May 29 to July 5 2014
Next Thursday May 29, Galería El Museo will open three exhibitions simultaneously: Al tablero (Going up to the Board) by Carlos Salazar Arenas (Bogotá, 1973), will be shown in the First Floor Gallery; in the Second Floor Gallery, we will be exhibiting Mecanicamente (Mechanically), by young artist Manuel Calderón (Bogotá, 1985); and Entre Aires (In the Air), Adrian Gaitán’s most recent work (Cali, 1983), will be shown in the Project Room. Mecánicamente (Mechanically) [Manuel Calderón] The series Mechanically, by Manuel Calderón, is found in the Second Floor Gallery, which interprets a mutant paradox where geometrical shapes are the protagonists of the majority of the pieces making up the exhibit. The artist, Manuel Calderón, decides to test the limits of the forms he uses based on a line that configures and outlines these limits, both abstractly and physically. A square that is repeated in a certain manner through optical tricks expands the space and therefore suppresses finite time. The image is submitted to the manipulations of its creator, it goes from the analog to the digital and vice versa, and it experiences a mutation in those comings and goings. This juxtaposition provides consistency to the image. In this experiment it is vital to comprehend the impermanence of the image going from one format to the other; the image loses something that cannot be recovered, the traces of the “cut” of what has been edited. The immeasurable dimension of the digital complicates the understanding of the material, and in turn, the material intends to give account of the results of the digital process. And it is precisely among the game of these dynamics that the work of this artist is created. In December of 2012, Calderón received the EFG Bank and Art Nexus award, which is considered to be one of the most important acknowledgments for emerging Latin American artists.
Manuel Calderón – Bogotá 1985
What if the atlas (as a non-linear and rather chaotic form of a assembly) was only the – unknown and calculated – result of our more intimate movements? Of our driving, conceptual, visual, body, sentimental or political drifts? Of our especially reordered autobiographies, encompassed by the movements of our body?
[Georges Didi Huberman. Atlas: How to carry the world on one’s back?]
Memory as a place, as a building, as a series of columns, cornices, porticoes. The body inside the mind, as if we were moving around in there, going from one place to the next.
[Paul Auster. The invention of solitude]
Representing oneself, one’s figure made as an image. The suppression of the self-portrait. The shapes and the gesture. The body as a tool for action and thought. Letting be through the execution of repeated actions. Going up and down the stairs. Going around in circles through the same territory over and over again. The inactivity of limits. Time and the individual, facing each other in the space built by the artist. A fight against existence. Strategies to undo the idea of time. A dilated time. The reproduced image. The exercise of seeing and lingering. Drawing and drawing.
These are some of the premises resonating in the mind of Manuel Calderón as simultaneous voices that are present while he executes his creative processes. Reworkings made possible through the stroke and that line of ink that configures the spaces and times where the artist is immersed to disrupt the perception of reality. The sketch is the language with which he builds images where his ideas take shape. His methodologies are – necessarily – connected to each other to the rhythm of a machine that works in crescendo.
Mecánicamente [Mechanically] transforms the sketch into an installational event. The artist deploys his dissertations on a digital and manual level over time and space. There is a confrontation of languages that is typical of Calderón’s projects in this exhibit, represented by the mise-en-scène of his work as a “total image” embodying a core concept in different formats and supports. His assembly could simulate a video game without beginning or end, the destructuring of a virtual space or even a real-scale mockup of this video game under construction. Manuel Calderón has understood “the mechanical” as a process that goes beyond the reproduction of shapes and actions; he conceives it as a metaphorical event with the presence of reflection, its materializations overflow the simple fact of the automatic.
“The image production process in digital format is very similar to the process of developing analog images. It is done in different supports, but in both cases I am asking myself the same questions. It is an exercise in doing and undoing. Copying, cutting and pasting. It is a technique that replicates itself, a metaphor of the mechanic. Repetition as a disturbing act that slows down learned meanings”.
In that sense, his assembly proposal does not contain a linear narrative; it is more convenient to even talk about a kind of “disassembly” where the circularity of time supports the projection of anachronisms. Essential elements of the visual language are disrupted in this apparently naïve act of copying and pasting noted by the artist. The exhibit brings up more questions than answers in this field and demands a certain willingness for contemplation and a sharpening of perception from the spectator. The challenge lies in staying in front of the image to appreciate the senselessness of the same. Manuel Calderón is not signifying through figures and creations; he is placing us in front of a vibrant pause and also confronting us (and intimidating us) with a loop that is trying to tell us something about existence itself and its everyday schemes.
“My work with video does not have a narrative. They are moving, animated, drawings. The spectator observes, and ideally, the spectator should stay there and not wait for something to literally happen. Of course there is a moment where he decides if he should stay or not, even when he is already aware that nothing will happen; however, something is obviously happening. This is about observing, something as simple and complex as that”.
Mecánicamente Mecánicamente appears as a paradox, geometrical shapes constitute the majority of the pieces making up the exhibit. The artist decides to test the limits based on a line that configures and outlines these limits, both abstractly and physically. A square that is repeated in a certain manner through optical tricks expands the space and therefore suppresses finite time. The image is submitted to the manipulations of its creator, it goes from the analog to the digital and vice versa, and it experiences a mutation in those comings and goings. This juxtaposition provides consistency to the image. In this experiment, what is visually and materially undone when the image goes from one format to another is final; the image starts losing something that cannot be recovered, the traces of the “cut”, of what has been edited. The extension that enables the digital makes the understanding of the material more difficult, and in turn, the material intends to account for the results of the digital process; the ideas that the artist has brought into play operate within this dynamic.
“There is a halo of visual saturation within the assembly of the exhibit. It is a risk I decided to take. The image takes on the space; it is invasive precisely due to the ideas in the background. The idea of repetition, reproduction and seriality, and also of juxtaposition. The image that is exposed and contained at the same time. What leaves the frame and what remains inside”.