October 29, 2020 -
February 6, 2021
La Balsa Arte Bogotá
Miguel Cárdenas, Despertar de los demonios
Panoramic. Awakening of demons, La Balsa Arte Bogotá

This is how Miguel Cárdenas describes the creative process of "Awakening of the demons":

"I took Albrecht Durer's engraving 'The Knight, the Devil, and Death, as an inspiration for this exhibit. His print, a testament to perseverance in the face of adversity and the inevitability of fate, is a vision of the plague that struck Europe in the Middle Ages. My mural beginswith the destruction of anancient tree – the environment itself that triggers a plague and the collapse of civilization. Out of chaos rises a resistance, the triumph of science, and the persistence of a counterattack. On the opposite wall these is a futuristic scene where totemic animals inhabit a landscape that renews itself. Mother earth gives birth again while the new generations cross the threshold of the future..."

From these ideas came the proposal to make a mural accompanied by drawings and studies of the process.

Friedrich Nietzsche, in his work, The Birth of Tragedy, ponders Durero's engraving. It represents the pessimism that is born with the Greek culture. For which the universe is made from great forces in interaction and conflict, forces that we neither control nor know. For the philosopher, our notions of the world do not break down the underlying realities of the world, so human destiny is to live a world of illusions while this, in what we believe to be the truth, is controlled by dark realities.

Durero's work speaks of the universal condition of men faced with an uncertain destiny. Its symbolism is re-figured in Cárdenas's work, with the inclusion of some characters of his creation, which are part of his imaginary repertoire. Between the historical appointment and the dream recreation, we find ourselves in front of a visual set that makes a post-rational and post-scientific reading of our time. It tells us not to lose hope because there are vital forces in action; at the same time, there is no certainty in a technological world that works against the natural order.

The new incursion into a mythical, premonitory and evocative world is a confirmation of the state of the world, in which the crisis is the new normal. Far from modern canons, made up of scientific certainties and rational procedures, Cárdenas elaborates a testimony of the times in which we live and the uncertain destiny of men. The frantic nature, the convulsed society, and the threatened political order reflects in the figure of the Devil, an amalgamation of wolf, pig, and goat. What else can we expect?

In The demolishing discourses, lost work to history, Protagoras de Abdera argued that "Of all things the measure is Man, of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not."

Under the influence of Dürer and the ghostly images of the plague, Cárdenas's characters are part of another order, a post-human order that we no longer control, where the forces of reason and chaos interact. Is it fiction? Is it a premonition? We cannot abandon hope. Man is the measure of all things, even the nightmares of the modern world.

Selected images

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Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island and Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University, New York. He has participated in exhibitions nationally and internationally, among the most prominent are: Museo de Arte de Pereira (2011), Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena (2013), EACHEVE, Guayaqui, Ecuador (2021) and different galleries in New York, Colombia and Mexico.

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