3rd May 1808

Un lugar y el tiempo, Odeon, Bogotá.


There is an awkward relationship between reproduction and experience in art history and how it is taught in Latin America. It is a relation based on distance, reproductions in art books of masterpieces, works with which one never comes in contact beyond a discursive relationship, primordially textual. Curiously, we also witness a time when historical painting, and history in general, is being “revived” in an immersive experience through a “symphony of light and sound” from “a new way of experiencing art.” This fact can reveal both bureaucratic problems in the displacement of a historical work (permits, insurance, conservation, etc.) and an updating and mediation of the pictorial experience towards a contemporary, measured, calculated and, never better, spectacular phenomenology. This phenomenon can be seen represented in Van Gogh Alive, whose page can also read the following review “Gone are the days when the only way to appreciate art is by the work hanging on the wall of an art gallery …”

2 PARENTHESIS (After “Critique and Experience” by Bernardo Ortiz)

John Baldessari’s The Best Way to Do Art reproduces a photograph of an airplane, a Boeing 747. Under the photograph a caption says: “A young artist at the arts faculty idolized Cézanne’s paintings. He looked and studied all the books he could find on Cézanne and copied all the reproductions of Cezanne he found in them. He visited a museum and for the first time saw a painting of Cézanne in real life. He hated it. It looked nothing like the Cézannes he had studied in books. From that day, he made all his paintings the size of the reproductions and painted them in black and white. He also painted the captions and the explanations that the books offered about his paintings. Many times he used only words. And then one day he realized that very few people, on the other hand, see books and magazines as he did, and also like them, they receive them by mail. The moral of this history: It is difficult to introduce a painting in a mailbox. “
(Lippard, Six Years 254)


Our relationship with art history as a discursive process can be deployed in terms of exclusion, as a distance that can not be salvaged, and at the same time as a starting point. The effects of this distance can be seen in how art education is structured in Colombia: an inherited idea of practice and academy that has little to do with our reality.