April 1st - August 6th, 2023

The Golden Myth. A territory

The exhibition that reviews the myth of El Dorado in America from a selection of contemporary works from different countries of the continent arrives at Proa

"The Golden. A territory”, the new exhibition that arrives at the Proa rooms from April 1 until next August, is an opportunity to review the impact of one of the most influential American myths in the history of humanity.

Coming from public and private institutions, and private collections, a set of works by Latin American artists crosses - through videos, installations and performances - themes that range from materiality, syncretism, transformation processes and the landscape of a territory prodigal in resources. and raw materials that changed the world from the 16th century.

Grouped into different plot nuclei, emblematic pieces are presented such as the raft by Clorindo Testa, the experiments with the potato by Víctor Grippo and the golden messages by Mathias Goeritz, Stefan Brüggemann, Laura Vinci, Leda Catunda and Olga de Amaral; Pedro Terán, Mazenett & Quiroga, Andrés Bedoya, Betsabée Romero, Ximena Garrido Lecca, Santiago Montoya, Gastón Ugalde, Iván Argote, Tania Candiani, Florencia Sadir and Benvenuto Chavajay Ixtetela; Marta Minujín pays Argentina's external debt with corn and Evi Tártari builds textiles with husks, among other works that coexist with original objects from the colonial period on loan from the Fernández Blanco Museum, including the series of rain capes, the pair of wings silver and a coquera made of the same material during the 19th century.

"The Golden. A territory” is a joint project of Fundación Proa, Americas Society and the Amparo Museum. The three institutions met between 2021 and 2022 to delve into the problem of the myth of El Dorado and its validity. The result of this initiative is structured in three non-itinerant exhibitions, to be developed throughout 2023 and 2024 in Buenos Aires, New York and Puebla. Each of them seeks to reflect their own dilemmas and points of view on the legend and the scope it had in their respective regions. The curatorial project opens in Proa on Saturday, April 1, 2023, with the exhibition in the rooms and a public educational program shared by the three institutions

“El dorado, did it exist or not? Proa decides to address the issue based on this question, to seek answers in the territory. Did the gold exist through the raw materials and the immensity of resources that were in America? Marta Minujín expresses it in her work Payment of the Argentine foreign debt to Andy Warhol, in which she settles the debt with corn. We can say that all these riches from the New World changed the daily life of the East and the West, of course, without forgetting the cost and the consequences it had for the protagonists”, explains Adriana Rosenberg, director of Fundación Proa. “Why contemporary works of art, and not historical ones? In principle, we are a contemporary art center, and we believe that revisiting history requires doing so with tools from the present such as video, photography, and installations. It is the language to which we are accustomed, both the artist and the spectator”. El Dorado, a territory is conceived by the Fundación Proa team based on the research carried out during the Seminar led by Edward Sullivan.


The supposed flow of precious metals and extraordinary wealth found in America aroused the fascination of adventurers in the fifteenth century, then convinced of the real existence of a place called El Dorado, a "region of incalculable wealth, whose image emerges from the story deformed of the ceremonies of the chibchas in the lagoon of King Guatavita and unfolds later in the imaginary of the mythical city of Manoa. It is an authentic u-topos, a non-place whose mirage unleashes the most exaggerated illusions, drives painful adventures and ends in tremendous actions” wrote Graciela Sarti in her notes, regarding an essay published in 1990 by the Grupo CA&C.

Those treasures lay across the continent and were the essential livelihood of local communities. Potato, sweet potato, corn, territory, South America, Latin American gold, crafts and food appear in the works of the invited artists who explore these natural resources in a contemporary language.


The raft, the trip and the river begin the tour emphasizing critical revisionism on the history of El Dorado through the works of Clorindo Testa, Fernando Bryce, Carolina Caycedo and Víctor Grippo. The gold motifs are thought of in general terms, here associated with mirage, with fantasy.

