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This is the published record of the conversation that ensued when Hans-Michael Herzog, the curator of the Fundación Daros Latinamerica [Daros Latinamerica Foundation] interviewed Rosemberg Sandoval. The interview shows how the Colombian artist’s personal experiences are intertwined with the production of his work. The conversation touched on several subjects, such as: family origins, Sandoval’s interest in art, his early days as a performance artist in the city of Cali, his reflections on the academy, and his thoughts concerning what he considers to be the most important performances in his artistic career. The interview highlights Sandoval’s close relationship with the objects he uses in his work, humble items steeped in memory and meaning. Some represent Christian iconography, some have an erotic connotation, some refer to the double standard that exists in Colombia, and some to the prevailing aesthetic values in the art market. During the conversation he mentions his friendship with other performance artists, such as Santiago Sierra, from Spain, and María Evelia Marmolejo, from Colombia.
The testimonial nature of this conversation makes this an important document. The conversation between the art curator Hans-Michael Herzog (b. 1956) and Rosemberg Sandoval (b. 1959) explores a variety of subjects connected to the creation of the latter’s works. They discuss in particular his relationship with death and violence, keeping in mind his experience as an artist who was displaced as a result of what was known as La Violencia [The Violence] in Colombia. During the interview Sandoval discusses in chronological order the most important and controversial works he produced between 1981 and 2004, as follows: Caquetá (1984), Baby Street (1998), Mugre [Dirt] (1999), Rose (2001), and Villa pum pum (2002). In 1984, Sandoval’s Caquetá was part of the Jornada de Artistas por la Paz [Artists for Peace Day], which also featured works by Óscar Muñoz (b. 1951) and Pedro Alcántara (b. 1942). This group event, which took place in the Plaza de San Francisco in the city of Cali, was organized by Alcántara.
The goal of the Fundación Daros Latinamerica [Daros Latinamerica Foundation] (Rio de Janeiro) and their publications was to provide an alternative scenario where the problems that bedevil our region could be debated; that is, art and the academy could foster more direct and spontaneous dialogue with the various areas involved. Herzog arranged for a number of conversations to be published in the foundation magazine, and interviewed ten contemporary Colombian artists who were well known in international circles, as follows: Muñoz, Miguel Ángel Rojas (b. 1946), Juan Manuel Echavarría (b. 1947), José Alejandro Restrepo (b. 1959), Nadín Ospina (b. 1960), Fernando Arias (b. 1963), Oswaldo Maciá (b. 1960), Doris Salcedo (b. 1958), María Fernanda Cardoso (b. 1963), and Sandoval. They were all invited to the Cantos Cuentos Colombianos [Colombian Songs and Stories] (2004) exhibition in Zürich, Switzerland.
Hans-Michael Herzog studied art history, philosophy, and classical archeology at the Universität von Bonn in Germany. In 1984 he produced a thesis on the sculpture of proto-Renaissance Venice for his doctoral studies. Since 1999 he has produced exhibitions and published several books on contemporary art. Since 2000 he has worked as curator and director of the Fundación Daros Latinamerica Collection, both in Zürich and in Río de Janeiro.