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This text by Colombian curator and critic Miguel González was among the materials included in the catalogue Rosemberg Sandoval reflexionarte X Festival Internacional de Arte de Cali, published in 2001 in conjunction with an event sponsored by the Museo Concertado program of the Colombian Ministerio de Cultura. González wrote the text on the occasion of the Rosemberg Sandoval retrospective held at the Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia in Cali (2001), where he was curator at the time. The socio-political and artistic reading of Sandoval’s work formulated in this essay focuses on three factors that González considers fundamental: the history and aesthetic behind the materials Sandoval uses, the power of his artistic actions, and the range of media that he employs. On the basis of these factors, the text addresses each of the works in the retrospective, which included Sandoval’s first piece featured at the VII Salón Atenas (1981); Rose-Rose, Sandoval’s performance for the Cuarto Festival de Performance de Cali (2001); and what was, at the time of the exhibition, his most recent production. The catalogue also contains images of works and registers of actions by Sandoval, a brief biography, and a full list of the works on exhibit.
This text and the catalogue in which it is featured provide a detailed look at the production of artist Rosemberg Sandoval (b. 1959) from 1981 to 2001. In addition to analyzing Sandoval’s work as a whole, the text addresses concerns specific to the performance genre, concerns like the powerful potential of actions, the body as material, and the notion of the here-and-now. The text also describes a broader context in which Sandoval can be understood as an installation artist, sculptor, and/or draftsman. The specific notion of the “performance artist” is called into question in this text as it asserts that an artist who makes performances can serve to interrupt social processes and to voice political commentaries.
González argues that behind each of the elements in Sandoval’s work lies a moving or tragic relationship to violence or poverty, as well as a sense of unease or hopelessness, all of which are essential to his work. González’s view of Sandoval’s work, however, gives rise to a single, and symbolic, way of perceiving the artist’s actions. This, in turn, obscures the power of the work, which is precisely what the author sets out to uphold.
Significantly, González places Sandoval’s work on the limit between “the politically incorrect” and art as a place to react to the inhumanity that allows indigence, poverty, and violence to exist. In this text, González points out the importance of Viennese “actionism” to Sandoval’s work, as well as Sandoval’s various collaborations with María Evelia Marmolejo in 1982. A text by Sandoval, which also forms part of the catalogue, places further emphasis on the so-called politically incorrect. Sandoval recognizes the relationship between his work and the work of other artists, which serves to enrich a reading that revolves around “the monolithic apology of violence” that González posits.
A critic and curator, Miguel González (b. 1950) teaches art history at the Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes of Cali. Since 1970, his criticism has been published in a wide range of media. He was the director of Galería Ciudad Solar from 1971 to 1973 and curator of the Museo de Arte Moderno de la Tertulia, in Cali, from 1970 to 2009.