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The Colombian arts editor for the weekly popular magazine Cromos, Jairo Dueñas, reviewed the second individual exhibition of Fernando Uhía, under the title Pinturas. The exhibition was held in 1991 in the Galería Gaula, which was an independent space for the exhibition that also served as a vehicle for disseminating ideas in contemporary art in Bogotá in the early 1990s. The purpose of the short text was to review the exhibition and explain the fact that the show had no conventional paintings worked with pigments on canvas, but instead presented oilcloths and objects. To that end, the text makes use of the voice of the artist, who presents his arguments about the exhibition. Uhía speaks about his position on using information that already exists, especially images, as opposed to the creation of new information and the idea of artistic creation in terms of originality and newness.


The reason for writing this text was the exhibition Pinturas, by Fernando Uhía (b. 1967), which was held in 1991 in the Galería Gaula (an independent space managed by the artists Jaime Iregui, Danilo Dueñas and Carlos Salas). This show presented the first approach to the vision Uhía would develop throughout his years working as an artist, more directly revisited in 2004, when he began his series Technoesmaltes. In this exhibition, Uhía makes specific use of whatever is ready-made when he focuses on the contemplation of daily objects as if they were set forth in a museum space. There we begin to visualize the artist’s interest in what he would later call “socialization strategies,” (that is, strategies that tend to create spaces for participation and self-recognition in an environment). What is particularly interesting about this text is that it directly employs the artist’s voice, without stopping to present an analysis or a specific academic reading. Uhía comments on the way the formal models (those championed by modern art) such as abstract art are absorbed by the system of industrial production of utensils in popular, daily use: curtains, oilcloths, and tablecloths. His works consisted of oilcloths printed with abstract themes and forms and tightened over frames as if they were paintings, untouched by the artist’s hand.  


Fernando Uhía received a master’s degree in fine arts from San Francisco Art Institute and is currently an associate professor in the art department at the Universidad de Los Andes. Throughout his life as an artist, he has been thinking about ideas that are the underpinning of the modern discourse on the arts, such as “originality” and/or “copy.” His focus has been on the relationship of such concepts to specific conditions: local sources, globalization, and the influence of the image. Uhía has participated in many group and individual exhibitions and has been given significant recognition in the local art world: a Young Talents scholarship from the Banco de la República of Colombia in 1997, and the Premio Luis Caballero in its fourth offering (2007).

Leonardo Vargas Tinoco
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Inversiones Cromos, S.A - Revista Cromos, Bogotá, Colombia