Monthly Archives: October 2015

Santiago Montoya exhibits in London

Art by Santiago MontoyaHalcyon Gallery will  present an exhibition of new works by Colombian artist Santiago Montoya. The solo exhibition titled “Unfinished Business” is Montoya’s third at the gallery in London. It runs from the 21st October – 10th November 2015.

Unfinished Business sees Montoya continue to develop his dialogue spotlighting society’s contemporaneous relationships with money and the economy at large. Using uncirculated bank notes, he creates canvases which boldly illuminate tensions; questioning preconceptions and offering new pertinence to complex social constructs. The clichéd titles of Montoya’s work add an element of humour to his work enticing viewers into the debate.

Montoya views bank-notes as ready-made painted surfaces, as snapshots of time, theatres in which political propaganda and historic events play out. Yet these paintings come with their own pre-assigned commercial value which forms the basis of all international trade, relations and infrastructure. The result is artwork saturated with layers of meaning.

“For so many years, we fought nature to survive, and I wonder if, for some of us, the economy has taken its place. We´ve anchored our expectations for wellbeing, success and happiness on the economy. The economy has become a new god, which we all cease to understand. An incomprehensible mystery of which many prophets write about, at times becoming holy, and at others, an evil in disguise. For better or worse (interdependently inseparable), as inconclusive as things are in the sacred fields of religion – and economy, it seems that we have quite a distance to go before we conclude… all I pray is that in my time, it remains forever Unfinished Business.” – Santiago Montoya

Interview with Santiago Montoya in Spanish about the consumer culture and his art.

Frieze !

Frieze! – an art show that will definitely stop you in your tracks

Frieze Art Fair 2015
Casas Riegner Gallery - Frieze 2015

Under a cloudy October sky Frieze London entertains Londoners and its London’s visitors to a host of art presented by galleries from around the world. Here only one gallery was to be found representing Colombian artists: Casas Riegner fronted by its International Curator and Director Paula Bossa. This is Casas Riegner’s fifth consecutive year at the Frieze London art fair and it has had a tremendous reception.

One of the more important artists represented by the gallery is Beatriz Gonzalez who’s work is important enough to be in the latest exhibition of pop art at the Tate Gallery in London titled “The World Goes Pop”. (Click here to read Beatriz Gonzalez “The World Goes Pop” Tate interview)


Other artists whose work is presented by the gallery are: Johanna Calle, Adolfo Bernal, Bernardo Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Antonio Suarez Londoño.

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Alex Rodriguez - Casas Riegner

Alex Rodriguez – Casas Riegner

Casa Riegner Visitors


Frieze Art Fair Itself

Tracey Emin Bath

Tracey Emin Bath

Frieze London is a great event situated in Regents Park in the heart of London. Within the park is the London Zoo and the park itself is dotted with wood sculptures, trails and paths, football and rugby field where local kids and adults come to exercise and now, as part of their cultural diet they can include a visit to over to the Sculpture Garden which is going to remain in-situ till January 2016. It really is a perfect place for the event and the shuttle buses provided by BMW to ferry people between Frieze and Frieze Master were a definite boon on what was a rather cold Saturday when I visited.

Unfortunately Freize (not Frieze Masters) has introduced a new cloakroom policy  whereby all medium to large bags are not permitted inside the fair and so such items will need to be left at the cloakroom inside the fair at a cost of £5 per item. Coats and smaller items can be checked free of charge. Not a good idea!!!  I think as people pay £30 pounds a head and may wish to bring their kids along in a stroller that another £5 is a bit much, especially when for many families it may be an unexpected additional surprise cost – even for a small rucksack which many people use when visiting London but were asked to check creating a long line. However, the event is free for accompanied children under 12 and that is a policy to be lauded and encouraged as are the free Art Talks and the availability of art tours and bespoke art tours.

Colombia at Frieze London 2015

mauricio zequedaWell, its the time of year for Frieze London and there seems to be only one gallery representing Colombia: Casas Riegner

They have already done Colombia proud as they have been awarded a Special Commendations for their stand presentation! The main stand presentation prize was won by Stuart Shave Modern Art.

I’ll soon be down there in London and hope to get a few photos to publish here!

At this time of year everyone is in town as there are other parallel fairs to rival Frieze such as the Sunday Art Fair where artworks can be obtained at a lesser price.

