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Video, 5:07 min.
In Juan Fernando Herrán’s video, a man walks in front of what appears to be a lake or a river. The camera zooms in on his head. He puts grass into his mouth and chews on it intently. This bodily operation goes on for several minutes. The camera zooms in further, focusing on the movement of his jaw muscles as more and more grass is chewed. Periodically, his mouth spits out green saliva. By the end of the video, a hand reaches to his lips; a small ball of green matter is produced and placed in the waiting hand like a gift, an offering. For most viewers, this process is completely unfamiliar. It could be a reflection on how nature becomes culture. Or it could concern the sculptural transformation of matter through the body, although what we usually understand as "sculpture" involves a material that is transformed with the hands.
© Stills: Juan Fernando Herrán
The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture. Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, 24 June - 27 Sept. 2015. Curator: José Roca, with Alejandro Martín.