Sowing the Oil - 2014
Caracas, July 14th, 1936. The newspaper “Ahora” publishes an editorial entitled “Sembrar el Petróleo” (To Sow the Oil) written by Arturo Uslar Pietri, arguably, Venezuela's most clear minded intellectual.
Venezuela was a prominent coffee exporter untiil the emergence of OIl. After that fortiuitous event The coutry neglected it’s most important industries until then: coffee, cocoa, to devote itself to oil extraction and to become at one point the 2 largest oil exporter in the world.
These 160+ lb. sculptures of agreca coffee-maker, which the public are invited to touch, are made of Venezuelan bitumen.
Bitumen is considered to be probably the most viscous material on earth and can be found naturally or manufactured through distillation of crude oil.
The 90 inch tall coffee maker “la alquitrana”, named after the first tar (oil) farm in Venezuela, WILL completely “melt” into a puddle years from now thus reenacting the sad fate of the industries we so bluntly abandoned.
Days beforeUslar prietri died in 2001 he said the following …
”The day we write about Venezuelan history after the discovery of oil, is going to be very frightening... No other country was rained upon so suddenly by massive riches, the equivalent of six or seven Marshall Plans. This is an immature country without a brain and without a managerial class. I tell you, I am in a very bad state of mind, I have no hope, I exist as though I'm in Dante's Inferno. We have nothing to hold on to here…an improvised and improvisational country. To think what this country might have been like with its mountain of resources, if only the government had had a bit of common sense.”
there are 8 large sculptures and all of them have different names that originate from the famous oil fields in venezuela... La Alquitrana, Mene Grande, Zumaque 1, etc.
Bitumen / weight: 160 + lb. dimensions: 90cm x 50cm.