“La imposibilidad del paisaje”


2nd Floor Gallery
November 5 – 28, 2015

At some point during the prehistory, the globe was covered by a thick layer of smoke and ash. Evolutionary theory says that an external agent, one that came from outside of this world, turned the blue planet into what we know today, leaving behind beasts of enormous size and a different vegetation comprised of giant ferns, which, just like those colossal animals, over time became deposits of fossil fuels that have been feeding the progress of humanity for more than a century toward an unknown place.

To achieve its extraction, the industry and technology surrounding petroleum – a word that comes from the Greek “rock oil”, as this dark substance with exceptional properties that is lighter than water has been called – has reached unusual limits. Explorations in the jungles, deserts, and all sorts of land and marine geographies give way to systematic exploitations which, under the global economic model, provide sustainability to a scale that is extremely sensitive to the changes and trends of contemporary markets.

Just like the market, the landscape is a human construction. Whether symbolically or artificially, we are taming the globe to see it and contemplate it as our domain, as the stage of life of men. However, the great paradox inscribed in the advancement of this dynamic is the impossibility of a landscape that refuses to be what is expected from it, proving time and again that it is its own man, that landscape is not even its name and that we, the human race, are just one of the many creatures who live in it, a reality we refuse to understand.

This exhibition displays a metaphor of opposites. Water and oil meet, not to mix, bur rather with the intention to remember that they cannot and should not merge. Oilrigs are prey to assault from parts of the landscape. Giant icebergs made of water, frozen just when that meteorite changed the planet, leave the pole to go hunting for monumental buildings that seem frames of paper in their way. Collisions with catastrophic events that bring together irreconcilable times. A thin black layer, this time from the sap of the earth, which is the very substance of those beings from another time, masters of the globe for a long time, spills over the deep blue ocean. Life in suspense, the impossibility of the landscape manifests in full force. This is where Edwin Monsalve expresses his concerns and projects his research. The formula has been reversed in this operation: this work lets us see how an iceberg can float on a sea of oil.

Oscar Roldán-Alzate
Cultural Education Director, Universidad de Antioquia