Also, David Zwirner Gallery is presenting an exhibition by Oscar Murillo at the same time – and why not! Murillo’s work is also part of the Frieze fair’s Sculpture Park presentation which takes place in Regent’s Park. There he will debut social anomalies from a factory (2013), a sculpture comprised of a series of stainless steel fruit crates. The artist also has a solo show at the South London Gallery which includes a unique “lottery ticket” project, and winners will be chosen on Friday, October 18.

I have seen similar lotteries or raffles as they are also known in the UK done at the Cero Gallery in Bogota with the renowned artist Mauricio Zequeda allowing the visitors to his exhibition to win an artwork…and why not. It’s all part of the fun of art and it’s theirs to give to whom they please!


Mural and Public Art Biennal 2016 – Cali, Colombia

2016 Biennal Cali Colombia

I thought I’d get ahead of the curve here an let all you readers know that the inscriptions will soon be opening for the Cali Mural and Public Art International Biennial in November 2015 and the actual event is programmed for September 2016.  This is the 3rd event to be held and hopefully it will be as successful as the other. As soon as more detailed info is available it will be published on

Here’s the link to get some more information of past events (in Spanish): Mural and Public Art Biennal 2016 – Cali, Colombia 

Haven’t found an English version yet…if you do let me know:



Street Art in Bogota!

Street Art Colombia

I love finding new articles on art in Colombia. This one however has another side to the story which is not revealed – and all is not rosy …so read on!

The article  provides some good information on international artists such as Pez (Spain/Cataluña) and Crisp (Australia),  as well as Colombian artists like Guache, Mico, DJ Lu, Praxis, Lesivo, Katze 3, and Toxicomano – all working there presenting their view of the world they want to see, be that political or pure art. Hosted on it has some great photos of the street art in Bogota.

Street artists or “grafiteros” as they are known in Colombia are now able to be much more open in what they are doing and and many are now even hired to cover temporary building site walls and placards as street artwork is often respected by peers and so is less subject to vandalism.

As the blog says, there is a generally permissive side now to street art in Bogota – but this was born with a price.

In 2011 the Bogota police killed grafitero Diego Felipe Becerra with two shots in the back. This of course caused a public outcry enough to cause the Vice-president of Colombia to take personal oversight of the investigation as the public would not have believed the police version. His friends organized a march for his cause.

This is at least one reason that you will find greater tolerance today by police and officials for the creation of art on the streets of Colombia.

So, now you know – enjoy the article I found and remember the true story behind it!

Here’s the link to the article:

ArtBo 2015

Although Artbo does not seek to be a large trade show, its growth is undeniable: 65 galleries that were in the 2014 edition, this year the International Art Fair in Bogotá went to 84, from 33 cities worldwide.

The reason for this increase is due to the change of date, which allowed the fair not to conflict with others. “The Colombian market has a lot to show and every time we come we try to learn more about it to exploit its advantages,” said Gregor Podnar, a German gallery owner, who presented the Galerija Gregor Podnar (Berlin).

Last year around 450 artists exhibited works, this time there were about 500, with more than 3,000 works. Moreover, some 35,000 people, including the general public, collectors and curators from Colombia and other countries visited the fair, which ended last Sunday. This represented an increase of 5,000 visitors compared to last year. And 10,000 more, when compared with participants who had in 2013 also attended the fair.

Maria Paz Gaviria, director of Artbo stressed the resonance that this event has acquired now having held its 11th edition on the world stage. “Increasingly, the model of the show gains more world recognition. Its position as a quality in Latin America is stronger” she said in a press release announced at the Chamber of Commerce of Bogota.

Moreover, the commitment to including contemporary artistic expressions such as ‘performance’ or the ‘happening’, inside and outside the fair, was well received on social networks.

On this occasion, the first Oma Art Award was given to José Alejandro Restrepo, winner of the Luis Caballero Prize VII in 2013. The artist Sandra Rengifo, who presented her work in the Artecámara section, was the winner of Prodigy Flora Scholarship Award, now in its 3rd year and delivered by Prodigy Network and supported by El Tiempo and ‘La W’.

“It is a very important event for the region and as Mexicans we wanted to have presence in Colombia. Artbo has become a fair for all of Latin America, “said the Mexican gallerist Andres Arredondo.

Translated and edited from Cultura y entretenimiento |  5 de octubre de 2015