Belkis Ayón. Ya Estamos Aquí, Exhibition View, 2022, Ludwig Forum Aachen. Photo: Mareike Tocha
The Ludwig Forum Aachen is pleased to present Ya Estamos Aquí (Spanish for: We’re Here Already), the first survey exhibition of the Cuban artist Belkis Ayón (Havana, 1967-1999) in the German-speaking world. Starting from a selection of around seventy works created in the period from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, the exhibition introduces key creative periods of the artist’s career. The figures, symbols, and rituals in her collages are borrowed from the Afro-Cuban secret society Abakuá, reserved exclusively for men, which Ayón studied intensively throughout her life. In her personal adaptations of Abakuá mythologies, she brings together concepts of syncretism, meaning the fusion of different belief systems, and hierarchical power structures. For her updated depictions of this myth, the artist used the process of collagraphy—a printing technique in which collaged and textured materials are painstakingly layered onto a cardboard matrix. Starting with nineteen prints and three matrices from the early 1990s that are part of the Peter und Irene Ludwig Collection at Ludwig Forum Aachen, the exhibition is significantly extended and includes loans from the Belkis Ayón Estate and a selection of ephemera and archival materials, making tangible her links to Peter and Irene Ludwig’s collection as well as to the broader Aachen region, where she first exhibited in 1995. Belkis Ayón, according to the artist herself, always sought to question “the human, the fleeting feeling, the spiritual”—themes now opened up to a broad audience in the exhibition Ya Estamos Aquí.
Curated by Eva Birkenstock and Annette Lagler, Assistant Curator: Ana Sophie Salazar, Exhibition Design: Studio Manuel Raeder, Berlin
The exhibition project was organized in collaboration with the Belkis Ayón Estate, Havana, with the generous support of the Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung, STAWAG, the Landschaftsverband Rheinland and the Friends of the Ludwig Forum.
A corresponding collection presentation was conceived on the occasion of the exhibition. Under the title Palmipeda, a selection of Latin American graphic art, installation and painting of the 80s and 90s from the collection of Peter and Irene Ludwig will be presented. Curated by Ana Sophie Salazar.