Colombian artist Johanna Calle's new exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City is a reminder of the evils of colonization and a protest against the US and Colombian governments' so-called "war on drugs," which has had devastating consequences for the poor across Latin America.
Johanna Calle, trained as an oil painter, experiments with drawing by burning or piercing wood, bending wire, typewriting on paper, or using writing as line, according to a press release from San Art, the HCMC gallery hosting the "Irregular Hexagon" exhibition.
"Her works question how we manipulate the visual world, particularly its violence and social injustice," said the release.
The art included in "Irregular Hexagon" is from Calle's work over the last decade.
Calle creates portraits by bending wire, attaching it to a board, and pouring sand on it. As the artist sands the entire image, the subjects slowly come to the surface. Detached from the body, these dreamy and delicate portraits appear to float in an indeterminate state, between dream and death.
Plants are also central in Calle's imagery. This is not only because in Colombia the so-called "war on drugs" is waged mainly on the countryside, but also because the roots of social inequality can be traced back to the moment when the landscape was razed down and its people subjugated, their cosmogony and language replaced by the colonizer's.
The artist was born in 1965 in Bogota, where she continues to live and work. Calle holds an MFA from the Chelsea College of Art, London, 1993 and a BA in Art Studies, Los Andes University, Bogota, Colombia, 1989.
Johanna Calle's exhibition will be on view until October 11, at San Art, 3 Me Linh Street, Binh Thanh District.
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