The Lakes was inspired by the landscape design for the Parque del Este, a city park created in Caracas by a team lead by Brazilian landscape artist Roberto Burle Marx. Opened in 1961, Parque del Este is a jewel of Modernist architecture. Gili took the aerial views of the nine artificial lakes in the architect’s original plans as a compositional starting point for his series of paintings and boat sculptures.
From the Press Release: “The artist’s view has always been that the mini-Utopia of the park in its original state was a perfectly executed masterpiece, any later additions being both unnecessary and superfluous.
As a young artist growing up in Caracas, Gili witnessed various alterations to the parks’ landscape, politically-related changes that he and many others considered inappropriate. In 1969, a full-scale replica of Nao Santa Maria (the ship which brought Columbus to America’s mainland coast) was placed in one of the lakes by the Venezuelan government of the time. The sight of a galleon-style flagship anchored within a modernist environment seemed incongruous to many who visited. More recently, the military government, having considered the Nao a symbol of colonial power, proposed to replace it with the Leander, another Columbus-style parody, but one which transported the War of Independence leader Francisco de Miranda back to Venezuela.
The Lakes raises questions about public art and large projects: post-colonial politics and propaganda, Modernism and aesthetics, and the specific history of the park itself: its triumphs, shipwrecks, and failures.”+ PDF: Exhibition Card
+ LINK to series of paintings in site