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The International Art Encounter of Medellín is one of the main platforms for exchange between Colombia and the international art scene, organized by the Museo de Antioquia (Medellin). It is an event that activates the city's cultural life every four years and in 2015 arrives to its third edition, after MDE07 and MDE11.
The theme of Local Stories/Global Practices has been conceived to create a space of reflection and engagement with the recent transformation of Medellín since the turn of the millennium. Medellín, considered to be a progressive Latin American city that has implemented innovative programs to stimulate social and urban development, is part of a larger picture. While the results of these processes are real and tangible, the dynamics they have generated are particularly complex from an ethical standpoint. In order to understand their implications we propose to focus on these processes of change and explore them through commissioned projects, works of artists and other socially oriented initiatives, sometimes inserted in spaces beyond the artistic field.
MDE15 inserts itself in the social fabric of the city while sharing stories, experiences and practices from elsewhere in the world. Transformative changes can elicit psychological, physical and social responses that range from issues of trust and security to economic well-being. The stories that result from observations and from the direct experiences of people in communities, often address the coping mechanisms that are required to survive and flourish amid those changes, which often occur at a pace that outstrips the citizens and society's ability to assimilate them. MDE15 aims at focusing on the unsaid and the less visible aspects of the everyday, such as memory, the past, the persistence of structural problems, but also the resilience of life in the city. It also relies on the potential of art to harness the capacity of individual and collective imagination to re-signify complex situations.
It is in this context and in the context of a critical standpoint in which the definition of artistic practice is constantly being challenged, that the MDE15 unfolds.
Curatorial axes and topics
The selection of artistic practices aims to display some aspects such as:
- Social topography and power dynamics as premises to reflect on the social fabric of the city and take part in it.
- Art and culture as repertoires of tactics of resistance and re-appropriation.
- Fringe practices, spanning between art, architecture and urbanism addressing critical issues and questioning ways of living in the city.
1. Violence, conflict and memory
2. Local stories in a global context
3. Dynamics of power over the body
4. The institutional teasing
5. Resilient city: dreams, desires and possibilities
MDE15 works, selected by the artists to be exhibited in the conventional showrooms, are set in the exhibition halls of the Museo de Antioquia and its Casa del Encuentro (Meeting House), and the Casa de la Música de EPM (EPM Music House) located in the Parque de los Deseos (Park of Wishes). The MDE15 also includes some fleeting works made in different public spaces of the city. Under these two categories the MDE15 has invitaded 59 artists and groups from 21 countries.
See the list of artists
Artistic director: Nydia Gutiérrez
International curators: Edi Muka & Sharon Lerner
National curator: Fernando Escobar
Local curator: Tony Evanko
See the biographies
MDE15 includes the processes carried out in recent years by several self-managed spaces of Medellín which have contributed to the development of the local artistic scene. The following 11 collectives, foundations, art centers and platforms become Host Spaces by showing their own proposals and performing them in coproduction with the Medellín International Art Encounter:
Campos de Gutiérrez
Casa de Las Estrategias-Casa Morada
Casa Tres Patios
Corporación Cultural Nuestra Gente
This inclusive program gathers institutions, artistic and academic initiatives from the field of contemporary art. These institutions have developed activities related to the curatorial theme of the MDE15, but these are not part of the exhibition component in the Museo de Antioquia, Casa del Encuentro or Casa de la Música. The diverse projects included in MDE Expanded aim to highlight the activities of the contemporary art scene in the city and the region, as well as several international projects that provide visitors the opportunity of immersing themselves in Local Stories/ Global Practices from the perspective of the International Art Encounter of Medellín. These projects are highlighted in the Corridor of the City, a flexible and dynamic space which located at the center of the exhibition. The MDE Expanded embraces these initiatives classified in the following formats:
1. Seminars, discussions and workshops
2. Events, exhibitions and interventions
3. Research and publications
This category gathers the initiatives that will take place in the city during the MDE15 development, but they are not necessarily linked by a thematic approach. This component reinforces the inclusive nature of the event by recognizing the importance of the different cultural activities which have been promoted by communities and social organizations. These activities contribute to build the city, show its resilience and make possible to imagine new urban realities. The Parallel activities are displayed on the MDE15 website. Besides, some of them are highlighted in the Corridor of the city that is included in the exhibition at the Museo de Antioquia.