By Renata Domitran
|Jaime Avila Ferrer, Talento Pirata, 2013. |
Courtesy of the artist.
Colomborama is a large exhibition project bringing the Colombian contemporary art scene to Oslo by showing in different exhibiting spaces and venues around the city. Its primary exhibition Bogotápolis, is held from 28 February until 5 May. Bogotápolis presents the work of eleven contemporary Colombian artists whose work relates to the Colombian capital Bogotá and its socio-political issues concerning violence, narcotics, crime, globalisation and marginalisation. The artists come from different walks of life and the versatility of their backgrounds serve as a platform for their approach in dealing with everyday realities in Bogotá.
Upon entering the exhibition space, Talento Pirata (2013) by Jaime Avila Ferrer (1968) is the first work to confront viewers. It is a large installation piece consisting of 4,000 CD covers spread over 80m2, constructed as groupings of puzzles on the floor and surrounding walls. Each puzzle set creates a large photo of life in Bogotá, reflecting on their day-to-day issues of piracy and problems with the active illegal industry of selling music and films. These enlarged images encased in CD covers, bring the reality of illegal actions into a neutral exhibition space, allowing for a new kind of dialogue. Spectators walk between photo CD puzzles as though they are real buyers on the streets of Bogotá, aiming towards an illegal purchase.
|Carlos Castro, Empire, 2011. Courtesy of the artist.|
Carlos Castro (1974) refers to socio-cultural issues of Bogotá's history in his work Empire (2011). This work alludes to the founders of Rome - Romulus and Remus, and instead of a wolf, Castro uses a stuffed stray dog from the streets of Bogotá. The work draws ironic parallels of cultural identities, recognition, and its real meanings in society today. Similar connotations are visible in Traspie (Stumble) (2007), Castro's appropriation of Robert Gober's work Untitled (Leg). Castro re-contextualises Gober's work by dressing up the leg in labels such as Nike and Adidas, making a statement about the growing industry of forgery.
|Carlos Castro, Traspie (Stumble), 2007. Courtesy of the artist.|
|Edwin Sanchez, Knife Lessons, 2007. |
Courtesy of the artist.
|Wilson Diaz, Laboratorio de Coca, 201. Courtesy of the artist.|
The rest of the artists presented in Bogotápolis are Maria Isabel Rueda (1972), Elkin Calderón (1975), Carlos Bonil (1979), Miguel Kuan (1980), Edinson Quiñones (1982), José Alejandro Restrepo (1959) and Andrés Felipe Uribe (1982).
Bogotápolis is a story divided into eleven individual experiences of everyday life in Bogotá. It shows an illusion-less actuality of people’s lives. However, it is also filled with a good dose of humour, irony and fantasy, qualities necessary for survival in disadvantaged circumstances. On a very personal level, Bogotápolis generates contradictory emotions in the viewer. The relationship between human actions versus existential challenges makes it difficult to judge. This exhibition is foremost about survival, with an undertone of consequential actions in political, social and cultural realities. It reflects on personal experiences of the darker sides of living.
· BOGOTAPLOLIS, STENERSENMUSEET. Oslo. 28 February – 5 May 2013