ART, A HARD BONE TO CHEW
Regarding Artist in Residence, an exhibition by Fernando “Coco” Bedoya (Borja, 1952), at the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano (ICPNA) in Miraflores, Lima, Peru. Curated by Max Hernández Calvo, the exhibition is open until June 4, 2022.
In 2016, Fernando Alberto Bedoya Torrico, a Peruvian artist who, since 1977, lives part of the year in Lima and another in Buenos Aires, visited Berlin. It had been a year marked by different events of all kinds. Among others, at the age of 63, he had been confronted for the first time in his life with 'artists' residences', a category where mastering several languages and paperwork were combined with writing a project, defining hypotheses, proposal of a methodology and the outline of the results to be obtained in the course of a month, a semester, a year.
Some were fabulous and promised the sea, the mountains, the city or the countryside. Others gathered everything, fed or lent the kitchen. But many consisted of just a mattress to sleep on and a piece of paper to show on social networks and reap the applause of those who cheer just because and because we have become accustomed to celebrating any photo or any piece of cardboard with a seal and a signature.
In those rich or poor, real or nominal residences they spoke a language unknown to his generation and one that excluded him even more than the actual language barriers. What school of Fine Arts, what workshop in the 1960s taught how to hold diplomas or how to fill out applications with categories typical of the neopositivism of those same years?
Art had been transformed, bowed to the administration of human resources, to the demographic explosion of all professional groups and to the precariousness of the life of an artist. He had no choice but to take refuge in a doghouse, adopting the appearance of a bare bone, bitten, dry and disputed by those thousands of people who tried to live by invoking him in vain, sometimes, very rarely, with success.
"Making art out of conflict "-is one of the phrases that are heard the most from his mouth. From this motto, Artist in Residence was born, a show that, as can be seen in the ICPNA exhibition, sinks into the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of the young Bedoya: “La pasteleada”, a last supper that represents the consumption of cocaine basic paste, and a series of classified ads published in the cultural page of the newspaper "El Comercio" of Lima in 1979. There, an artist was looking for patrons (in Spanish ‘me-cenas’, ‘cenas’ [dinners]), a play on words where art was tied to food, one of the knots that structure the work of Fernando Bedoya, but also a theme dear to Víctor Grippo and to the Argentine submission to the São Paulo Biennial in 1977. After all, without the energy of food, no one - neither the artists nor the ones who are not - can survive.
Whoever visits the exhibition in Miraflores will realize that these knots – a reference to the work of his fellow Jorge Eduardo Eielson – chain a set that has no beginning but also no end and that, like the quipus, are understood to be extended in all their magnitude. The ICPNA gallery is essential in connecting the knots from the past and the present, the early and the most recent works, as well as the omnipresence of humor, irony and a certain disenchantment.
These conceptual knots (submission, exploitation, imperialism) are built on multiple substrates that appeal to typographies, words, writing, photography, photocopying, the extinct Letraset and the search for new engraving techniques, that is, the possibility of recording on any surface and in any material: sidewalks, newsprint, school books, cans, cardboard, parades, fire, ink, pastel, ceramics, Styrofoam, plastic, cement. A work that cannot be understood unless it is seen as part of various Peruvian and Argentine groups, which is nurtured in dialogue with artists from these countries, with their European and American contemporaries, and with the most paradigmatic elements of pre-Columbian archaeology.
Artist in residence is an invitation to enjoy conceptual art in its most refined version but also to think about who the author is. Because, at this point, science and art share something much deeper than the bureaucracies that maintain them: on the one hand, knowledge and work that is always -even in enmity- collective and cooperative; on the other, the obsessions that cross us -artists and scientists- in the form of images, words and conflicts that, like Bedoya, cross borders and, whether we like it or not, mix with the past and the present and mark the stroke of our pencil.
Fernando “Coco” Bedoya is a Peruvian painter and engraver based in Argentina since the late 1970s. He is a pivotal figure within the conceptual experiences of artistic activism in Peru and Argentina. His work emerges at a time when various languages linked to mass reproduction emerge, characterized by graphic political action in public space. Member and founder of various groups such as Paréntesis, Huayco and the Contacta 79 Festival, he settled in Buenos Aires continuing his action work in GAS-TAR and C.A.Pa.Ta.Co, groups that acted within the framework of the struggle for the human rights. Organizer of the “Museos Bailables” (1986-) and art workshops in Argentine prisons (2000-2010), in 2010 he received the First Acquisition Prize of the SNAV (Engraving). In 2014 the Lima Art Museum (MALI) organized a retrospective exhibition, embodied in "Myths, actions and illuminations", an initiative of Sharon Lerner and Rodrigo Quijano. His work can be found in the collections of MALI, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Buenos Aires), Museo Sívori, Reina Sofía, Library of Congress (Washington), Franlin Furnace, etc.
Artista en residencia
Until June 4th
Curator: Max Hernández Calvo
ICPNA Espacio Germán Krüger Espantoso
Av. Amgamos Oeste 160, Miraflores