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    Zuleta, Rodrigo
    Van Goghs vs. taburetes / Por Rodrigo Zuleta
    La Prensa (Bogotá, Colombia). --- Ene. 5, 1989
    Newspaper article – Essays
    Zuleta, Rodrigo. "Van Goghs vs. Taburetes." La Prensa (Bogotá, Colombia), January 5, 1989, 13.

This article written by Rodrigo Zuleta was published in the newspaper La prensa, on January 5, 1989. In it, the writer explains how the life experience of the Colombian artist, María Angélica Medina, has included being a mother, daughter, and professor. The text addresses the idea and the understanding of art as a vital practice; this is a basic concept in her visual art and performance work developed based on weaving (as a part of daily life). Zuleta tells the story of the formation of a group of Colombian artists—among who are Antonio Caro and Enrique Jaramillo—meeting to talk about and share experiences related to the idea of art as a lived reality. These meetings of artists were promoted by Medina during her time as a professor at the Universidad de los Andes. Similarly, the writer emphasizes brief situations in Medina’s childhood and adolescence (as well as her experience with motherhood) to explain the artist’s relationship with objects. In particular, the focus is on the artist’s thinking about how objects are related to space. This allows her to establish weaving as a conscious vehicle for a modification of the relationships among objects, space, and the public.


This document shows the importance of weaving as a visual art activity and experience through stories of daily life, but also as a vital axis/place in the conception and development of the work of María Angélica Medina (b. 1939). In the text, there is a level of awareness of weaving as a performance that is beyond the product it produces. In other words, without taking away the importance of the action as creation, weaving can be understood as a vital approach to the modification of space and the relationships that arise around those who occupy it. This approach promotes an understanding of the objects of daily life as elements that may be used but are susceptible to modification; they change the space and therefore affect conduct and ideas about reality. This being the case, the writer allows that Medina’s work manages to be presented as a form of space modification that is at the same time an installation, a sculpture, and a performance. All these elements affect the idea of the artwork as a part of daily life, and therefore, whatever idea of art may be held by the viewer.  


The text makes it clear how important life experience is in the conception of Medina’s artwork. Starting from the relationship between life and work as articulated practically and intelligently by Rodrigo Zuleta (b. 1961), it becomes clear to the reader that the artist’s stance vis-à-vis the artwork is the same as her attitude toward life. Both must be understood as incomplete, in constant movement, and having the possibility of disappearing at any moment. Medina’s concept of art as a living exercise in space allows her to state that any art object may succumb to a curtain or a piece of furniture. That is why she establishes her practice based on spatial relationships. Moreover, her performance practice eschews an understanding of art as a unique, static, and sacred object. [For more information about the artist’s approaches, see doc. no. 1129686.]


Rodrigo Zuleta is a journalist, critic, and man of letters. He studied philosophy and letters at the Universidad de los Andes, and subsequently, Romance languages and literature in Bonn, and in Bochum, Germany, where he earned a doctoral degree. For one year, he worked at the Instituto de Estudios Internacionales of la Fundación José Ortega y Gasset in Toledo, Spain. He has published stories and poems as well as articles on German and Latin American literature in several specialized journals. Zuleta currently lives in Berlin, where since 1997 he has been working for the Spanish News Agency EFE.

Carlos Eduardo Monroy Guerrero
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Reproduced with permission of Juan Carlos Pastrana, La Prensa, Bogotá, Colombia