Room 002.08
Principio Potosí

This room is based on the exhibition which, coinciding with the bicentennial of independence gained by countries in the Americas, was held in the Museo in 2010 under the title Principio Potosí (The Potosí Principle), focusing on art’s role in the process of accumulation following the Conquest of the Americas and spotlighting the dawn of capitalism. Through the project, curators Alice Creischer, Max Hinderer and Andreas Siekmann sought to reverse the direction of thinking, art criticism and the role of institutions of the time from a post-colonial perspective.   

Artworks in the room

Images of the room

Room 002.08 Room 002.08
Room 002.08 Room 002.08

Room 002.08

This room is based on the exhibition which, coinciding with the bicentennial of independence gained by countries in the Americas, was held in the Museo in 2010 under the title Principio Potosí (The Potosí Principle), focusing on art’s role in the process of accumulation following the Conquest of the Americas and spotlighting the dawn of capitalism. Through the project, curators Alice Creischer, Max Hinderer and Andreas Siekmann sought to reverse the direction of thinking, art criticism and the role of institutions of the time from a post-colonial perspective.   

The show situated the Potosí mines (in Bolivia), exploited during Spanish rule, as the inception of early globalised modernity based on the domination of colonial territories by central powers. For the curators, Potosí silver worked as the symbolic and material origin of the relationship between modernity, colonialism and slavery, with the Atlantic Ocean the first freight corridor, a transmitter of material wealth and, therefore, an ethnic-racial, hetero-patriarchal, Eurocentric ideological device that explains the control that has survived up to the present day in different spheres: from centres of economic power to bodies.  

Displayed here is a selection of works from the Museo Reina Sofía Collection that were part of the exhibition, together with archive and reference materials comprising the far-reaching research accompanying the project. The pieces were used as a starting point for imagery of colonial and viceregal baroque art. As a whole, the historical images and contemporary works that revisit it give rise to a reflection around the hybridisation of themes and techniques through time, and also around the relationship between the cultural sphere and different forms of exploitation.

This room is based on the exhibition which, coinciding with the bicentennial of independence gained by countries in the Americas, was held in the Museo in 2010 under the title Principio Potosí (The Potosí Principle), focusing on art’s role in the process of accumulation following the Conquest of the Americas and spotlighting the dawn of capitalism. Through the project, curators Alice Creischer, Max Hinderer and Andreas Siekmann sought to reverse the direction of thinking, art criticism and the role of institutions of the time from a post-colonial perspective.   The show situated the Potosí mines (in Bolivia), exploited during Spanish rule, as the inception of early globalised modernity based on the domination of colonial territories by central powers. For the curators, Potosí silver worked as the symbolic and material origin of the relationship between modernity, colonialism and slavery, with the Atlantic Ocean the first freight corridor, a transmitter of material wealth and, therefore, an ethnic-racial, hetero-patriarchal, Eurocentric ideological device that explains the control that has survived up to the present day in different spheres: from centres of economic power to bodies.  Displayed here is a selection of works from the Museo Reina Sofía Collection that were part of the exhibition, together with archive and reference materials comprising the far-reaching research accompanying the project. The pieces were used as a starting point for imagery of colonial and viceregal baroque art. As a whole, the historical images and contemporary works that revisit it give rise to a reflection around the hybridisation of themes and techniques through time, and also around the relationship between the cultural sphere and different forms of exploitation.   

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