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The Lakes by Venezuelan artist Jaime Gili opens at Riflemaker

I’ll post the text by Hannía Gómez after the show has opened.

J A I M E    G I L I

T H E   L A K E S



Opened in 1961, Parque del Este in Caracas, is a recognised jewel of modernist architecture. Though the design, by Roberto Burle Marx, has over the years been corrupted by modifications which sit uneasily with the architect’s original concept. The ten new canvases and boat sculpture by Venezuelan Jaime Gili take as their starting point an aerial view of the nine lakes set within this unique landscape.

As a young artist growing up in Caracas, Gili witnessed these alterations to the site. The area, the changes in the surroundings and its rich history continue to inspire him.

In 1969, a full-scale replica of Nao Santa Maria, the ship that brought Christopher Columbus to America’s mainland coast, was placed in one of the lakes by the government of the time. The sight of a galleon-style flagship anchored within this waterland retreat seemed incongruous to the park’s many regular visitors. More recently, the military government of Hugo Chávez, considering that vessel a symbol of colonial power, removed the galleon, but proposed replacing it with  yet another replica, that of galleon “Leander”, which in 1806 transported the War of Independence leader Francisco de Miranda back to Venezuela with the new Venezuelan flag, another incongruous addition.

Gili has always considered the Park del Este in its original state a perfectly executed masterpiece, the subsequent changes inflicted on the aesthetics of the place raises questions about public art and landscape; post-colonial politics and propaganda, Modernism and heritage; all within the specific history of the park in question; its shipwrecks, mini-Utopias – and failures.

For the first time the artist has introduced curves into his visual language. Foliate leaves are set against modulating backgrounds. Teardrop and paisley shapes evoke the soft quality of this retreat – the paintings referencing a very specific story of architectural design and the beautiful Lakes and gardens contained therein.


A Riflemaker book is published to accompany the exhibition

with texts by: Iain Carson, Hannia Gómez, Robin Mann and Alan Powers

The Lakes is curated by Robin Mann

Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London W1F 9SU Tel: 020 7439 0000




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