In a game between fragility and strength, Ana María Velásquez's installations and sculptures are built from the meticulous collection and classification of industrial waste for everyday use: milk bags, plastic elements, industrial packaging and simple hardware items such as guide and cables: nuts and bolts. She uses ordinary invoice paper, waste from the accounting of everyday consumption, as an element to build tenuous mobiles. These diverse pieces are rearranged and assembled to simulate ghostly urban landscapes of The Big Apple, or to recreate flocks of buzzards, amazing creatures that inhabit impoverished urban landscapes, where waste and dead animals intermingle and accumulate in the streets.
The series Viajeros de Papel (2010) and Memorias Contables (2014) take the concepts of spending, consumption and domestic economy to the limit of the classification activity. The invoices support a work that speaks of the paroxysm of the consumer society where the main experience is cyclical: buy, consume and repeat; activity framed between satiety and desire. Her paper constructions allude to illusion, the ephemeral and the fleeting.
With environmentally heavy waste of diverse synthetic nature, Velásquez builds her 'Bandada' (2020-2022) composed of 'individuals' or life-size specimens in various postures, scientifically accurate models of the most characteristic bird of southern cities. Her work is built in loops where contamination, the abject and desire intertwine like the spokes of a wheel that spins endlessly. The buzzard represents the worst, that is, the dirt that endangers the symbolic order of classifications; It represents the impure, the reprehensible, the non-symbolizable.
Bandada demonstrates the investigative capacity of Velásquez. The accuracy of the 'individuals' of it is based on precise knowledge of animal anatomy where the structure, shape and size of birds of prey. In his work, the buzzards or 'chulos' are the mirror of a social system that is corrupted internally. 'Gallinazo' is a popular adjective to designate a dark heartthrob who does not stop at what is decomposed. He is an archetypal figure in the construction of masculine identity. The 'gallinazo' also appears related to certain moments of the Colombian historical period known as 'La Violencia', during which it was common to locate the dead in the countryside by viewing flocks of birds of prey.
The artist began by collecting all the purchase invoices that were issued to her on a trip to New York, with them, she recreated an imagined and desired city in which every moment has its price. And then she started receiving waste plastic from neighbors and friends. In summary; Ecology, economics and anatomy are the key to a work in which the extreme classification is a comment on a time of extremes. Her diverse work establishes a dialogue between a world on the brink of disaster and the social constructions that drive it, in the life-death oscillation.
In her words, “I look for beauty in the everyday, in the disposable, in giving value to that which is thrown away and despised. She developed habits of cleaning, order and storage that allow giving a second life to materials that would otherwise end up in landfills, rivers or seas. I seek to make the ordinary something extraordinary.”