What Happens Inside
Thoughts about an art exhibition
By Victoria Polo
On Saturday the 12TH of September in Puerto Colombia, Barranquilla, with the Caribbean Sea as its backdrop, the collective exhibition The Center is the Vision of an endless self-wowness took place.
Produced by Popup Artshop, curated by Zulu Padilla and with 27 international and national artists on board, this exhibition had something for everyone. With artworks ranging from various disciplines like Photography, video, paintings, sculpture, installation and drawing, it was possible to appreciate a diverse and eclectic selection of artworks by the following artists:
Lizzy Rose, Matthias Lahme, Julian Chams, Andrea Arrubla, Carlos Maria Romero, James Brittingham, Alva Calymayor, Florencia Escudero, Ryan Morris, Camila Falquez, Kevin Evans, Simon Foxfall, Carlos Jimenez, Maria Elvira Dieppa, Sophie O’Leary, Lucas McGowen, Juan Rodelo, Christopher Murray, Jose Jimenez, Philip Tomaru, Ciel Laliberte, Deb Berman, Andrew Smith, Paul Vance, Michael Sims y Maria Möller.
The conception of this exhibition happened in a very organic way as previous encounters between the artists and the curator influenced its birth. The evolution of the show also happened very sporadically and eventually it took a life of its own acquiring a coastal personality and developing a seductive yet casual energy.
“The power of the image is in its experience, at the end the image is but a symbol of the unreachable and the complexity of reality, there is no truth, no reason, no words or meaning and if there would ever be one, it only applies in the moment or the circumstances where they are created, thought or felt” - Zulu Padilla.
The Center is the Vision of an endless self-wowness, was not focused on the proposition of a single idea that linked every artwork, its intention was rather focused on sharing the experience of the exchange because it is there, in that context, in that sphere where interesting things appear. It was and still is an ongoing process, a starting point to the life of different thoughts and practices.
“My vision is to be a point. A point of color inside a line, this point is the center of a circle full of other colored points that simultaneously are the center of other circles.” – Zulu Padilla
We all look to find meanings in things, we try to define, relate, name and label to be able to comprehend (specially when trying to comprehend art). These searches and ideas converge in a space where they mix, interact and can even disappear. I couldn’t help to relate the vision of the curator Zulu Padilla with the experience that this show offers; the synergy of artists, of the artworks themselves - both intellectually and physically - of ideas, cultures, contexts and everything that happens inside the experience offered, to me became the points and circles that Zulu mentions.
We find a broad variety of techniques, mediums and concepts that range from social issues which are questioned by Carlos Maria Romero and Lizzy Rose, to the humor and irony proposed by Julian Chams to the impossibilities offered by Michael Sims.
Whatever subjective relations one might discover and whatever aesthetic pleasures one might have when looking at a particular piece, I believe it is necessary to have in mind when appreciating an artwork the success in the relationship between its concept, the vision and the material itself. One has to analyze all aspects of the work and how it communicates effectively with the public and the context were it is staged.
Works as the one presented by Colombian artist, Juan Camilo Rodelo is a good example of those that have the successful relationship I talk about. A collage made of black and white photographs superimposed one on top of the other in a chaotic order and with a structured nature, accentuates the contemporary status of the image itself which has acquired a significant influence in our social behaviors as it has developed from existing in just the material world to becoming a reality which is very much adhered to our attitudes and practices. To my perspective, the collage becomes a portrait be that of the artist or the viewer whom is able to attribute his or her own memories and associations. This particular piece fits perfectly with the curator’s vision as everything in this world functions in a circular motion, one thing feeds the other, nothing is linear, there is no thought or artworks for that matter that exist without a previous influence.
Another piece that I believe has a successful relationship is the work of American Artist Lucas McGowen. The artwork is absolutely simple in its formal esthetic but at the same time it has a direct and personal approach, it possesses the ability to get the point across as it can adapt itself to whatever problem, situation or experience we might have. It has an analytical appeal, acting as an adviser, psychologist or a simple voice that takes us closer to self-examination. McGowen uses a simple technique that gives the spectator a sense of familiarity as well as its concept does and thus allowing the formation of a profound connection
Regarding the communication between the artworks and the context were they were placed in this case, the location of the exhibition became a part of itself like a brush or a pencil is to an artist. I could not have imagined it in a better space than where creation is unavoidable, the studio of Colombian Painter Alejandro Obregon and now that of the artist Maria Elvira Dieppa. The curatorial aspect of this exhibition is very interesting, as it has accomplished an effective communication between various artworks and the context where they were placed. Some of the pieces that in my opinion acquired this “good communication” with their surroundings were those of Florencia Escudero, Julian Chams and Philip Tomaru.
I feel a duty to highlight and applaud the work that Popup Artshop is doing within the cultural and artistic scope in Barranquilla, Colombia, it is important to support this type of behavior and practices so that more exchanges can occur and I am sure this exhibition will give life to many more. What happens inside art exhibitions is one of the reasons why so I am passionate about art, because of what can happen within its context, it allows us to grasp different visions, analogies and connections that could create and produce transcendental changes in the life and practice of the people participating, that is why I truly believe these types of experiences are necessary to think, evolve, but above all to create.