Gold as representation and materiality in the plastic territory can be seen in the monochromes of Mathias Goeritz and Stefan Brüggemann, and we see it applied to the idea of power in the pluvial layers of the Fernández Blanco Museum and in the pieces of Leda Catunda. Andrés Bedoya, Tania Candiani and Sandra Gamarra are some of the artists who recover techniques, ancestral wisdom, mythologies from their countries of origin and rescue weaving, crafts, language and landscape. The viewer is immersed in the territory of myth and its riches through the photographs of Mazenett & Quiroga, a duo of Colombian artists who work on the Amazon landscape and the site where the metal was extracted; corn and rubber appear in the work of Betsabée Romero, the coca leaf in that of Gastón Ugalde. Cocoa appears in the form of chocolate in the figures of Santiago Montoya, copper in that of Ximena Garrido Lecca, who deals with thinking about the Peruvian territory in terms of what it gave to the world and in the fact of having become the second copper exporter on the planet. The flies of Andrés Bedoya “fly”, highlighting the pair of wings and the silver coins that evoke the dramatic processes of the exploitation of this metal in the mines of Potosí, and that introduced the concept of value and gave wealth to Spain .
If we think of this exhibition as a trip through the tunnel of time, at the end of the scene the viewer will be able to visualize what could be considered the true gold: the potato, the corn, the tomato, the sweet potato. That seems to be expressed by Marta Minujín, who pays Andy Warhol's external debt with corn, while the Guatemalan Benvenuto Chavajay Ixtetela recovers the recent history of violence in Colombia, Venezuela and Guatemala, appealing to that narrative to build corn with bullets. Tucuman artist Evi Tártari makes chala fabrics and curtains to highlight the importance of corn in her land. The potato route, Víctor Grippo's potato, Iván Argote's sweet potato and Tania Candiani's piece dyed red with cochineal ink remind us of other commodities that America bequeathed to the world.

Exhibition "The Golden Myth. A territory"


Idea and project
Adriana Rosenberg, Fundación Proa

Maite Paramio - Cecilia Jaime - Mayra Zolezzi

Isaac Fernandez Blanco Museum
Patricio Lopez Mendez - Gustavo Tudisco

Teresa Gowland

Identity design
Guillermo Goldschmidt
Maricris Herrera Studio, Mexico

Exhibition design and assembly
Paul Zaefferer

Digital documentation
Merlina Lopez

Jorge Pastorino

Ananda Rigoni Aller

Public Programs
Rosario Garcia Martinez

Camila Villarruel - Noemi Aira

Sonia Gugolj - Melina Herrero - Pilar Victorio

Production and assembly
Mariana Álvarez - Florence Cassini Javier Ferrante
Santiago Migliavacca - Leonardo Toresin - Nicolas Valverde

Ana Clara Giannini - Marina Gambier - Alba Rodríguez Arranz

Works providers
Asociación Martín Chambi, Cusco
Andres Bedoya, La Paz
Carolina Caycedo, Londres
Benvenuto Chavajay, Guatemala
Colección MUNTREF, Buenos Aires
Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, San Pablo
Fundación Clorindo Testa, Buenos Aires
Galería 80m2 Livia Benavides, Lima
Galería Hauser & Wirth
Henrique Faria, Nueva York
Instituto de visión, Bogotá
Legado Víctor Grippo, Buenos Aires
Lisson Gallery, Nueva York
Leopoldo Maler, Buenos Aires
Marta Minujín, Buenos Aires
Santiago Montoya, Bogotá
Museo Isaac Fernández Blanco, Buenos Aires
Betsabeé Romero, Ciudad de México
Florencia Sadir, Salta
Track 16, Los Ángeles
Gastón Ugalde, La Paz
Laura Vinci, San Pablo

Sandra Antelo-Suárez
Sergio Baur
Luis Beriau
Andres Brun
Cecilia Bilesio
José Emilio Burucúa
Jorge Cometti
Galería Rolf Art, Buenos Aires
Mariana Marchesi
Heriberto Meili
Leopol Mones Cazón
Franklin Pedroso
Gerardo Zapata

The golden myth project

Proa Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina Americas Society, New York, United States Amparo Museum, Puebla, Mexico

Curatorial committee
Adriana Rosenberg - Aimé Iglesias Lukin - Ramiro Martínez

Manuela Hansen - Tie Jojima - Maite Paramio

El Dorado Project
Six meetings between November 2021 and May 2022

Directed by: Edward Sullivan
Coordination: Tie Jojima
Production: Maite Paramio
Academics: Siobhan Angus - Clara Bargellini - Julia Bozer H.W. Brands - Monica Bravo - Sherwin K. Bryant

James Doyle - Elizabeth Ferry - Andrew Finegold
Tatiana Flores - Ana Franco - Helen Gould Sheppard
Eleanor J. Harvey - Cristóbal Jácome-Moreno - Jennifer Josten
Ilona Katzew - Abigail Lapin Dardashti - Walter Mignolo
Sean Nesselrode Moncada - Valéria Piccoli - Joanne Pillsbury
Jennifer Raab - Sandra Rozental - Gabriela Siracusano - Edward Sullivan