The Month of Contemporary Art at Salón Nacional de Artistas

Alejandra Fernandez
Alejandra Fernandez

During September, significant events are going to take place in the capital city of the country, these events bind together galleries, museums, curators, artists and art collectors from all around the world, through plastic proposals from well-known Colombian artists and emerging artists that will have the opportunity of showing their work in an essential route for the first time in which they are going to promote the most relevant of the country.

Both Colombians and tourists will be able to go through the hall of artists with more years of trajectory, in fact, the 45 Salón Nacional de Artistas (45 National Hall of Artists) has been for 79 years exhibiting works of the new generation of artists of the country, strengthen as one the most influent spaces in Latin America, since the artists that expose in the hall become more visible in the international level and start a career out of the national context.

Artists like Fernando Botero, Edgar Negret, Oscar Muñoz, Doris Salcedo, and some others of the new generation like Juliana Gongora and Delcy Morelos, started their international career after being exhibit in this hall.

The Salon Nacional was created in 1940 as a part of the Colombian government politics, with the aim of bringing a traditional culture of Paris of the eighteenth-century, where the hall or salon was conceived as a space to present artworks that were being made at that moment, in that way the artists could have a contact with a broader public, or not reduced as only the meeting with the buyers.

It started in the Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia, and then it was moved to the Museo Nacional de Artistas, then it was done in the Luis Angel Arango Library, as a first model of summoning where artists that exhibit must be invited, then it was democratised by exhibiting the winner of a summons to participate.

This transformation in the selection process of the artists was achieved with the arrival of curators that started to build an expositive narrative with the artwork that called their attention, after this critical art gala, it was decentred of the capital city of the country to other cities of Colombia like Medellin, Cali, Pereira and Cartagena, so most parts of the population of the country had a closer encounter with the art.

It is worth to mention that these kind of spaces of a meeting between ordinary citizens with the people that are dedicated to transgress the ways of the objectual world, it brought critics and controversy to Colombia, thanks to the structuration of those who thought that the art must be an epicentre of construction and demolition of social paradigms, of coexistence of the esthetical experiences that are looking to confront the ‘asleep by the everyday life’ viewer that is searching in the art a revelation of what they have given for settle.

Thus, the artworks not only cover a curatorial line, but they are also branching in eight subjects concreted by 150 artists, as being uncovered by the viewer through expositions, performances, live transmissions, live programs and a tour by the downtown of Bogotá.

In this opportunity the 45 Salon Nacional is going to have “El revés de la trama” to ask about the other side of the things, Galeria Santa Fe as epicenter, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogota MAMBO, Museo de Artes Visuales of the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Cinemateca de Bogota, Espacio Odeon, Laboratorio Interdisciplinario de las Artes LIA, among other public spaces that will be used, such as Cementerio Central, the Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia, it is directed by the curator of the Museo La Tertulia from Cali, Colombia, Alejandro Marin, next to him there are eight curators that create some kind of curatorship or relation with the main one, in a way that any of the expositions are less critical, but each exposition complements the other.

This salon goes with another important event for those well-known artists, which are recognised with a considerable amount of money besides the prize, it is called Premio Luis Caballero, it is the way that artists with an average career consolidate themselves to a Colombian national level.

The Premio Luis Caballero is an initiative of the Municipality of Bogota, which is named after an essential artist from Bogota who broke the scheme and brought modernity to Colombia with his work. Currently, the X prize is going to be awarded, which is done every two years and is directed by the Instituto Distrital de las Artes (Idartes).

The requisites to participate are being older than 35 years old and fulfil an artistic proposal that covers topics as history, politics, social, urban and their relation with the space in which it is exhibited. This summons awards to eight artists so they can develop their proposals, and they will be exhibit until 2020, in that year the winner of the award Premio Luis Caballero will be announced, the winner will earn the right to get an incentive to do an inedited work that will be exhibited in Galeria Santa Fe in 2021.

The proposals cover installation, photography, paint and video, developed by artists like Maria Elvira Escallon, Eduard Moreno, Edwin Sanchez, Gabriel Zea, la Decanatura, among other artists, that could be appreciated by the viewers through pedagogic guidance that will be present in each one of the installations.

We can also appreciate the circuit of art Artbo, an important festival in which 67 galleries of the country will have thirteen thousand squared meters to exhibit the flux of contemporaneous art of Colombia.

This festival has a long trajectory, which has been constant since 2004, proving that the art in this country is generating economic earnings and business opportunities for those artists that not only exhibit their work to the general public but also need to live from what they do, it means, living from the art.

This festival also counts with international galleries that bring essential artwork for the appreciation of all the visitors, as long as they do not go in a business plan. Additional to this event, it was created Artecamara to present emerging artist and allow them to meet essential gallery owners and can complete sells or make alliances to move their work; they also have a prize for those emerging artists so they can continue with their artistic production.

Summing up, Colombia will have more than fifteen days of contemporaneous art exhibitions to enjoy in a circuit that plans connections between the art and the city, so the tour by the culture can be perceived as more than just entertainment, and it would be a bet for the social development of those who precede it.

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