Recap: ARTBO2015, Bogota

Contemplative Topographies

Since its inception in 2005, Bogota’s art fair has grown to be one of Latin America’s most eminent art happenings, where attention is drawn to both emerging and established artists from the continent as well as international practitioners. Here is a thematic view of what this year’s ARTBO, held from October 1 – 4th this year had to offer. We can get a better idea through the work of four artists whose focus on the interactions of terrain and its inhabitants, from past to present, allow an introspective reflection on self and the society.

Lima-based Wu Galeria showed Peruvian artist Sandra Nakamura, whose work explores space through collective memory and dispersions thereof. Reminiscent of advent calendars, her time-marked photographs of landscapes are perforated with diamond-shaped holes that open like windows on a white background. Through them, memories seem to escape or, perhaps, they allow the formation of new ones.

At Nueveochenta gallery, Natalia Castaneda’s painting from a series that translates into Wait, I am mooring my shoe, depicted a threatening atmosphere of dark blue clouds hanging over raging waves. In the midst of the turbulent streams lay an optimistic rectangle of pastel diagonals, sinking into the water. The sharp object signified a sudden interruption of everyday routine all while marking a perceptible shift of focus to things that matter.

The greyscale canvases of Ivan Comas presented at Steve Turner Gallery’s booth brought to mind man’s deteriorative impact on urban landscapes. Their rough surfaces of ashen cement and tar reveal scraped off stretches that allude to the ruined walls of Latin America’s metropoles. Coma’s choice of media—unconventional to art but prevailing in construction, hints at the transformational power of industrialisation and in turn reconstruction.

At Henrique Faria Fine Art, the otherworldly images of Venezuelan duo Yeni & Nan fixated on natural cycles—mankind’s and nature’s. In Symbolism of Crystalisation –  Araya, ecological concerns over the fragility of our surroundings transpire through a contortion of the artists’ own bodies, set against the crystallising salt marshes of the Araya region in Venezuela.  A symbiotic situation emerges, where the nude figures blend with nature to become an indivisible entity.

Sandra Nakamura
Untitled 2
2015
Courtesy Wu Gallery

Natalia Castaneda
Espera me amarro el zapato series
2015
Acrylic on Canvas
Courtesy Nueveochenta Gallery

Ivan Comas
Untitled
2015
Tar and aluminium on canvas
Courtesy Steve Turner Gallery

Yeni & Nan
Simbolismo de la cristalizacion
Araya 1984-1986
2013 C-prints from ektachrome slide
Courtesy Henrique Faria Fine Art

Marina Iordan

Marina Iordan is a Dubai based art professional, specialising in art from the Middle East and Arab world.