There are few exhibitions dedicated to Colombian photographers. There are more rare, if not nonexistent, exhibitions that bring together their works and that allow us to appreciate them as a whole. To begin filling this wide gap noticeable decade after decade in our history, is presented this collection of works by three creators of different origins and trajectories: Patricia Bonilla, Monika Herrán and Laura Vásquez, in a combination of historical artworks, unpublished works and very recent projects.
Bonilla’s El Colombia color (1979-1985) is an acid and humoristic review of the Colombian women stereotypes. This series, participant in the Sao Paulo Biennial (1983) among other avant-garde events in that period, is an anticipated deconstruction of the roles assigned to women in our culture, from the self-portrait. El Colombia color had not been exhibited in three decades until now, forthwith shows a remarkable and surprising present: a dreamlike journey, occasionally caustic, but essentially warm by popular culture. In her roles as a virgin, hippie, widow, prostitute or heroine, or even dressed up as a man, selling raspaos, Bonilla anticipated the critical interpretation of gender roles in Colombian art, being without a doubt a pioneer, as she was in photographic experimentation, combining procedures and visual sources.
Herrán, founder in that same decade of the first women photographers collective in Cali, El Frente fotográfico, with Karen Lamassonne, Mercedes Sebastián, Beatriz Torres and Silvia Patiño. She presents black and white works where experimentation prevails: Entes de tamaño real ( 2000) the chiaroscuro reflects the uncertainty of a city obscured by violence. Again, as with Bonilla, we find solitary characters. The climate of humidity and luminosity, of physical slumber and mental urgency, which are emblematic of artists from that city such as Fernell Franco, Oscar Muñoz and Ever Astudillo—who were also into in the urban presence, solitary, as a metaphysical evocation—are evident in these in black and white works, which evoke spellings and traces.
Finally, Los días y los vecinos que no sabía que tenía (2020) by Laura Vásquez, are a methodical inquiry about the confinement during the pandemic crisis we are currently living. Vásquez is also drawn, as Bonilla and Herrán, on to the solitary human presence, to the individual portrait in vigil, to communicate to us deeply, the longing and uncertain spirit of the times we live in. Unlike her predecessors, Vásquez uses the two-image match, which gives her records an extra dimension. The use of black and white, the methodical inquiry about the visible, and the diligence expressed in the hours of stalking, the shots that follow the game -and the demand- of the decisive moment, the choice of frames and their staging, in an urban scenery used as a platform -from her terrace- they all constitute a subtle tribute to the city, and as in Bonilla and Herrán, to the photographic image, which as its name suggests is to draw with light.
Curator: Santiago Rueda.