PRESS

“….on these same lines how not to emphasize the utopic project for the Puno Museum of Contemporary Art with which Cesar Cornejo demonstrated at Lucia de la Puente the absolute validity of a concept of museum detached from the powers and the power.”

Gustavo Buntinx. “Die of Success, a look over the (Peruvian) art scene in 2010”, Revista Cosas, Dec 16, 2010, Lima Peru

“The week that has passed the exhibition conceptually most attractive was the one by Cesar Cornejo, a brilliant installation artist that comes from an architectural background which becomes evident in the extraordinary rigor of all of his works, whether those presented at galleries of ICPNA or at ARTCO, exhibitions that he has alternated with long residencies in Japan, where he would carry out a Masters in Art which he would culminate in a Doctorate in Arts before moving to the United States where he currently resides. His long absences not only allowed him to ample his horizons in the field of art but also in his comprehension of Perú and it’s dramatic differences. Therefore he has stopped showing his work in the interior of a gallery- except for projects like the currently presented at Lucia de la Puente- to move to develop works that could be considered utopic- in the best Russian sense- as it occurs with his idea to develop a collective work with the inhabitants of the city of Puno, to help them to restore their homes for free-70%of them are in this state-so later the repaired spaces will host works of art, converting Puno in the first city museum of the world…”

Luis E. Lama, “Abundance” Caretas Magazine, Edition 2145, Sep 02, 2010, Lima Peru

“Cesar Cornejo’s Museumorphosis Part I (2008) and Museumorphosis Part II (2008) are a two-fold installation that works as a plan to build a museum inside people’s houses in the city of Puno, in Peru. The installatin at WAC comprises numerouse miniature brick houses on a circular soil ground, and a photograph on the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The photorgraph serves as a critical reminder of the practice of museum exportation, a corporate concept that equates art with other franchising businesses in developing countries…”

Denise Carvalho, Preemtive Resistances, Critical Pointers in Latin American Art Catalog, Westport Arts Center, 2009.

“It seems that the architects that finally decided to dedicate themselves to art have
taken Lima by assault. First arrived the exhibition by Gordon Matta-Clark and all his radical vanguard, that tried an architecture of social and political purposes in New York almost forty years ago. On a path close to that but singular, is Cesar Cornejo (Lima 1966), a Peruvian that works between New York and Florida and who decided to distance himself from formal architectural practice to device artistic projects at the margin of the political and financial systems from an specific place. Cornejo- who presents himself as an anti-architect- chose Puno as a departing point for a project that combines social impact with art, education and sustainability. The Puno Museum of Contemporary Art (Puno MoCA) departs from a real problem: the generalized precariousness of the houses of that city of the altiplano. Cornejo tries to raise the level of the lives of its inhabitants, transforming complete houses in spaces for art display for a determined period of time.”

Lucia Pardo, “All Houses are Museums” Somos Magazine, #1238, El Comercio Newspaper, Lima Peru 2010.

“ Cesar Cornejo engages with the architecture and corporization of museums, superimposing images of the Guggenheim Museum in New York to a maquette of roofless shanties placed over a mound of dirt. The image of the museum is made visible through circular mirrors placed on the ceiling directly ofer the piece. Cornejo’s piece, titled Museumorphosis I, comments on social and geographical inequalities and ponders the relevance of art for impoverished communities. Rejecting the model of exporting culture presupposed by the Guggenheim franchise, the artist has been working with the city of Puno, Peru on a different type of museum project, infolving the creation of small galleries in people’s homes that would empower members of the community with cultural agency”

Tatiana Flores, “Preemptive Resisnances: Critical Pointers in Latin American Art, Westport Arts Center. Art Nexus Magazine #73, 2009.

The installations of the Peruvian sculptor Cesar Cornejo, currently being shown in two galleries in Lima, “A Private Matter” at the Peruvian North American Institute (ICPNA) Gallery in Miraflores and “ La Cantuta” at Artco Gallery in San Isidro, allow us to sneak into situations in which intimacy has been abruptly disrupted, reaching dramatic limits. The intention of the artist, who has lived abroad for over a decade, has been to show a personal view of happenings that in some way were out of his hands during his absence. The result is striking, maybe because of all the tones Cornejo has chosen the deepest bass.
The family table is severed exactly in the middle as are the place settings. A wall approximately 10 centimetres wide, stands from the floor to the ceiling, cutting any attempt at communication between the imaginary persons sat down in front of each other at the two ends. Perhaps those sat down at the sides leaning in the chairs could, with a little luck, gossip to the others.
The sofa, one of those in the classical curved style and made with an old fabric, has a perfect space only for two and is also cut at the centre. And the hospital bed, for a possibly eldery patient, with a reclinable back also cut in half and a corner bar plus other furniture that Cesar Cornejo ended up taking from his own surroundings to set them under the title “ A Private Matter” at the gallery of the Peruvian North American Institute of Miraflores.
There is no background music nor audiovisual language, neither endless explanatory texts sticked to the walls aimed to “let the visitors understand”. But they do understand or more precisely feel for in the silence there seems to still be listened to and distant echoes of unspeakable rebukes, broken phrases or back talking said in low voices hinting angrily at the well-placed breaks in the walls.
In A Private Matter, Cesar Cornejo cuts across on the style of interpersonal relationships, which was almost a rule in some areas of Lima`s society some decades ago. A vertical and authoritarian style, which was next to the insane. One which invited to isolation, to the development of an autistic behaviour and or language, and to proclaim, with sweet elegancy, like Luisito Hernandez, that “It is better to live in an immaculate solitude. Or depart”.
Chosing a meticulous discourse and an extremely clear setting, Cesar achieves, brilliant paradox, to brutally expose the entrails and guts of a social group which developed under the very Limenian model of the twilight tapada. Because in A Private Matter, the stew is uncovered and the familiar smell confuses more than one.The alternative table, this time without cuts, of dialogue is served, and the companions at table invited. Sirs, there is only on thing missing, to take it personally.
Without trace
The new gallery Artco in San Isidro, a huge rectangular shed like building with a high ceiling, is the second scene chosen by Cesar Cornejo to present a very personal reading of a painful public affair: the disappearance in 1993, of nine students and one teacher from the University Enrique Guzman y Valle of La Cantuta during the years of violence which devastated the country.
Like the earlier exhibition, the chosen language is also an installation. Nine student desks and one teacher desk, from those used during those years, have been covered with dozens of black flowers made of paper, so many that some raise over the desk to bleakly alter the original shape of the furniture, while the rest, almost all, fall on the floor and organize like a thick and black carpet whose texture, from a far, looks like burnt charcoal.
For the exhibitioin entitled La Cantuta, Cornejo worked with the students from the beginning of the project. “We walked through the university campus, we visited the chapel, the memorial to the martyrs and the textile workshops. The impact that that visit caused on me forced me to change all the scheme of the exhibition. I decided to incorporate the work of the students and to interact with them as a central element of my proposal. The next step was to work with the students of the workshop of Clothing Technology in the making of paper flowers” Explains the sculptor “These have the double function of remembering the victims of La Cantuta and all the victims of violence in Peru as well. That’s why, we setted up a target of making between 40 and 60 thousand flowers of black paper”, a number which refers to the number of dead and disappeared people during that decade, according the report from the Commission revisory of the Truth (CVR). ( It should be said that Cesar Cornejo is the first artist who applies one of the many recommendations given by the CVR: Convenient and needed are acts of symbolic apology from the civil society).

Doris Bayly “Flowers of Evil” Somos Magazine , El Comercio Newspaper, 2005.