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The catalogue for the exhibition Video Arte explains aesthetic approaches linked to developing and consolidating a specific video-art language understood as a tool for creating art. This first exhibition came about based on research performed by the curator, Suzanne Delehanty, who collected works of this kind at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. This text introduces the exhibition, which was organized based on the common use of one medium: video. The assistant curator David A. Ross—then Assistant Director of Television and Film at Long Beach Museum of Art, (California)—defined the themes of the exhibition, starting with a historical review of the medium. In other words, the text provides an ex post facto analysis of the type of work included in the exhibition and a conclusion regarding the use and legitimation of video as an expressive medium.


The exhibition Video Arte (brought to Bogotá in 1976 by the Centro Colombo Americano) was undoubtedly one of the most important [video] exhibitions held in Colombia. At the time it was held, Video Arte was presented as a show being sent around to various venues, the first of which was the XIII Bienal de São Paulo (1975). Subsequently, it was sent on to Chile and Peru.  


The reason the show did not awake the interest it was due on the Colombian art scene was a lack of promotion in the media. Nevertheless, it is important to review the exhibition because of the amount and quality of the works shown. Among the works presented were videos by recognized video artists such as the Korean Nam June Paik (1932–2006). Important U.S. video artist participants were Bruce Nauman (b.1941), Vito Acconci (b. 1940) and Andy Warhol (1928–87), among others. Showing these works stimulated a cycle of international [video] exhibitions in Colombia. Included in the exhibition were works as important as TV Garden, by Nam June Paik, and Eric P. Witzler’s work, Cilindro [Cylinder], which were organized as installations, that is, spaces where the work was organized based on three elements: time, space and movement.  


Finally, there were various short newspaper articles published about the exhibition. The first major article on video art in Colombia (“Por los ambientes de la XIII Bienal de São Paulo”) was written by the Cuban art critic Galaor Carbonell, and published in the first issue of the journal Arte en Colombia.

Jorge Luis Vaca Forero
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia