Venezuela’s history reflected through 'mummified' objects in Pepe López’s Crisálida

Pepe López: 'Crisálida'. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Two hundred objects, including a car, a motorcycle, a piano, an urn, books, tools, toys and maps, are all wrapped in polyethylene film in Venezuelan artist Pepe López’s Crisálida (meaning ‘chrysalis’).

This is López’s first solo exhibition in the UK, showcasing the artist’s large-scale installation of the same name, originally shown at Espacio Monitor, Caracas last year.

The history of Venezuela, a country that has experienced near consistent political instability since the 1980s, is a clear influence on Pepe’s work, exploring the powerful emotional charge of being uprooted or exiled, and emotional attachment to objects and places. The objects all originate from the artist’s family home in Caracas, with their wrapping giving the eerie effect of cocooning or mummifying.

There’s a combination of owned, borrowed, found and gifted objects throughout Crisálida, described as being "the collective memories of the citizens of Caracas". This includes works from the artist’s personal collection by well-known Latin American artists such as Rafael Barrios, Rodrigo Echeverri and Jesús Soto, plus objects originally belonging to his grandparents, who were brought to Venezuela after fleeing Spain during the Civil War more than 70 years ago.

The exhibition will also include a performance whereby individuals wrap themselves in the same polyethylene film, whilst moving through the installation, and, in a continuation of the exhibition’s themes, all the objects included in the installation will be listed in the form of a shipping ledger.

The exhibition is the inaugural project of RUYA MAPS, a non-profit initiative bringing artists living and working in areas of social or political instability to wider global attention. You can read more about their brilliant work here.

Crisálida will be exhibited at The Fitzrovia Chapel in London from 15 to 26 October.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.

Pepe López: 'Crisálida’. Photography: Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and RUYA MAPS.