In his artistic practice Esvin Alarcón Lam focuses upon materiality as a residue of globalized socio-political conditions. He works in sculpture, installation, photography, and video performance, and his work is informed by the notions of displacement and duration. In his research, Alarcón Lam uses diverse methodologies ranging from appropriation and re-contextualization, to performance and ephemeral images, to archives and the geopolitical conditions in which everyday materials are produced and reproduced. He proposes visual experiences which construct critical thinking.
In “Raw Matter”, 2016 Alarcón Lam appropriated a found geological reconnaissance commissioned by the California Union Oil Company. The document testifies the explorations by the American company in Western Honduras as a process to detect petroleum in Central America. Through the method of re-contextualization he exhibited this works on paper from 1960 as an evidence of historical extractive politics, along with an installation made with an oil black barrel that reminds us Donald Judd’s sculptures. Alarcón Lam confronts in the same space the ideas of minimalism and territorial exploitation, problematizing the relations between content and form, and between art history and geopolitics.
Another archive based project is “Silk Route”, in which Alarcón Lam re-constructed a Chinese Arc that existed only for a few years at the Guatemala’s Central Square. He placed on the ground over 500 second-hand clothes originally produced across Asia, to build an anti-monument inspired by a document from the original arc built in 1921. This monument was a gift from the Chinese Colony to Guatemala in its Independence Centenary. The people at the Plaza took the clothing they wanted following Alarcón Lam’s invitation, and the image disappeared in minutes. This work reflects Lam’s own heritage and community. In many works, he proposes an oblique relationship to history, collective memory, and everyday life.