Posts Tagged ‘Doris Salcedo’

Well, I have been away from Bogota for a while due to traveling, work etc… but since I am back and we are in the full throws of ArtBo 2009 I thought it would be interesting (and a bit of fun!) to do a quick analysis of which Colombian artists are being searched for on the web WORLDWIDE.°

I decided to include some rules!

1. The artist must be alive and kicking!

2. The artist obviously must be Colombian (though I made a couple of exceptions.*)

3. The artist must predominately live and work in Colombia.

(again I may have been lenient in one or two cases given that I do not have all the facts).

Also, all results were confirmed, excluding possible name misinterpretations by the search engine, by confirming that of the first 10 results on the first returned Google search page – AT LEAST ONE of the websites  (10%) had to relate directly or belong to the artist in question and not just a namesake. Some of the artists actually occupied ALL of the 10 results!

So, for all you fuddy-duddies that say “What about so and so . . . they should be in the list!” well, based on the above reason I have left out of contention artists such as Fernando Botero, Carlos Jacanamijoy, and Omar Rayo – all three being well known Colombians artists who have predominantly lived and worked outside of Colombia.

So here is the list of the TOP 21 MOST SEARCHED FOR Colombian artists  – according to Google keyword tool which bases its results on monthly averages over the last twelve months:

 List of Top 21 Colombian Artists

To a large extent many of the names could have been predicted since the art scene in Colombia is still taking baby-steps with respect to other Latin countries such as Argentina or Venezuela – and as such most searches relate to the staple diet of names: Beatriz González, Maripaz Jaramillo etc etc.

What did surprise me though was the HUGE difference in the number of people searching for Beatriz González (6,600) and John Castles  (260) who is a close contemporary of the fabled Bumangues artist. Also it was interesting to see artists Jorge Riveros, Miguel de la Espriella and Rafael Penagos in the list as their work is not so commonly reported on in the Colombian press and media (at least as far as I have seen).

However, it is very interesting to note that Doris Salcedo is neck and neck with Beatriz González. Also interesting to note the number of women in the list – about 30%! Not bad I think considering art is often still a male dominated profession.

I would predict that Doris Salcedo will race ahead within the next few years if her career continues as well as it has. And who knows, maybe some of the “dark horses” at the bottom of the pack will race up the list too. Or perhaps some colombian artists we haven´t considered now presenting at ArtBo 2009 will make the grade!

° I had to use worldwide data as local search volumes in Colombia were just too low for most of the artists. This most probably does add in a factor that distorts the results if there are several people with the same name being searched for – but is the best data that is available.

* It should be obvious that I made an exception with Armando Villegas who is Peruvian but who has lived and worked in Bogota for pretty much the whole of his career as has Jim Amaral who is from the USA.

A number of other well known artists were also searched for but the search volumes were either way too low or they did not result in a first page result. If you think there should be other artists in this list please leave a comment – maybe it will be worthwhile repeating the excercise in a years time!


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So here we are. It is 2007 and we are at the PINNACLE of conceptual art.

Doris Salcedo has just created a hole in the Tate Modern in London in the shape of an earthquake crack on its floor and people are staring into it. It is rumoured that Saatchi is thinking of buying the hole but he is not sure where to put it: on the floor at his warehouse, or perhaps have it installed on one of his mansion walls. What to do, …!

Yes – there you have it. Conceptual art has bared its all and what we find is Doris Salcedo – naked on the floor of the Tate Musuem – shivering shibboleth.

Shiboleth - Doris Salcedo - Tate Modern If Doris had really wanted to make a statement about the world she should have taken the money the Tate gave her and donated it to an appropriate charity and left the floor as it was – Now that WOULD have been conceptual art at its best!!!!

All we are seeing here is the limited knowledge of the artist as to how the world has developed exposed for all to see. This empress has NO clothes and the world has seen her crack – does “art” whether conceptual or not have to be so shameless.

Sure there is inequality in the world – sure there is a lot yet to be done – but creating a useless hole in the ground that can be found in any Bogota street (and I really mean ALL despite Armando Calle) will NOT solve the problem. Nor in my opinion odes it raise awareness – because as I repeat the point of view (and that is all it is) of the artist is not valid at all. As I have said before – and this story proves it – architects are trying to take over the world of art. It is time to fight back.

