September 24 - December 3, 2021
From UT Austin:
“Expanding on ideas manifested in the multidisciplinary practice of Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas, The Blessings of the Mystery examines themes of environmental activism, encounters between history and memory, Indigenous rights, and the formation and dissemination of knowledge. The exhibition articulates the complicated and layered histories, connections, and tensions present in West Texas through film, sculpture, installation, collage, and drawing. At its center is The Teaching of the Hands (2020), a single-channel film that recounts the region’s complex histories of colonization, migration, and ecological precarity from the perspective of Juan Mancias, Chairman of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. The film combines observational and experimental documentary with oral histories, reenactments, archival footage, and documents. The film’s narrative grows out of the land where both Indigenous and settler knowledge have been historically produced. Weaving together scenes from the present day to 4,000 years in the past, The Teaching of the Hands highlights the environmental memories and consciousness of these interconnected places across Texas. The exhibition also features a site-responsive installation incorporating both historical and contemporary surveying tools and artifacts used to create parcels of land. Suspended from the VAC’s vaulted ceiling in a configuration of wires and cabling, the floating objects that comprise Measuring the Immeasurable (2020) refer to the region’s history of land speculation and the rapid privatization of land that displaced people, animals, and reshaped the landscape.
Alongside original artworks by Caycedo and de Rozas are a selection of objects culled from special collections at The University of Texas at Austin. Original watercolors produced in the 1930s by artists and amateur archaeologists Forrest and Lula Kirkland are on loan from the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratories. These watercolors document the ancient rock art of the Lower Pecos, captured before many of these works were destroyed by flooding, erosion, or human interaction. Extinct and near extinct species of West Texas flora and fauna are also on loan from the Biodiversity Collections and the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at UT Austin.
The Blessings of the Mystery is organized by Ballroom Marfa and curated by Laura Copelin, Director, with Daisy Nam, Curator. The VAC presentation is organized by MacKenzie Stevens, Director.
Special thanks to Regina Balmaceda, 2020–21 Curatorial Intern, and Donato Loia, 2020–21 Curatorial Fellow.
Lead support for the exhibition is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the VIA Art Fund.
Major support is provided by the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Kevin Sherman, the Susan Vaughan Foundation, and The Brown Foundation, Inc.
Generous support is provided by The City of Marfa and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Public programming for this exhibition is supported, in part, by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the College of Fine Arts Diversity Committee at UT Austin.”
On View: September 24, 2021 | 1–5 pm
Artist talk: September 30, 2021 | 12–1 pm
Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas with VAC Director MacKenzie Stevens, via Instagram @visualartscenter
23rd and Trinity Streets
Austin, 78712 TexasGet directions