Here/Now: Current Visions from Colombia | By Framer Framed

HERE/NOW: Current Visions from Colombia features twenty artists presenting contemporary art and photo journalism created in the context of Colombia. The exhibition explores these artists’ responses to the shifting cultural, social and political landscapes of a country scarred by a 60-year long history of armed struggle and includes a selection of powerful photographic images that document it. The exhibition is presented partly at Framer Framed, with a focus on contemporary works, and partly at Beautiful Distress House, where photojournalism plays a more significant role.

The exhibition brings together both established and upcoming artists, revealing how artistic perceptions on the country’s history of political violence have shifted between generations. The artworks on view at Framer Framed, mainly by artists who came of age artistically in the 1980s and early 90s, can be characterized by the use of conceptual and metaphorical languages to speak of the human cost of the Colombian conflict.

These are works that tend to be formally subtle, austere, imbued with a sense of mourning. A highlight is the installation Narcisos by Oscar Muñoz that uses ephemeral materials to relate to memory, loss, and the precarious nature of human life. Muñoz, a recipient of the Prince Claus Award in 2013, is one of the most significant contemporary visual artists in his country and whose work has gained solid international recognition in recent years.

In contrast, the works presented atBeautiful Distress House, primarily by a younger generation of artists who emerged in the local art scene in the last decade, tend to exhibit perspectives that are more critical and cynical in tone and in which humor and irony are meaningful tactics. These works look less at the traumatic effects of political violence and more at the role the media plays in defining the symbolic order that represents the war. The disparities in approaches and languages that rise between the two parts of the exhibition evoke the ungraspable nature of Colombian reality.

The exhibition also introduces the power of documentary photography, grounding the viewing experience with compelling images of the armed struggle. This  additional component of the exhibition, for which Carolina Ponce de León collaborated with non-fiction photographer Stephen Ferry, will consist of the presentation of Violentology, a visual anthology of the armed conflict by Ferry, in addition to photography by other journalists who have captured the Colombian conflict and the aftermath of the peace agreement settled between the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in December 2016. These photographic selections are not meant to present a complete picture; rather, specific visual testaments of that experience.

HERE/NOW speaks of a time and place faced with the paradoxes of social conflict. By mixing the metaphorical languages of art with the more direct stance of documentary photography, the exhibition seeks to bring nuances and complexity to the understanding of the experience of life and art in the context of social conflict. The different visions featured in HERE/NOW confirm the potential that visual culture has in Colombia as a form of resistance and questioning and the crucial role it plays in building a memory of the present.

Participating Artists:
Framer Framed: María José Arjona (1973), Milena Bonilla (1975), Clemencia Echeverri (1950), Stephen Ferry (1960), Laura Huertas (1984), Más Arte Más Acción, Guillermo Moncayo (1979), Oscar Muñoz (1951), Miguel Ángel Rojas (1947), Luis Roldán (1955), Ana María Rueda (1954), Carlos Villalón (1965)

Beautiful Distress House: Andrea Acosta (1981), Fabio Cuttica (1973), La Decanatura, Wilson Díaz (1963), Stephen Ferry (1960), Nadia Granados (1978), Nadège Mazars (1973), Diego Piñeros (1981), Yorely Valero (1992)

 

EXTRA: Here/Now Symposium in the Teijin auditorium of the Stedelijk Museum
Sunday 10 March 2019, 11.00 hrs.
On the occasion of the Here/Now exhibition, a symposium will take place at the Stedelijk Museum, where the reactions of artists on the current social and political climate in Colombia will be central. There will be a specific focus on the social and political changes in the country, achieved in response to the recent peace agreement in 2016 and its subsequent implementation. For the full programme, you can visit: https://www.stedelijk.nl/en/events/symposium-herenow-2

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