Once More With Feeling takes a piece of Colombia to Rugby

By Culture24 Staff | 02 February 2009
A picture of various passport photo shots of a young man

Juan Pablo Echeverri, Miss fotojapón, 1998 to present. Pic © Juan Pablo Echeverri

Exhibition: Once More With Feeling, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Rugby, until March 8 2009.

The turbulent backdrop of internal violence in Colombia since the 1940s both threatens and invites creative response from artists in the country.

Juan Manuel Echavarría once carried out an autopsy on a mannequin abandoned in a Bogota courtyard as a “metaphor of manipulation” for the massacres in the country. In this show he records musicians displaced by war and persuades two parrots to repeat the words ‘war’ and ‘peace’, highlighting the cyclical nature of conflict.

A picture of torn bus seats

Milena Bonilla, Plano transitorio (Transitory Map), 2002-2004. Pic © Milena Bonilla

Repetition is also a frustration for Juan Pablo Echeverri, who displays his collection of passport photos (taken every day for seven years). Milena Bonilla tried to define the country by asking visitors to draw a map of Colombia and stick it to the wall in a previous project, and here she’s taken a series of photos in which she sews torn seats onto buses passing through Bogota.

A picture of a middle-aged man with a moustache looking into the camera

Juan Manuel Echavarría, Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash). Pic © Juan Manuel Echavarría

María Elvira Escallón’s photo installation of the aftermath of a nightclub bombing is intended to pay tribute to the 36 people killed in the attack.

A black and white picture of three women in dresses walking

Archivo por contacto (Archive By Contact), 2004-2007. © Oscar Muñoz in collaboration with Mauricio Prieto

María Isabel Rueda also photographs Goths in Colombia, apparently “united in silent resistance to what is considered normal Colombian lifestyle”, and Oscar Munoz takes street photographs in the city of Cali during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but continues the theme of elusive definition with a video, Re/trato, in which the water he tries to draw a self-portrait on a hot pavement with repeatedly evaporates.

A black and white picture of a young woman in black, goth-style clothing

María Isabel Rueda, Vampiros en la Sabana (Vampires in the Savannah), 2003. Pic© María Isabel Rueda

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