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Visual artist and researcher Juan Fernando Herrán, and the Italian art historian Luca Zordán, were curators of the exhibition Wiedemann por Colombia: la mirada del artista. In this text, they state their main curatorial objectives and their different ideas on the life and work of Guillermo Wiedemann, as shown in their selection of work. The exhibition included a selection of the artist’s sketchbooks with work done on his trips through the country’s different regions (Magdalena Medio, the Atlantic Coast, and the Pacific Coast). Other work in the exhibition consisted of handwritten letters, watercolors, photographs, and related literature. The writers inform the reader that the exhibition seeks to acknowledge Wiedemann’s travels, showing the links he established with those places and cultures that were his reason for traveling. In discussing his paintings—executed from his arrival in Colombia in 1939 through the late 1950s—the two writers find that these works express his experience and the reality recorded on his trips. The curators sought to base the exhibition on the artist’s own works and legacy, in order to cast a light on the way he established ties with the places visited and their inhabitants. For example, how did he represent a thought about “the concept of humanism and […] the culture in general”? And how did he take in the experience of an encounter? The writers invite scholars from other disciplines to consider the material exhibited as documentation and a possible subject for other social and natural science research.


This research paper written by Juan Fernando Herrán (b. 1963) and the Italian art historian Luca Zordán, explores the exhibition Wiedemann por Colombia: la mirada de un artista, held at the Museo Nacional of Colombia in 2005, curated by the two writers.


The sketchbooks, handwritten letters, and photographs by Guillermo Wiedemann (1905–69), as well as the books exhibited (for the first time), were part of the legacy donated by Cristina Wiedemann to the School of Arts and Humanities at the Universidad de los Andes. The importance of this text is that it precisely defines the objectives of the exhibition, conceived in order to propose an overall reading of Wiedemann’s visual artwork based on his own ideas as expressed in writing. It also sought to show the way his sketches reveal his relationship with the places he visited. This perspective suggests an alternative way of understanding the artistic life of a well-known artist. The interpretation it proposes is far from the established historical and theoretical discourse—especially that linked to modern art criticism—and the witness it bears is subject to primary documentation.

Nicolás Gómez
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Casa Editorial El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia.