Art Exhibition: “Carlos Chacin—Dejen que soplen”

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Artist Carlos Chacín, from Santa Marta, on the Caribbean side of Colombia, reflects on the environmental issues of Santa Marta’s Ciénaga Grande and global warming (Fundación Cultural Divulgar). The Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporáneo [Bolivarian Museum of Contemporary Art] in Santa Marta presents his exhibition: “’Dejen que soplen’ / Entre líneas.” The exhibition opened on Monday, July 25, as part of the commemoration of the 233rd anniversary of Simón Bolívar’s birth. It will be on view through August. Here is Fundación Cultural Divulgar’s description, translated by Barranquilla Times (here, the translator refers to the vast swampy marshlands, Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta, as the Large Marsh of Santa Marta):

The exhibition is made up of dialogue in the midst of a large-scale intervention, an installation and a series of drawings on paper, each one at the Altar de La Patria room, Armando Villegas room and Enrique Grau room respectively. Jaider Orsini is the curator of the exhibit; it will be displayed to the public until next month.

“Dejen que soplen” (Let Them Blow) is a composition of hundred ceiling fans above of the top of the architectural structure of the Altar de la Patria room, historically known for being the place where Simón Bolívar passed away. The installation is 25 meters high.

Entre líneas (Between the Lines), is the installation displayed in the Armando Villegas room. It is comprised of small and medium format drawings and a modular sculpture made of rubber representing the biological structure of mangrove, but with casters. The artist has described the structure and form bearing a resemblance to the rhizomes of the mangrove tree and is set with casters, so the mangroves give the feeling that they can move. This creation has a lot to do with the current problems of environmental damage in the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta (Spanish for Large Marsh of Santa Marta), where the artist has been working for several weeks.

The Large Marsh almost 50 years later is recovering from the damage it suffered following the construction of the first road between Barranquilla with Santa Marta which also connects with other cities in the Caribbean Coast. Now, with the announcement of the dual carriageway, unfortunately, it revives the displacement of the natural ecosystem and social conditions of communities living there and around it.

In the words of Chacín: “The Ciénaga is a very intimate territory because my family has lived there ever since I can remember. I have appropriated of the mangrove that is a visible natural and the strongest element of the large marsh. It maintains the natural and social balance of the marsh itself. Mangrove tree is that biological representation of the culture which communities have learned ways of life: construction of houses, medicinal preparations and dyeing for the conservation of fishing nets and clothing. People relate to the displacement of the Ciénaga Grande with the rubber of the tires that pass every day on the road, so that’s why I wanted to make the shapes of the mangroves with rubber.

The pieces in the exhibition operate on the notion of anti-monument. While reflecting on environmental issues, climate change, displacement of the natural ecosystem in the Ciénaga Grande, it continues to be an artwork of a political nature. An object like a fan connotes complaint in our country; in the Caribbean coast is related to the element that mitigates the high temperatures. In that sense, Chacín observes the environment in different dimensions.

Inert objects which represent organic forms and paradoxical situations. Like the fact that a hundred of ceiling fans outdoors are trying to be moved by the wind on a place that symbolizes freedom; and some mangroves made in rubber with casters. It is the same paradoxical sense of the idea of development in contemporary life. The displacement remains a phenomenon of resistance and transformation in the work of Chacín. It creates gaps that stress the relationship between man and nature and rooted to the idea of territory as the linchpin of their creative thinking.

Carlos Chacín (Santa Marta, 1974). He lives in Paris and works in France and Colombia. His former studies as an artist were at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes “San Alejandro” in La Havana, Cuba. He creates large format installations that allude to issues such as travel and violence. He has exhibited his work in diverse galleries, museums and alternative spaces in countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Italy and France. In 2009 he took part in the 10th Biennial of Havana. Recently, he won the third prize in the X Biennial of Florence, Italy (2015).

For full description (in English), see http://barranquillalife.com/art-in-cienaga-grande/

For original (in Spanish), see http://fundaciondivulgar.org/chacin-reflexiona-sobre-la-problematica-medioambiental-de-la-cienaga-grande-y-el-calentamiento-global/

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