Skip to main content
Almine Rech

Darío Escobar Encrypted Messages

Mar 9 — Apr 22, 2023 | New York, Upper East Side

Opening on Thursday, March 9th
From 6 to 8 pm.

Inquire about the exhibition:

Almine Rech New York is delighted to present the exhibition Encrypted Messages , of recent works by the Guatemalan artist Darío Escobar. Encrypted Messages is both the artist’s debut with the gallery and his first exhibition in New York since 2018.

Escobar’s art, which has been presented in international biennials and museums since the late 1990s, is rooted in his extended reflection on what it means to be an artist from Guatemala, a country that has enjoyed little tangible presence in earlier chapters of global art history. In his telling, Guatemalan art was last recognized during the Baroque period of Spanish colonization, and its emergence into the postmodern era has been fraught with cultural, economic and political inequities, traces of which invariably find their way into Escobar’s work. To address this imbalance, some of Escobar’s earliest works incorporated Baroque techniques, such as gold leaf and silver embossing, to transform commodity objects imported from China, which were then beginning to appear in Guatemala’s urban markets, into one-of-a-kind relics. 

The origin of the Encrypted Messages series can be found in innumerable car trips that Escobar has made over the years through the countryside of eastern Guatemalan and southern Mexico, during which he would periodically stop to salvage discarded metal signs that had been used for target practice by persons, and for reasons, unknown. Originally emblazoned with advertisements for beverages or local businesses, or deployed simply as directional guideposts, once riddled with bullet holes the signs’ meanings were profoundly altered. Recognizing their potential, Escobar nonetheless opted to take his time in assimilating the transformation of meaning, explaining that “they represented things I did not understand.” 

Press release

  • read or download in English

Selected artworks

  • Encrypted Messages No 36, 2023

    Encrypted Messages No 36, 2023

    Metal, pigments and gold
    51 x 50 x 9 cm
    20 x 19 1/2 x 3 1/2 in