August 6, 2016 -
October 8, 2016
La Balsa Arte Bogotá
Panoramic. Fictions, La Balsa Arte Bogotá
The Scientific Illustrator’s Cabinet
For many artists, writers, scientists and thinkers having an assortment of objects at the workplace that are laden with meaning, is a fountain of inspiration and introspection. In May 1938, Edmund Engelman meticulously logged Sigmund Freud’s office, study and rooms, in his house on 19, Berggasse Street in Vienna. Today, art historians carefully analyze the images of Freud’s antiques and archaeological pieces, in search of the relationship between psychoanalysis and archaeology.
Similarly, in André Breton’s (father of Surrealism) collection of works of modern art, Oceanic art, popular art and books, lesser pieces and objects acquired at flea-markets or garage sales, or at auctions or simply objects found along a walk are included. His interest in psychoanalysis launched Surrealism towards the constant exploration of linkages between poetry, literature and life, as well as a taste for fortuity, and the association of divergent elements in search of new meanings.
For his part, Le Corbusier cherished his “objets à réaction poètique” (objects of poetic reaction), components found haphazardly that suggest complex structures, like shells, snails and double curvature bones, helical forms, pieces of wood, industrial fragments, in brief, things – natural and rational – associated with a creative and energetic potential.
Some artists like Juan Osorno perform as ‘new encyclopedists’. As per John Wilkins, Osorno is interested in “Theology, cryptography, music, building transparent beehives, the trajectory of a visible planet, the possibility of travel to the moon, the possibility and principles of a world language”.3 In the universal language that is art, the drawings are supplemented with annotations such as numerals, sections, dates, etc., as if beyond an aesthetic expression of scientific illustrations, of the inquiry about what is altered and anomalous.
Included in the exhibit is a “Scientific Illustration Cabinet”, whose objective is to put the visitor in contact with some inspiring elements - not the scientist but the artist – involved in the production of a world inhabited by fictitious beings and events. These are classified in four categories: Naturalia, (typically subdivided into Animalia, Vegetalia and Mineralia), Scientifica (drawing and measuring tools) and Culturalia (antiques, works of art). Memento Mori are included in this last category, these are death commemorative pieces associated to the ascetic disciplines and to contemplation.
Juan Osorno’s interest in objects mainly gravitates around those belonging to his craft: pencils, and drawing and measuring tools. Debris is of particular importance, whether minuscule pencil stubs, or graphite powder. However, it also includes an image that’s been found, the studio photograph, the various stones, the books (on anatomy, on literature, etc.). Additionally, in this exhibit we have a plethora of elements that, given the absence of a real narwhal tooth, ‘converse’ with Osorno’s pencils, his books and his drawings: the four-eyed woman by artist Hervé di Rosa, a domino set made of bones, the drawing feathers made of silver and ivory.
The scientific illustrator’s cabinet is constituted by ordinary elements, recurrent or peculiar, whose purpose is to weave stories, Fictions, objects with significance that interact with the viewer, and with each other to fabricate new constellations, transitional beings and diverse anatomies; to speculate about other worlds, other lives, other horizons.
Ana Patricia Gomez
Bogota, 08.03.2016

Selected images

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Master in Fine Arts from the University of Antioquia. Winner of CIFO 2017 Grants & Commissions Program, Miami, Florida. Also, his work has participated in different exhibitions, among the most outstanding are: Museo el Castillo, Medellín, Colombia (2013), Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (2013), Art Paris, Art Fair (2019), in addition to participating in various exhibitions in art galleries.

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