MCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
artist / participant
Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River
December 12, 2020 - September 12, 2021
Through her studio practice and fieldwork with riverside communities impacted by large-scale infrastructure projects, Carolina Caycedo (Colombian, b. 1978) makes work that addresses humanity’s relationship with nature. Working on the front lines of social and environmental justice, she gathers materials, experiences, objects, and feelings to make her multidisciplinary work.
Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River surveys the last ten years of Caycedo’s artistic practice and prominently features Be Dammed (2012– ), an ongoing multimedia project that examines the impact of hydroelectric dams and other major infrastructure projects on communities and the environment. It also features Caycedo’s powerful Cosmotarrayas, a series of net sculptures produced through fieldwork in rural areas of Colombia, Brazil, and other countries where the privatization of waterways has irrevocably altered the ability of local communities to live and work. The exhibition encompasses video, drawing, sculpture, and photography and reflects the importance of process and participation in Caycedo’s work.
Informed by Indigenous philosophies, Caycedo’s work challenges us to understand nature not as a resource to be exploited, but as a living and spiritual entity that unites people beyond borders. Her innovative approach integrates her art-making practice in the studio with actions in communities affected by mining, damming, and other resource extraction projects by corporations and governments. Caycedo’s work invites viewers to consider the unsustainable pace of growth under capitalism—and how we might bolster resistance, solidarity, and cultural and environmental biodiversity.
The exhibition is organized by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator, with Iris Colburn, Curatorial Assistant. It is presented in the Bergman Family Gallery on the museum's second floor.