Read some more on this story at the Times Online .

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Sound simple doesn’t it . . . . even a 5 year old child could answer THAT question.

So why do I ask? Well, you see, I have a “problem” with what some people call “art” in relation to my frame of reference. Let me explain . . . but first let me go back to the beginning.

Today, as I read Portafolio over my morning coffee I noticed that an artist called Pepe Gonzalez was going to exhibit soon at the Quinta Gallery in Bogota. He stated that he believes (and I paraphrase in my translation) that art in not an expression but rather a visual expression of a thought.

Not to be rude but . . . what a load of codswallop – or at the very least a limited way of most probably defending HIS art! Art is much bigger than such a statement.

Art over the last 1000 years has taken a great number of presentations which go from staid representations to full-blown expression of the artist SOUL – yes SOUL !!!!! I believe that an artist can try and express his soul in many of his/her works. Most of those reading here would know of Jackson Pollock and of the various artists that followed in his style . . . even before him there was Picasso – I am convinced that some cubist work can also be described as full expression of the artist being.

Unfortunately, more and more art (as I conceive it) seems to be being drawn into the realms of thought experiments and the architectural aloofness that befits high priests. Damien Hirst is NOT an artist.

Sorry . . . . didn’t hear correctly you murmur. I will repeat: Damien Hirst is NOT an artist.

He is an ARCHITECT. He is a real-life “Bob the Builder” working with playdough and stuff. He himself admits that the staff artists that he hires to paint his art (sorry – ideas) are better then he at doing so – that´s why he hires them of course!

Now . . . . I am also NOT saying that he is NOT talented – he is. But he is a thinker of the architectural school of thought. He DESIGNS pieces for museums. Doris Salcedo is also an art worker of this mode . . . and also a talented woman – but is she an artist?

So, now you understand. Don´t you? I bet Damien does. He KNOWS he´s an architect and WE should know he is an architect because is has made loadsamoney! Only architects make the kind of money he has – building his cathedrals from formaldehyde. His next move will probably be to use kosher cows in his works to attract a new section of market interest!!! Check out Ayn Rand´s book “The Fountainhead” to see where architects are positioned in society . . . quite a bit above artists.

The breach between what art was, whether a representation of expression (as per Pepe), or a real definition of expression captured in an artwork as one would capture an expression of emotion on movie film and what many believe it to be today . . . a representation of a thought – really has a lot of road yet to travel before it can really arrive at an understanding public´s door.

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The Colombian artist Doris Salcedo will be opening her new exhibition – I assume of one very large artwork – in the Tate Modern in London on the 9th of October. And, according to Richard Cork of the Financial Times, she plans to show her anger with Europe!

“I hate the high culture of Europe that’s used as a form of racism. This high culture is now supposed to be threatened by raw immigrants but it was built with labour from – where?” She hits the sofa with both hands. “And where does all this wealth come from?”

My dear Doris – do not be so angry! It takes time to build a country and the UK has been doing so for almost a thousand years and Colombia for only about five hundred (or fifty depending on how you want to look at it!).

Plus, Doris seems to think that the UK was built by immigrant slaves. Now, though it is obvious that the UK has a colonial past, I do not think it right to make statements – artistic or otherwise – that denigrate the results of the contributions of the many immigrants that came to the UK – of their own free will, I must add. Sure they helped build the country – but let´s not overdo it. If you had nowhere to go and had to visit a neighbour wouldn´t you help plough his land and build in exchange for new opportunities.

In any case, I think Doris should not export the anger that she feels surely as a result of the internal problems in her own country that haven´t been solved in 40 years to the UK or anywhere else.

At the White Cube gallery she is showing shoes of the dead and dismembered or mentally attacked victims of the conflict here in Colombia. Does that really get the message across that the only reason that the conflict exists today is because the FARC has no real political agenda and is just protecting its business much as Al Capone did his? I think it is just too much of an artist dwelling on the past – when we should all be living in the present and looking to the future.

But hey, maybe it´s me being cynical.

If yo are in London, go see the new work by Doris Salcedo at the Tate Modern and write back with your comments.

Doris Salcedo in Financial Times Article

PS: Doris – do not worry too much about European wealth – better, ask yourself why Colombia can have two (almost three) USD BILLIONIARES when much of the country is still searching for its daily bread!

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