Bureau Phi

Leandro Katz. El rastro de la gaviota

Spanish Ministry of Culture, Spain. February 17-April 16, 2017

With some exceptions, Leandro Katz’s art evolves within the framework of what is already known: history. Yet his account of history is far from chronological; to this basic discipline he adds the dimension of expansion. El rastro de la gaviota is Leandro Katz’s first solo exhibition in Spain, a visual essay based on the artist’s connection to both Latin American history and the New York cultural world, the two sites and sets of his artistic and personal universe. It includes 16 photographic series totaling 36 prints, 12 lms and videos, screenings and installations. Organized around conceptual clusters, El rastro de la gaviota doesn’t follow a chronological order. In fact, this would be hard to do since this artist is always working simultaneously on different projects, some of which take years to complete.

The title of the exhibition comes from the work that closes it. El rastro de la gaviota / Seagull's Footprint, 1982, is a segment of Leandro Katz’s first feature film, Mirror in the Moon, described by the film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum as a “metaphysical puzzle” where memory and fantasy mingle together. The movie takes inspiration from a novel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. In the fragment included here, a former archaeologist and forger of relics waits for a colleague to arrive, while pondering what he will say to her about the disappearance of a Mayan hieroglyphic tablet from an excavation in the Yucatán many years before. To place this short monologue next to the Catherwood Project, and to photographic images of the archeological site and ceremonial center of Labná, establishes an enigmatic relationship between these three works. It also evokes, in an abridged format, the fate of Mayan relics symbolizing the darkness and silence of a history.