video Bocas de ceniza, in which he documents individuals bearing witness through song to the drug-related violence they experienced. Also included in this section are artists who collect and record everyday materials from contemporary life to provide insight into a particular time and environment. Other artists revisit cultural histories, transforming archival material in order to invite a contemporary perspective. Together, the artists in this group share different stories of humanity.

The artists in this section share an interest in place, and in the relationships between humans and land. With their video documentation of glass bottles accumulating in a recycling center in Panama, Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker draw attention to the impact people have on the environment. Eduardo Navarro takes a specific landform—Guagua Pichincha, an active volcano outside of Quito, Ecuador—as the subject of his work Poema volcánico. In preparation for his descent into the crater, the artist conducted extensive research in collaboration with a volcanologist. Exploration, adventure, and the long tradition of scientific expeditions are the inspiration for several works in this section. Inspired by the unfamiliar, Irene Kopelman travels to remote places to record her first-hand observations and impressions. With his presentation of a contemporaneous itinerary of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe, Paul Ramírez Jonas allows the viewer to think through the con-temporary nature of travel. The notions of territory and cartography are addressed in the work of Manuela Ribadeneira and Daniel Medina, who both point to the often arbitrary nature of borders. These are but a few of the multi-layered and shifting approaches to geography that have been used by artists in this section.

Concrete Environments
The theme of urbanism unites the works in this section of the exhibition. How individuals and societies interact with the built environment, the persistent evidence of history in urban spaces, the political forces that shape them, the cycles of decay and resurgence exemplified in a city’s architectural ruins, and abandoned or in-process sites of construction are all rich areas of inquiry. Among those artists responding to urbanism, Iosu Aramburu’s work infers not only loss but continuity of the past into the present. Federico Herrero and Pia Camil are both inspired by the unfinished and derelict areas of a city, but Herrero finds in the open-endedness of these spaces an opportunity to see “where painting is happening” spontaneously, while Camil sees the urban ruins along Mexico’s highways as a manifestation of “the aesthetic of failure.” Dulce Gómez contrasts the green space of an urban park with a brick wall, and Alejandro Paz Navas films the wandering journey of a homeless man, incongruously shadowed by a bodyguard, as the two men walk through Guatemala City.

The social impact of media and mass communication on the construction of culture and individual identity provides a common thread between the artists in this section. Included in this group is Luis Molina-Pantin, whose photographs of telenovela sets bring us into the realm of imaginary real estate inflected with cultural referents that make the invented spaces of television appealing to their audiences. The ability of media to make certain objects and materials universally desirable, erasing local preferences, can be seen in Mauricio Lupini’s photos of Barbie and Ken dolls with their homogeneous perfection, and in Valentina Leirnur’s use of denim, a ubiquitous fabric in contemporary life. The videos of Jessica Lagunas remind us of the absurdity of the ideals of feminine beauty perpetuated by popular media. Sebastián Gordín renders pulp journalism unreadable by recasting magazines in marquetry, inventing mysterious cover images that remain unexplained by their “content.”

Selection of Artworks

  • Laura Anderson Barbata

    Santos y profetas


    Stairs, tripod, columns and wooden coffee table, wooden votives and feathers

    Variable installation dimensions: 250 x 400 x 400 cm (98 7/16 x 157 1/2 x 157 1/2 inches)

    Museo de Arte de Lima...

  • Juan Manuel Echavarría, Bocas de ceniza (2003–2004)

    Juan Manuel Echavarría

    Bocas de ceniza


    Video (color, sound)

    18:05 min.

    The Museum of Modern Art, New York...

  • Oswaldo Terreros, Sin título (Indígena) (2010)

    Oswaldo Terreros

    Untitled (Indígena)


    Woven wool fabric

    300 x 185 cm (118 1/8 x 72 7/8 in.)

    Museo de Arte de Lima...

  • José Bedia, Mamá Kalunga (1992)

    José Bedia

    Mamá Kalunga


    Acrylic and wood on canvas

    170 x 300 x 10.2 cm (66 7/8 x 118 1/8 x 4 in.)

  • Jonathan Harker and Donna Conlon, Estación seca (2006)

    Jonathan Harker and Donna Conlon

    Estación seca


    Video (color, sound)

    2:02 min.

    Museo de Arte de Lima...

  • Federico Herrero, Landscape (2008)

    Federico Herrero



    Oil, acrylic, and aerosol on canvas

    250 x 200 cm (98 7/16 x 78 3/4 in.)

  • Suwon Lee, La ciudad más peligrosa del mundo (2012)

    Suwon Lee

    La ciudad más peligrosa del mundo


    Inkjet print on cotton paper

    92 x 120 cm (36 1/4 x 47 1/4 in.)

    The Museum of Modern Art, New York...

  • Eduardo Navarro

    Poema volcánico


    Flameproof suit, backpack, bamboo shelf and litmus collages, publication of diary of the first descent to the crater (two newspaper sheets), archival material in TIFF format (Spanish and English versions), label (chromatic collage)

    Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires...

  • Iosu Aramburu, Untitled (variation of RG, ca. 1955) (2014). Photograph by Sebastian Abugattas

    Iosu Aramburu

    11 (variation of RG, 1955)


    Cement on paper

    150 x 125 cm (59 x 49 1/4 inches)

  • Pia Camil, Highway Follies (2011)

    Pia Camil

    Highway Follies Blue


    Resin and mineral powdered pigment on canvas

    150 x 200 cm (59 x 78 3/4 inches)

    Blanton Museum of Art...

