Past Exhibitions

Viewing Room IV: Gilda Mantilla & Raimond Chaves

November 16, 2015



On View: 
4:00–6:30 pm
Gilda Mantilla and Raimond Chaves
Secrets of the Amazon—Tomo River (2011)

6:30—8:30 pm
The "Disappeared Cities" of Amazonia: the Forest as Architecture
A lecture by Paulo Tavares

Artists Gilda Mantilla and Raimond Chaves have spent several years investigating the role images have played in the imaginary and comprehension of the Peruvian Amazon, specifically, working with the unique holdings of the Peruvian Research Institute and the Center for Theological Studies of the Amazon, the latter founded by Father Joaquín García Sánchez and located in Iquitos, Peru. A 35mm-slide double-projection, Secrets of the Amazons – Tomo River is one of several artworks created from such experience. This work draws from a quasi travel-book of the Peruvian Amazons authored by a member of the military who was stationed in the region in the late twentieth century.

In this episode of Viewing RoomSecrets of the Amazon – Tomo River was on public display for an afternoon. Then, in the evening, at the same space, architect Paulo Tavares shared his ongoing work on Amazonia, exploring the contested history of its representation and appropriation by the colonial-modern imaginary evident in cartographies, images and spatial designs. Through a forensic archaeology of the landscapes of Amazonia, Tavares approaches the forest as architecture, excavating the history of a territory whose nature is deeply cultural, shaped and re-shaped by political conflicts. This public program intended to elucidate the different kinds of work being done in and about Amazonia to offer a broader context for better comprehending such a region, as well as the artwork on view.

Gilda Mantilla (Peru) and Raimond Chaves (Colombia) live in Lima, Peru; they have often developed work in collaboration while also keeping independent practices. Together, they represent Peru in the country’s inaugural pavilion at this year’s 56th Venice Biennale in Italy.

Originally from Campinas, Brazil, and working mainly from Quito, Ecuador, Paulo Tavares has been conducting an ongoing forensic study of the Amazon in Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. He has joined Princeton University as a research fellow for fall 2015.

This episode of Viewing Room was organized in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School in New York, as part of the center’s 2015-2017 curatorial programs on Post Democracy.

The Viewing Room series was a charted journey through some of the then recent acquisitions of the contemporary art collection of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. It consisted of a series of events in which a single artwork from the collection was exhibited for a day in conjunction with a public program. Audiences were invited to experience seminal yet rarely seen artworks—in most cases, never before exhibited in New York—and to participate in programs designed to help articulate the working processes and contexts in which these works were created. 

Other Viewing Room events included the presentation of: A Voyage or ‘With the MS Remscheid on the Amazon’ or the Account of a Voyage Under the Stars of the Refrigerator, 1968–1972, by Lothar Baumgarten (Germany); Looting, 2010, by Regina José Galindo (Guatemala); The Fountain of Prosperity, 2006, by Michael Stevenson (New Zealand); and The Catherwood Project1985-1993, by Leandro Katz (Argentina), including a viewing of original nineteen-century prints by Frederick Catherwood.

Viewing Room was organized by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, former Curator of Contemporary Art at the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, with artist Alejandro Cesarco. The artists whose artworks were presented in these events participated in the conversations leading to the planning of this initiative. On certain occasions, these artists will be present at the public programs. Most times the events engage other members of the artistic community. 


  • Gilda Mantilla y Raimond Chaves, Secrets of the Amazon - Tomo River (2011)

    Gilda Mantilla and Raimond Chaves

    Secrets of the Amazon - Tomo River


    Parallel two-channel projection

    Variable dimensions

    The Museum of Modern Art...




The "Disappeared Cities" of Amazonia: the Forest as Architecture | Paulo Tavares