The Catherwood Project reflects Argentinian artist Leandro Katz’s engagement with Mayan culture and concern about the consequences of colonialism and neocolonialism, issues he also explored in text-based works such as El Libro Quemado, 1995, and his films The Mirror on the Moon, 1992, and Paradox, 2001. Retracing the steps of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood on their expeditions to the Yucatán in the mid-nineteenth century, Katz photographed ancient Mayan ruins from the vantage points of Catherwood’s drawings (known to him via engraved reproductions), at times presenting Catherwood’s images alongside his own photographs, at others holding up the illustrated book within the frame. Catherwood’s images disappear from later works in the series, but the original vantage points remain as a reference. Katz appropriates the role of observer and surveyor of lands to be exploited and colonized, but also that of the archaeologist, who discloses layers of time and change.
Series: From the Catherwood Project
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist
This image was exhibited in SITE Santa Fe's SITElines.2014: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, entitled "Unsettled Landscapes" from July 2014-January 2015.
About Leandro Katz
Argentina, b. 1938