Art whispers: This month’s Bogotá Gallery Round-Up

By Sanoja Bhaumik February 21, 2020

From commentary on the art market to perspectives on the paro, there’s plenty of art to see in the city.

Bogotá Galleries: These vast beaches will feature in Andrés Bermúdez's first solo show at Galería Beta.
These vast beaches will feature in Andrés Bermúdez’s first solo show at Galería Beta. Photo: Galería Beta.

On the second floor of a brutalist exhibition space in La Candelaría, viewers enter a small art market. Abstract works dot the space: two pipes in the form of a swastika, pieces of clay piled on pedestals, a looped video displaying workers on a mountain. Mercado libre, an intervention in Espacio Odeón, plays with the viewer’s expectations of an art market and the monetary exchanges that take place in the world of high art. 

Mercado libre is part of a six-week-long exhibition, Que no cunda el pánico (¿hay otras maneras?) or Don’t spread the panic (are there other ways?), on show until February 29. The show contains works by 23 participating artists, combining temporary installations with daily public programming, shows, laboratories, and actions. It uses Espacio Odeón’s refurbished theatrical building and outdoor garden to showcase its projects. The show centres on collaboration and contribution amongst various groups of artists. 

What to do in Bogotá?

The exhibition presents the conundrum of artistic freedom and reliance on funding. Its overall statement articulates the central issue of cultural venues, commenting, “In general, spaces like Odeón sustain themselves through the intake of public grants and private resources. This means that in one way or another we are obligated to respond to a rhetoric of effectiveness and productivity, one that ultimately generates a competitive and individualistic cultural sector that has to adhere to meritocracy to access state resources or be ‘sellable’ to obtain private support.” With the question of art funding and productivity in mind, each project contemplates the process of art creation and puts experimental works on display. 

La Calle No Calla or The Street Does Not Shut Up, a collective photography exhibition, is on view until March 14 at OjoRojo Fábrica Visual in La Macarena. The gallery has compiled photographs, video, and print work from thirty artists, who highlight distinct moments of the paro nacional. The collection contains striking images of events recently experienced by the population of Bogotá, and it combines documentation with emotional scenes of individuals taking to the streets. In several images, photographers showcase violence by ESMAD and police forces against protesters: a screaming individual is held to the ground, surrounded by police, an ESMAD officer grabs a protester by the back of his neck, an ESMAD tank shoots tear gas directly at a single person.  

La Calle no Calla: Fabio Cítrica is one of 30 artists whose work relate to the protests. Photo: Fabio Cítrica

Other featured photographers grasp the scale of the protests during various days of the paro. In one image, dozens of women gather at Parkway to perform un violador en tu camino. The viral performance routine, which originated with Chilean feminist group Las Tesis, features blindfolded women chanting and dancing in a denouncement of gender violence. The exhibition’s sole video installation assembles a timeline of the paro, capturing footage from each day’s protests. La Calle No Calla captures the overwhelming multiplicity of the strikes. Bringing together perspectives from different days, neighbourhoods, groups, and actions, the exhibition gives Bogotá residents a chance to reflect on the significance of the paro

In San Felipe, two galleries will be presenting solo shows by Colombian photographers. On February 13, Galería Beta inaugurates the first solo show of Andrés Bermúdez, a Bogotá-based photographer whose work is inspired by cinematic imagery. Utilising light and landscape, Bermúdez will present several works from sites outside of Colombia. His images of vast beaches, filled with sunlight, tourists, and the contrasting blues of the water and the sky, are at the centre of the exhibit. The inauguration coincides with Noche de San Felipe, in which 19 cultural spaces in Barrio San Felipe will open their doors to the public from 6 to 10 pm. 

‘Colombia Hoy’ by Federico Rios Escobar. Photo: Bandy Bandy Galería

Starting February 27, Bandy Bandy Galería will showcase an archive of photography by Federico Rios Escobar. The New York Times-featured photographer has been recognised internationally for his work documenting FARC in rural and coastal Colombia. Los Días Póstumos De Una Guerra Sin Final or The Posthumous Days of An Endless War brings viewers into FARC camps in Chocó during the negotiation of the 2016 Peace Agreement. Rios’ work has allowed international audiences a rare glimpse of the daily routines of FARC combatants. Subjects interact with local rural residents, cook a pig in the jungle, and dance together in the evening. The solo show at Bandy Bandy presents a decade of Rios’ work and will be on until April 9. 

  • Que no cunda el pánico (¿hay otras maneras?) will be on show at Espacio Odeón until February 29 (Carrera 5 #12C-73)
  • La Calle No Calla will be on show at OjoRojo Fábrica Visual until March 14 (Carrera 5 #26C-62)
  • Andrés Bermúdez’s first solo show opens at Galería Beta on February 13 (Calle 75A # 20C-52) and is on view until March 12 
  • Los Días Póstumos De Una Guerra Sin Final will show at Bandy Bandy Galería February 27 to April 9 (Carrera 22 #75A-06)