Terra Tenebrosa’s debut exhibition at Sin Espacio in Cali

Martha del Pilar Moreno

Martha del Pilar Moreno

Earthy, gloomy, mysterious, dark, and enchanting. All those sentiments can be gathered from both the shallow and deep ends of the Earth, it can be warm as it can be cold. It can hold life as it holds death. As a concept, earth or “Terra” as it is named in Latin, holds a fascination that few people are able to explore head on, let alone in an artistic way. To cast the magnificence, the complexity that the realm of earth can hold, artists of the odd and strange have gathered to make a collective exhibition called Terra Tenebrosa at Sin Espacio gallery in Cali from August 12th to 23rd.

Terra Tenebrosa is an artistic collective where their artists explore different aspects of what art can express. This collective, composed by fifteen plastic artists from Colombia and Brazil, take the unconventional ways in which digital and analogue drawing as well as photographs can show the oddities of life. The main point of this collective is to build a dialogue between darkness and illustration, using the territory, human bodies and darkness as elements for said dialogue between the artist and the audience.

During the collective exhibition, the means to achieve that communication between artist and audience took the shape of digitally altered photographs, digital illustration and naturalistic illustration that reminded us the graphs you can see in naturalist of the early nineteenth century, where our jungles were explored by Alexander von Humboldt among others natural philosopher of the era. One of the artist that mixed shadows and light to express his interpretation of darkness is Brazilian artist Fabio Stachi which photographic ensembles give a good idea of the hidden beauty that lies in darkness.

Some of his works presented at Terra Tenebrosa uses the voluptuosity of the human form to accentuate how the light goes through it to create volume and form. Another artist originated in Brazil is Luiza Prado, a transdisciplinary artist that uses every means she has to express her thoughts. The way she communicates with her audience is mainly visual, by creating photomontage and classic photography where the human body is surrounded by different elements both natural and urban, giving to her interpretation of light and shadows a unique approach.

As for Colombian representatives in this first Terra Tenebrosa exhibition, the artists that exposed their works have a different approach to express their ideas.

Paulo Alvarez for example uses both his background as student of a Catholic School and his approach to darkness. In his work, he uses secular images to transform them into a martyr-like shape. This process is more in the sense of death and subtly taking aspects of row pain to create a more ethereal imagery with an androgenic form. Another artist present that played with the death in a more painful way was Leo Carreño who used blood and flesh elements over the naked body. Overall, the exhibition shows different aspects of darkness, even between the colours of reality.

Between photo performances, digital illustrations, photomontages, analogue illustration with a naturalistic approach and a video montage, Terra Tenebrosa managed to explore darkness in a different level. There is only a hope the exhibition makes it to Bogotá, as for now the group has only intended to make one exhibition and a catalogue to show the world what darkness can express. When was the last time you witnessed an exhibition?

The new ways in which darkness is conceived has changed dramatically among artist in this modern age. On of the artist that makes part of Terra Tenebrosa collective is Paulo Alvarez, an artist we have covered previously in this article where we have explored with the artist his motivations to create.

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