The exhibition presents Bogota city through the artists’ eyes, which gaze focuses on their experience living and working in the capital of the country. Bogota has emerged in the last decade as a one of the megacities in Latin America with the highest development and growth index, characterized by a multicultural complexity coexisting with enormous problems of social gaps and security. The history of the country, as well as the social and family lives have implicit the long period of violence, the drug mafia presence, and the corrupted political ambiance, that still remain as unsolved problems. The contrast is marked by the cultural ambiance that have made of Bogota that `paradise for the intellectual spirit`, with freedom of speech and multiple origin voices. The exhibition is an attempt to understand how this melting pot produces this disseminated and boiling artistic dynamics. The gathered artwork reveals the social and urban power of the city: daily life, channels of communications and rhythm of the urban common-life. Artists raise questions about how the city dwellers cope with errors and imperfections of a system. The system in where an urban development is a fiction and where the structure of power is unpredictable and beyond imagination.
To define and describe ambiguity, contradiction and paradoxes of Bogota, artists develop a critical approach full of bittersweet laughter. Sad smile/smile through tears unmasks issues such as disorder, consumerism, poverty, injustice, violence, corruption and displacement. Dark humor contented in artwork seems to be a survival strategy to mirrors social disruptions. Another method to scrutinize the reality is an escape into own imagination. The creation of parallel reality, unearth the picture of dirty sides of Bogota Street.
How it is to be a contemporary artist in Bogota?....
The displayed kinetic installation Fifty Thousand
by Adriana Salazar
is composed of fifty 1000 Colombian peso banknotes. Each of the notes is attached to an oblong spring, which is connected to a simple engine. When a viewer approaches the work, the movement is sensed by a detector, which activates the whole mechanism. A sudden rush of rustling banknotes breaks the silence. The bills, fluttering in a quick, rhythmical pattern, resemble a flock of birds about to raise from the ground. The artist is interested in matters which oscillate around the representation of behaviours and gestures typical of humans and live organisms and performed without their participation. To this end, Salazar observes our everyday actions – those performed automatically, which we do not think about – pointless, but repetitive. Her works are an attempt of sorts at drawing our attention to the absurdities of our everyday life.
The multimedia installation Estados de simulación / A State of Simulation by Alberto Lezaca de Paz is going to be reconstructed in situ during the artist’s residence in Gdańsk. The work is composed of plywood, a cube and a video projection. Using simple construction materials and a computer-generated image, the artist is going to create a magic-filled environment in Łaźnia. Shades and colourful geometrical pictures are going to appear at the joint of walls, while the cube with a pile of wooden boards will be transformed into an illuminated, oneiric architectural form. In his works, Lezaca often refers to the modernisation of urban infrastructure in Bogota. The city undergoes constant renovation, but the omnipotent corruption in state bodies effectively hampers the completion of urban development projects. In consequence, the urban landscape is a mixture of several styles, which gives an absurd final effect.
Especially for the Łaźnia CCA, Jaime Ávila
has prepared a series of drawings entitled Paisajes de polvo / Dust Landscapes
. They depict a bird’s-eye view of nocturnal landscapes. Lines, subtly marked with ink and accentuated with spots of light, meander in high mountain ranges. The artist only seemingly invites us to admire a night-time panorama of the enchanting Andes. The romantic nocturne is in fact a view of motorways illegally constructed by drug peddlers in explosive, dangerous zones, completely separated from the rest of the world.
During his residence in Gdańsk, Andrés R. Londoño is going to create a wall painting entitled Mould. This work has been presented e.g. in Bogota. At that occasion, Londoño made a portrait of some of the most influential representatives of the local art world. However, it was not a tribute paid to Colombian curators, collectors and celebrities. The figures emerged from a yellowed, brownish undercoat, which resembled mould. They were painted next to the ceiling, in the corners and at the floor level. The entire work evoked a damp basement, infested with wet rot.
The mural will be supplemented by an interactive project entitled Kunstomerservice. During his stay in Gdańsk, Londoño will invite the viewers to a dialogue on the consumerist approach to art. Londoño’s project will introduce us to the mechanisms of the functioning of the Bogota art scene.
Adriana Salazar (born 1980) – interdisciplinary artist, who works with installation, sculpture and painting. In her art, she focuses on recognising the limits between the natural and the artificial. Based on her observations, she creates kinetic art objects, which perform various impractical, sometimes absurd actions: a cigarette-smoking machine, a machine which tries to thread a needle, a crying machine. Her works are based on simple designs and executed manually, while their movements may seem clumsy.
Adriana Salazar has graduated in Fine Arts at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota and in Philosophy at the Javeriana University in Bogota. Her works have been shown at international exhibitions, festivals and art biennales in Europe, Asia, North and South America. She is a holder of a scholarship of the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Japan and the Nordic Artists’ Centre in Norway. She lives and works in Bogota.
Alberto Lezaca de Paz creates contextual installations in which he uses construction materials and video projections, drawing on the aesthetics of applied design. His latest works focus on utopian visions of 1930s modernist architecture and their links to the current state of urban landscape.
In recent years, Alberto Lezaca de Paz has participated in collective exhibitions such as Enfrentamiento, Laboratorio de Arte Espacio-G, Valparaiso, Chile (2011), Muestra de Vídeo Enfrentamiento, Ateliê 397, São Paulo, Brasil (2011), Gran Enciclopedia Acémila, Galería Facultad de Artes ASAB, Bogota, Colombia (2011). He has recently participated in a residency programme at the Gaswork gallery in London (2012). He lives and works in Bogota.
Jaime Ávila (born 1967) combines painting, photography and drawing in his art. For Ávila, his art is a pretext to draw attention to social and economic problems affecting Latin American countries. For example, in his project 4th World – Five Cubic Meters, he demonstrated the destructive force of poverty along with the chaotic urban building development of seven Latin American cities.
Jaime Ávila Ferrera represented Colombia at international festivals and exhibitions, e.g. in Brazil, England and the United States (e.g. The Boston Arts Academy). Avila is one of the most influential artists of his generation. He lives and works in Bogota.
Andrés R. Londoño – a painter and draughtsman – combines various styles in his works, creating painterly contextual installations. He experiments with various techniques and materials. In his works, he takes a critical view of the art circles both in Colombia and Europe.
Andrés R. Londoño obtained his B.A at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota. He is currently finishing his M.A. studies in Art in the Urban Space at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. He has numerous exhibitions under his belt, e.g. at the Alliance Française, Colombo American Centre and Pereira Art Museu. Londoño currently lives and works in Weimar and Berlin.
The artists invited to take part in the exhibition have developed subtle alphabet to talk about social aspects of being inhabitant of Bogota. The Vision of Colombia offers a different view on this urban narration. The films presented within the screening interrogate social issues such as drug mafia, violence, paramilitary organizations, it shows the country through the eye of the artist, Beatriz González. The screening will create an interesting background, it will provide the Polish audience with the opportunity to understand the strategy of the young generation of Colombian artists.
The complex socio-political panorama of Colombia during the last six decades has been continuously reflected in the cinema of this country, particularly in its documentaries. This short screening neither pretends nor can possibly encompass all the aspects of such complicated reality. However, this selection focuses on the particular vision of the directors on the re-current themes that Colombia invokes in the public conscience: the violence of armed conflict, its aftermath and drug trafficking. But more than anything, the documentaries in this selection depict an almost magical capacity of the reinvention and survival of Colombian people, so often mentioned and celebrated in the work of their most renowned writer – Gabriel García Márquez.