Cartagena, Colombia, 1945
Lives and works in Cartagena
Alvaro Barrios began drawing in his teenage years and became interested initially in images that are not a part of the Fine Arts repertoire, but are rather related to a more ample visual culture. Since his time in his hometown of Barranquilla, he has expressed a view of modernity that reveals more easily its fictitious qualities. Not even the "great" art from the past, or the present, that make up the dominant tale of Art History, could be experienced directly in Barranquilla, because there aren't any works of Art (with a capital A), in collections or at institutions; which is why these great works seem like interchangeable parts of a far broader visual culture, one that is accessed through books and magazines. In perceiving modernity as a distant image and understanding history as a collection of tales, Barrios' cultural experience could be defined as postmodern. Authors such as Gerardo Mosquera have proposed that the coexistence between heterogeneous models (of historical, economic, and social character) in Latin America have made cultural experiences similar to situations defined as postmodern in the discourses of recent decades.