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Marcelo Villegas, Clemencia Echeverri

Foreground:
Marcelo Villegas:
Doble curva (Double curve)
Chairs 1 & 2, ca. 1990
Background:
Clemencia Echeverri:
Treno. 2007
Video installation, 14 min.
Exhibition view of Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture.

Clemencia Echeverri’s video installation Treno (2007) depicts the roaring, tumultuous Cauca River. The title of the work, an archaic Spanish word that means "funeral chant," refers to mythical associations regarding the role of the river as the threshold between life and death and as the vessel for the last voyage. This metaphorical reference finds new meaning when one is confronted with the reality of the political situation in the Colombian countryside, where casualties of armed conflict are dumped in rivers such as the Cauca, thereby preventing relatives of the dead from knowing their fate.

In the center of the gallery are three chairs by Marcelo Villegas, an architect who is known for his large-scale buildings and bridges constructed of bamboo. His studio is in Manizales, Caldas Department, near the Cauca River in central Colombia. The highly expressionistic Doble curva (Double curve, ca. 1990) chairs are made with the roots of guadua, a variety of bamboo native to the region that can grow to considerable heights, and the Bamba chair with the roots of the nato tree. Bamboo’s rhizomatic growth recalls rivers in its endless bifurcations and connections. Visitors are encouraged to sit on the chairs.

© Photo: Bruce White
Courtesy of Bard Graduate Center Gallery

Waterweavers

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.

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