ArtBo + 43SNA: Material Focus

Interesting uses of media across a variety of works at the Colombian art fairs

While our first look at the works found among Colombia’s ArtBo and 43SNA art fairs explored the underlying focus on a collective humanity among South American artists and galleries, our next look studies some of the interesting uses of material. From a motorcycle sound installation to a guileful zoetrope, the works below are a few of the standouts from many cleverly executed, material-focused pieces found around the fairs in Bogotá and Medellín.


Rafael Gómezbarros: Diálogo de Sordos (2013)

In a work entitled “Diálogo de Sordos”—which translates from Spanish to “Death of Dialog” (or more commonly, “conversation killer”)—Bogotá-based artist Rafael Gómezbarros pins two motorbikes against each other, each with working motors. The sculpture-like piece serves as both a functional sound installation and a reminder of Colombia’s violent past, in which motorcycle assassins were often found riding the streets, disrupting the flow of daily life. On view as part of 43SNA at Museo de Antioquia.

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Marcelo Mejía Gaviria

Colombian artist Marcelo Mejía Gaviria combines his background in architecture with his focus on photography by creating scenes using plastic figurines and placing the resulting image at the end of a keychain viewfinder. Together they not only form an intriguing narrative, but they also appear as a study on color and gradation, with the viewfinder’s plastic hue affecting the lightness or darkness of the secret tableau. The work is part of the private collection of Bogotá local Alejandro Castaño.


Pedro Tyler

Uruguay’s Pedro Tyler uses common objects to express personal analyses of his emotions and, for him, rulers represent the feelings that cannot be truly measured. His works incorporate rulers of different sizes and materials, which are formed into different shapes. Typically the artist leaves the contours to speak for themselves, but this work is stamped with “Entre las aguas y el viento me pierdo”—which roughly translates to, “between the waters and the wind I lose myself.” On view as part of the private collection of Bogotá local Alejandro Castaño.

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Nicolás Gómez Echeverri: Accumulations (2012-2013)

Using rulers in a different way is young Colombian artist Nicolás Gómez Echeverri. The Goldsmiths grad uses the measuring devices, along with extensively layered globs of paint representing topographical landscapes, to more simply demonstrate the complex relationship between political and economical power and land accumulation. On view as part of the private collection of Bogotá local Alejandro Castaño.

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Carlos Uribe: Manantial (2013)

A practiced historian currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Seville, artist Carlos Uribe centers his work around Latin American studies and Colombian culture. In “Manantial” (which translates to “natural spring” in English), Uribe uses the national alcoholic drink, Aguardiente (known for its high potency), to arguably make a statement about the perils of addiction leading to cultural contamination; in the same way the walls covered in the alcohol began to deteriorate, a culture dominated by it begins to break down. On view as part of the 43SNA at the Edificio Antioquia.

Fernando Pareja and Leidy Chávez: Oppressors Oppressed (2013)

In “Oppressors Oppressed“—a work that requires a steady heartbeat and unflinching vision—Colombian artists Fernando Pareja and Leidy Chávez recreate the intensity and drama of men at war. The mind-bending animated installation relies on strobe lights, beeswax figurines and a zoetrope to create a captivating optical effect. On view at the Edificio Antioquia as part of the 43SNA.

Images by Karen Day, video (and its still) courtesy of the 43SNA