In its 34th edition, ARCOmadrid has invited Colombia to participate as guest of honor under the moniker #ArcoColombia. Since 1996, the organization has presented a special focus on a different country each year (last year we covered ARCO's #FocusFinland, also furnished with a readymade hashtag). This year the special program encompasses a selection of 10 galleries curated by Juan A. Gaitán for the main fair alongside a broad repertoire of exhibitions and events that will parallel ARCOmadrid during the months of February and March across the city.
The suite of tandem events are organized under two main branches. Focus Colombia is an initiative of the Colombian Government that brings together twelve exhibitions curated by the Colombian cultural producers María Wills Londoño, curator of Museos del Banco de la República in Colombia, and Jaime Cerón, curator, art critic and visual arts advisor for the Ministry of Culture in Bogotá. The Colombia in Madrid program serves as a complement to Focus, injecting renowned names of Colombian contemporary art into the Madrid art scene and institutions. These periphery expos, like the main fair, aim to present a historic panorama of Colombian art of the last 40 years, while diving deeply into the impact of Colombian art domestically and abroad in the last decade.
Do check out the 10 Colombian galleries at the main fair, but be sure to complete your tour with these five off-site highlights that speak to some of Arco Colombia's most prominent curatorial themes.
Oscar Murillo. Courtesy: Arco Colombia 2015
#SoloShow #Geopolitics #ColombiaEnMadrid
De marcha ¿una rumba? No, solo un desfile con ética y estética, February 24–March 20 at the cultural center Daoíz y Velarde, Ave. Ciudad de Barcelnoa 162
Oscar Murillo is a key name in the Latin American art world and a leader of the artistic vanguard, both in Colombia and abroad. Currently based in London and represented by David Zwirner, Murillo’s work deals extensively with contextualizing globalization and exploring notions of migration, multiculturalism, identity, and sociocultural differences that are rooted in concept and the artist’s own life experiences.
An initiative of the Embassy of Colombia, De marcha ¿una rumba? grapples with the artist’s own cultural ties in a multimedia exhibition that seeks to chart a meeting point between different geopolitical and cultural situations, including #ArcoColombia itself. The artist’s birthplace of La Paila, Colombia, the fair’s host city of Madrid, and even the site of the actual exhibition are all incorporated in a personally driven effort to find an intersection between European urban space and the Colombian countryside.
Camilo Lleras, Triángulo prohibido (Forbidden Triangle), 1972, Courtesy: Arco Colombia 2015
#PrivateCollection #Conceptual #Photography #FocusColombia
Autorretrato disfrazado de artista: Arte conceptual y Fotografía en Colombia en los años 70, (Self-portrait disguised as artist: Conceptual art and Photography in Colombia in the 1970s), curated by Santiago Rueda at the Instituto Cervantes
According to curator Santiago Rueda, Photoconceptualism—or Conceptual Photography as it’s more commonly known—was short lived in Colombia and comprised mostly of a small group of artists. Now, drawing from the private collection of respected Colombian art collector José Darío Guitiérrez, Rueda attempts for the first time to map the photographic movement’s main practitioners in a meditative and critical exploration of 1970s Colombian photography.
The exhibition spans themes of popular architecture, landscape, sexual politics, and abstraction and comprises works by 11 artists: Camilo Lleras, Jaime Ardila, Jorge Ortiz, Eduardo Hernández, Óscar Monsalve, Álvaro Barrios, Miguel Ángel Rojas, Fernell Franco, Antonio Inginio Caro, Manolo Vellojín y Bernardo Salcedo.
Cecilia Arango, Canasto tejido por la communidad Guacamaya (Basket woven by Macaw Community), 2014. Courtesy: Arco Colombia 2015
#GroupShow #Nature #Multimedia #FocusColombia
Tejedores de agua: El río en la cultura visual y material contemporánea en Colombia (Waterweavers), curated by José Roca, Associate Curator of Latin American Art Estrellita B. Brodsky at Tate Modern and artistic director of FLORA ars + natura, with the assistance of the curator and editor Alejandro Martin, February 25–April 12, 2015 at Conde Duque.
Though the conflicts of Colombians today are increasingly defined by political upheaval, social struggles, and rapid migration into the nation’s major—and distinctly mountainous—cities, Tejedores de Agua investigates the force of culture inherent in the multitude of Colombia’s rivers. The exhibition takes as its subject a total of seven rivers, ranging geographically from the first streams of the Amazon to the expansive floodplains of the Magdalena that empty into the Caribbean.
The collective effort of 18 artists identifies the growing rift between Colombia’s heavily populated urban centers and its largely isolated villages and tribes, linked only by the rivers, which have remained fraught with violence for decades from black market activity and clashes between guerilla militias. Employing materials and craft both traditional and contemporary, fiber arts, video installation, and objet trouvés weave together to form a wholly immersive exhibition that’s dredged the historically and socially rich sediments of the rivers and assembled them as a distressed delta.
María José Arjona. Courtesy: Arco Colombia 2015
#Performance #Meditative #Time #ColombiaEnMadrid
Time—the passing and the loss of it—is difficult to see, measure, concretize. While fleeting, rarely does it leave a physical trace of its construction. On the occasion of her performance at Caiza Forum Madrid for ARCO2015, Maria Jose Arjona—perhaps one of the most recognized Colombian performance artists who has, notably, worked with Marina Abramovic—will perform Construction of a Time, a variation of Act of Fable, which showed for the first time under the Proyecto Pentágono in 2001.
Arjona’s performance evokes the creation of Tibetan sand mandalas. A meditative, repetitive action performance that consists of the artist scooping up, transferring and depositing sand with her hands, moving the material from one filled place to an empty place. In the process of relocating the sand, grains are inevitably lost between her fingers to form a film on the ground, forcing not only the protagonist, but also the spectators, to confront the materialization of time lost.
Courtesy: Arco Colombia 2015
#Conference #Archive #Colonialism #FocusColombia
Presented in tandem with the exhibition Naturaleza Nominal (Nominal Nature) curated by Jaime Cerón, the lecture-performance ¿Pero esto es arte? by Milena Bonilla and Luisa Ungar, proposes what they refer to as “a visual exploration of archival materials pertaining to the development of European colonial fairs.” The conference attempts to review notions of development linked to colonial exploitation as a means to uncover the process by which cultural representation and visual vocabulary is subverted by instances of power and the construction of historic, social, and political realities in Colombia.
At the intersections of multimedia artist Milena Bonilla’s artistic practice are discursive questions that link economy, territories, and politics with daily life. Similarly, Luisa Ungar investigates through her work the construction and institutionalization of social and cultural norms and seeks to reconnect archival or academic material back to their everyday popular use.
(Image at top: Olga de Amaral, Umbral 21 (río), 2000. Photo: Diego Amaral Ceballos. Exhibited in Tejedores de agua: El río en la cultura visual y material contemporánea en Colombia, Courtesy Arco Colombia)
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