Ivana de Vivanco


Cartesian Banana




Peru and Chile




Glazed ceramic, metal chain, and synthetic hair

Credits: Courtesy of the artist

From a yellow chain hanging from the ceiling, an anthropomorphic banana and a delicate black hand holding braided blue fibers are held. The work is part of a larger series by De Vivanco entitled Cartesian Complex. In this series, the artist explores the possibilities (or rather, impossibilities) of visually representing Cartesian thought, which—for her—entails a dualistic and monological perspective of the world. The structure of all the sculptures that make up the series follows the same pattern: a head floating in the air but chained to a group of elements from which the head cannot detach itself. In Cartesian Banana, the head is shaped like a banana, a fruit that holds contradictory positions. On the one hand, the banana could be considered a victim, as it has been so exploited and mistreated that some of its species have become extinct. On the other, bananas represent a history of violence and terror, experienced mainly by the racialized communities of the global south where the fruit is grown. The chains and the black hand in this sculpture are a clear reference to this history of human brutality and slavery while attracting the viewer’s gaze with their material delicacy and colorfulness.