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    Barney, Alicia, 1952-
    A propósito del "Diario-objeto" / Alicia Barney
    [1] leaf
    Other – Artists’ Statement
    Barney, Alicia. “A propósito del "Diario-objeto,” 1977. Mimeograph manuscript. Private archives of Miguel González, Cali, Colombia.

This document, written in 1977 by the Colombian artist Alicia Barney, is a mimeographed copy of the introduction to the installation Diario-objeto [Diary-Object] (1978) shown at the exhibition held at the Extensión Cultural [Cultural Extension] premises of the Universidad del Valle, Cali, a space curated and managed by the critic Miguel González where emerging artists could show their work. In the introduction, Barney discusses the object’s relationship to Pop art, but notes its intrinsic differences by alluding to its procedural, symbolic, and ephemeral nature in terms of its limited lifespan. Barney also displays her artistic credentials by discussing conceptual, technical, and interpretative aspects of the work. Diario-objeto consists of rows of small hanging bags containing detritus and objets trouvés that the artist picked up off the streets of New York. 


This document is significant, first of all because it records the artist Alicia Barney’s perspective on Conceptual art and the process involved in Colombia in the late 1970s, especially considering that she is one of the pioneers of that kind of art. The text sounds like a manifesto, in that it rejects the so-called “relics of the past” that are so much a part of the museum approach. In contrast, the document includes meditations on art and life, the object’s lifespan and its implicit role as witness to change and the mutability of life itself. The text is also important because of its references to Pop art and its dissertation on the object that mentions the artistic phenomenon of “appropriation.” 


Barney was asked to write this essay so that it could be distributed among viewers at the exhibition Diario-objeto [Diary-Object] at the Extensión Cultural [Cultural Extension] premises of the Universidad del Valle, Cali, in 1978. A year later, she was invited to the V Salón Atenas at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogota, where she exhibited the eight works of Diary-Objeto No. 2, a collection of polythene bags filled with branches, leaves, snails, and other natural items that she had found on her travels in Colombia. The titles Cali-Florida, Bocagrande I y II, Día de la Montaña [Day of the Mountain] indicate where she had been; the collection was a sort of material map of her travels.  


Parts of this essay were subsequently included in “Alicia Barney: el paisaje alternativo” [Alicia Barney: The Alternative Landscape], an article that appeared in the magazine Arte en Colombia [Art in Colombia], written by the curator Miguel González [see doc. # 1078601] who interviewed Barney in 1983 [doc. # 1087494]. More information on the matters covered in these documents can be found in “En el proceso regional de la auto vanguardia” [The Regional Avant-Garde Process] [doc. # 1099156] which provides valuable insights into the first stage of Barney’s career.

Eliana Salazar Moreno
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Alicia Barney, Bogotá, Colombia.