  • Mario García Torres, ¿Alguna vez has visto la nieve caer? (2010)

    Mario García Torres

    ¿Alguna vez has visto la nieve caer?


    35 mm slides with sound

    56 minutes

    The Museum of Modern Art...

  • Osías Yanov, ///////)))_IO))) (2014)

    Osías Yanov



    Performance, aluminum sculpture

    300 x 600 x 5 cm (1118 1/8 x 236 1/4 x 2 inches), 12 minutes

    Fundación Museo Reina Sofía...


Donation of Artworks

In addition to this collaboration, the Museo Amparo joined the network of international museums to whom Patricia and Gustavo Cisneros have donated their artworks in their continued mission to promote a greater appreciation of the diversity, sophistication and diversity of Latin American art, particularly through an educational approach. The work Call Forwarding (2013) by Mexican artist Tania Pérez Córdova, included in Portadores de sentido, joined the Museo Amparo’s permanent collection, as well as her work Person Leaning on his Elbow, un extra (2012), also by the same artist. 

Public Programs

Film Screening Series: Latinoamericano

Saturday, June 8, 2019

On occasion of the exhibition Portadores de sentido, a film screening series—with selections by Johan Woolfschoon, the exhibition's designer—will take place in June and July 2019. 

Museo Amparo, Auditorio Arq. Pedro Ramírez Vázquez

Date and Time:
Every Saturday, June 8–July 20, 2019
See schedule below

Entry is free with ticket

June 8, 2019
La estrategia del caracol (1993)
Directed by: Sergio Cabrera
Country: Colombia
Duration: 116 minutes

June 15, 2019
Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Directed by: Werner Herzog
Countries: Peru and Western Germany
Duration: 157 minutes

June 22, 2019
Temporada de patos (2004)
Directed by: Fernando Eimbcke
County: Mexico
Duration: 90 minutes

June 29, 2019
Cidade de Deus (2002)
Directed by: Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund
Country: Brazil
Duration: 135 minutes

July 6, 2019
La jaula de oro (2013)
Directed by: Diego Quemada-Díez
Countries: Mexico and Spain
Duration: 102 minutes

July 13, 2019
Conducta (2014)
Directed by: Ernesto Daranas
Country: Cuba
Duration: 108 minutes

July 20, 2019
Historias mínimas (2002)
Directed by: Carlos Sorín
Countries: Argentina and Spain
Duration: 92 minutes

Artist Talk with Laura Anderson Barbata

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Arq. Pedro Ramírez Vázuez Auditorium, Museo Amparo

Laura Anderson Barbata will talk about her public project Transcomunalidad [Transcommonality], a series of intervention and collaborations with stilt walker communities in Trinidad and Tobago, New York, and Oaxaca.

Click here for more information. 


Screening: Mario García Torres

Monday, February 18, 2019

Every Monday from 12–3pm
February 18–July 22, 2019
Museo Amparo, Auditorium

Mario García Torres's artwork ¿Alguna vez has visto la nieve caer? (2010) will be screened every Monday from 12–3pm until July 22, 2019 in the Museo Amparo's Auditorium.

Screenings will start at 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm.

Performance: Osías Yanov

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Every Saturday from 12–2pm
February 16–July 20, 2019
Museo Amparo, Second Floor 

Osías Yanov’s artwork ///////)))_Io))) (2014) will be activated with a performance by Guadalupe Flores every Saturday from 12–2pm until July 20, 2019 in the second floor courtyard at Museo Amparo.

Installation: Javier Téllez

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

March 19–June 24, 2019
Museo Amparo, Gallery 3 (on the Third Floor)

Javier Téllez's artwork Letter on the Blind, for the Use of Those Who See (2008) will be projected in Gallery 3 on the third floor of the Museo Amparo from March 19 until June 24, 2019.


Arte latinoamericano en el Amparo, La Tempestad, January 7, 2019

Portadores de sentido, Arte Informado, January 8, 2019

La Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros y el Museo Amparo en Puebla, México, presentan Portadores de sentido: Arte contemporáneo en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, El Economista América, February 5, 2019

Zona MACO, Material Art Fair y todo lo que no debes perderte en la semana del arte, Revista Código, February 6, 2019

Museo Amparo de México presenta más de 100 obras de arte contemporáneo, Agencia EFE, February 8, 2019

Museo Amparo exhibió "Portadores de sentido" de 70 artistas latinoamericanos, Info BAE, February 9, 2019

Exponen colección Phelps en el Museo Amparo, Excelsior, February 10, 2019

Inaugura Museo Amparo de Puebla exposición de arte latinoamericano, La Jornada, February 11, 2019

Museo Amparo de Puebla alberga gran colección de arte latinoamericano, Leviatán, February 11, 2019

En Portadores de sentido se exhibe la voluntad de crear de los artistas latinoamericanos, La Jornada de Oriente, February 12, 2019

El arte contemporáneo de América Latina llega al Museo Amparo, Revista Código, February 15, 2019

'Portadores de sentido', dos décadas de arte en América, El Telégrafo, February 24, 2019

Nuevos modos de ver, ContraRéplica, March 1, 2019

'Contemporary Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros' at Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico, ARTnews, March 15, 2019

La región no más transparente, Gatopardo, April 12, 2019

Portadores de sentido: Arte contemporáneo en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Artishock, May 6, 2019

"Portadores de sentido", la colección de Patricia Phelps Cisneros, Proceso, May 30, 2019

Portadores de sentido. Arte contemporáneo en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, en Museo Amparo, Terremoto, July 18, 2019

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