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Artist portraits (42): Fernando Bryce
Frankfurter Rundschau | 16.07.2002
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++++ Of what is the image composed which you have of a country about which you only know what you have learned second-hand? To what extent is that which is conveyed by newspapers, news reports, tourist brochures and advertising coloured in various ways? Is there perhaps in the composition of the various areas something resembling a valid overall impression?
Fernando Bryce, who was born in 1965 in Lima, approaches these questions in connection with his home country, Peru. His Atlas Peru consists of a multitude of drawings which he presents in series of two three and five on the walls of the Frankfurt Kunstverein. The subject is the history of the country from 1932 until 2001 presented using found motifs from advertising, newspapers, tourist brochures and politics which Bryce copies squarely in black ink. Heroically depicted military men and politicians stand there next to petrol station signs from Shell and Esso, photos of excavations next to modern residential settlements, expressway flyovers and interiors, graphics of zinc mining next to landscapes and idyllic hotels, political pamphlets next to corpses in coffins, advertisements for shoes, electric stoves and McDonald's next to genre scenes with Indios, scientists at work next to idealized depictions of peasants and workers. Bryce takes what he finds and juxtaposes it laconically. In this way he weakens the original statements of the individual pages, which were defined by interests, and turns them into individual facets of a large whole.
His archiving procedure is no accident. He studied for four years in Paris with Christian Boltanski, one of the best-known searchers for traces and archivists in present-day art. The Manifesta curators take up this thread when they present the Atlas Peru in the room in which the Manifesta archive is also housed. Whether the rather reserved drawings would have been better presented in a place which is less full is put to one side here.
Today, Fernando Bryce lives in Lima and, after being awarded a scholarship, in Berlin. Most of his drawings were done in the German capital, far from the country which they represent. Distance — in Bryce's view obviously a sensible way of approach.
Frankfurter Kunstverein, until 25 August. jdv

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