Daniel de la Barra


“This review focuses its critical gaze on the cultural production of landscapes, their elements and their memory, viewing them as spaces where environmental justice, human rights and the speculative realism of images meet, coalesce, and burn. In doing so, This Is Not a Landscape proposes new ways of liberating the gaze toward landscapes, starting from the culture – or cult – of the image and symbols as shadows that forget, strategies of control, and vertigo. It decomposes the postcard of the landscape to revitalize it with intolerable memories: those of evangelizing and romantic processes, to capitalist and digital processes.

This fictional expedition is developed from a travel notebook loaded with sketches of the gold mining areas of La Pampa and Camanti, simulating the role of the traveling artist in Latin America during the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as from a series of filmed letters. The poetic gaze of the romantic landscape is deconstructed to reveal – with its own processes, compositions and elements – the resulting covert image behind the propaganda postcard infused with methods of dissolution, exploitation and invasion, and adapted to the cognitive needs of colonial capitalism.
In this sense, a hybrid device is created between the institutional space that constructs the official account of the gaze to the exotic, idyllic and sublime landscape, with the setting of a prostibar (brothel-bar) – specifically one that I managed to photograph in La Pampa (Madre de Dios), named “Infierno” (hell). These brothels extend across the interoceanic road that connects the Peruvian and Brazilian amazon, which serves as a mining corridor. Work on the interoceanic road began in 2005 under a contract with Odebrecht and, since then, it has facilitated the outbreak of the so-called ‘third gold rush’, multiplying the invasions of protected areas and mining camps by facilitating the transport of merchandise and fuel.
It is in these illegal brothels that the largest number of drug trafficking, child trafficking, illegal prostitution and rights violations are concentrated; as a result of mining, which is then laundered through the refineries of Metalor (Switzerland) and Texas C.O. (USA) to serve the federal reserves of rich countries, as well as the jewelry and technology industries.

Daniel De La Barra (Lima, Peru.1992)
Daniel moves between painting, installation and public intervention, focusing his work on urban anthropology, historical memory and the identity of societies within the homogenization of public space and the hierarchical imposition of powers of domination within the framework of colonial capitalism.

He began his studies in 2012 at the Corriente Alterna Contemporary Art School (Lima, Peru) until 2014, when he moves to Madrid to continue his painting studies. In 2017 he is accepted as an artist-in-residence at La Escocesa Fabrica de creaciò (Barcelona), where he remains until 2020. During this period, he has participated in various exhibitions, projects and interventions such as “Pròxima Obertura” at the Castle Museum of Montjuic or “Esc-Out. Desviaments del’art en la esfera pública” at Fabra i Coats Centre de Arte Contemporani.
In 2018 he is awarded a scholarship to do a residency at The Nerdrum School in Sweden. He received the La Escocesa Scholarship for Research and Experimentation in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Young Art Creation Prize of Catalonia 2019 (Sala d’Art Jove), exhibiting at the Sala d’Art Jove, and was a finalist for the Ricard Camì Painting Prize (C.C. Terrassa). For the last years in his home country Peru, he was a finalist of the National Prize of Contemporary Art ICPNA, as well as of the X National Prize of Painting (MUCEN), exhibiting at the Central Museum of Lima and the Gallery Juan Pardo Hereen of the Peruvian North American Cultural Center.
In 2019, he carried out a residency at Piramidon Centre d’art Contemporani and developed several projects such as “Searching for Paititi” (Espai SubSòl) for the Barcelona Gallery Weekend, Paisajes Deseados (Escola d Estiu Walter Benjamin, Port Bou) or “Pateras Carnival- Los vaijes del Bienestar” for Luminaria 04 (Madrid). He is currently working on the next exhibitions for this year at La Bienal de Amposta (Lo Pati), El Born CCM (Habitando ruinas), Museu Arts Santa Mónica (Paisajes deseados) and Proyecto AMIL (Violencia actual en América Latina y el costumbrismo de Pancho Fierro) (Lima, Perú).