We are experiencing simultaneous storms on many fronts: the epidemic environmental crisis, the economic crisis, the political and social crisis. In culture the crisis of meaning, values and ways of life is manifest. The crisis of the arts is added, produced by the distancing from the public, by the virtual turn and by the vaporous status that the work of art takes when it is reduced to an image on a screen. These considerations lead us to propose four artists whose work responds conceptually to the moment of change. Works that make us think, from different formal and theoretical approaches, the current world.
Julián Burgos. Colombia.1976
Colombian-french artist, of European education in arts, he’s off the common paths of Colombian art. Back in Colombia, in the last three years has produced a work that, based on his enormous interest in French baroque art, has managed to combine the profusion of moving images with the symbolic keys of Latin American pop culture. Burgos represents, for the excellence of his craft, the “master artist”, at the same time that he transcends any inscription of a school or trend type.
Ramón Laserna. Colombia. 1976
With an industrial design background, Ramón Laserna has ventured into art from the perspective of minimalism. His current work focuses on drawings reduced to the purest and most economic expression. His immaculate labor of instrumental drawing is generated by invisible codes and algorithms that impose rules of obligatory compliance. Everything, or almost everything, is planned. His work breathes great pureness and delicacy, as a counterweight to the surrounding chaos; his questions about the fortuitous possibilities of chance/control, are inserted in Process Philosophy as theoretical support. Ultimately, art wins; it is not argued discursively, his work “is”, in the sense that it totally represents the act of coming into being as process, using sets of mathematical instructions that become the generative stratus of the works. Although Laserna was initially inspired by movements such as Op-Art and kinetic art, his work comes close to the surrealists and to Raymond Russell, the French writer who wrote his novels according to formal restrictions based on the play of works and chance.
Laserna approaches his furniture design practice and architectural interventions with equal rigor and preciseness.
Radenko Milak. Bosnia & Herzegovina.1980
Radenko Milak’s painting work centers on questions relating to how visual elements are fixed and stored both in personal memories and as presented in the media of film and photography. Indeed, his practice as an artist has always been heavily influenced by the idea that our relationship to the world and its history is largely determined by the uninterrupted and continuous flow of images that documents the world. His very singular technique using black ink watercolor on a white surface allows him to reach the very essence of an image and to use an aesthetic language that is profoundly unique. Finding his material in print media such as photojournalism, old newspapers, and postcards and on the Internet as well, Radenko Milak creates his watercolors and oil paintings by using a black pigment on a white surface as a tool to transform templates from films, reports or press images and other propaganda archives into small intimate artistic scenarios. The results of his research become the materials that he manipulates through a process of appropriation and transformation.
Andrés Felipe Orjuela. Colombia.1985
Colombian, living in Mexico. Orjuela seeks to manifest in his works the relation between death and society, culture and popular culture, comics and police reports, as powerful imaginaries in cultured art. His conceptual framework is located in the cross between Eros and Thanatos (the death impulse), a theme that has been part of a repertoire of universal art since forever. The triad of sexuality, erotism and love, has a profound link in contemporary culture and notably in the Latin American culture. Orjuela locates his works in the passion-violence-death loop, always asking the same question. Where does such a pagan taste for violence come from? Sabine Spielrein was the first to point out the death drive in 1912, in her text ‘Destruction as the cause of becoming’, before Sigmund Freud did. The dichotomies between violence and culture, between ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultures, dissolve in Orjuela’s work, thereby producing a reflection of contemporaneity, propelling us towards feelings of laughter and horror.
As different authors confirm, the truths in the arts are not verifiable, so we always look at a foggy, temporal and variable panorama. Art does not tell us truths, it only reminds us of the need, expressed by Rilke, to reach the maximum consciousness of our existence, which oscillates between creation and destruction. That’s what art serves us for; to give us strength and move on. Resisting is everything.
Ana Patricia Gómez - Director