The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
The article “Artista de inflar” [An Inflating Artist] provides a brief biography of the Colombian architect and artist Carlos Blanco. It lists the highlights of his art career: (i) the long and winding road that took him from architecture to art, working as a carpenter, advertising man, and illustrator along the way; (ii) his experience in Madrid, where he earned a PhD in Architecture at the Universidad Complutense in 1987 and witnessed an ETA bombing: “I remember the wind blowing in through the window,” he says, “then the light, and finally the sound.” That event taught him about the potent force of air, which he began to use in his art, creating large inflatable pieces; (iii) his participation in events such as EXPOARTE Guadalajara (Mexico, 1996); Salón Nacional de Artistas [National Artists Salon] (Colombia, 1992); Soho Arts Festival (New York, 1993); Gasworks/inIVA International Residency program, where he presented La Cruda Realidad [Raw Reality] (2001); and the Prague Biennial in the Czech Republic, 2005. The final item mentioned in the article is an exhibition at the Galería La Cometa (Bogotá, 2005
There is very little documentary information about the work of Carlos Blanco (b. 1961). His career began in the late 1980s when several major Colombian cities fell prey to “narco-terrorist” attacks and he sought to convey his reaction to those events in his art. His work is interesting because of his very unusual use of air, which he “traps” in inflatable pieces of many different shapes, such as suit cases, clouds, wings, or even “bomb cars” like the one he presented at the exhibition Erase una vez [Once Upon a Time] (Galería Casas Riegner, Bogotá, 2007). These works prompt reflections on change, displacement, migration, and death because all it takes is the release of the air for the piece (which becomes portable) to “occupy” a different space. His works have therefore “occupied” and “unoccupied” many galleries and public spaces, including the Venice Biennial (solo exhibition, Italy, 1993) and Documenta IX (solo exhibition, Kassel, Germany, 1992).
This article includes unreferenced photographs of two of the artist’s works; in each one the technique and the allusion to the complex issue of Colombia’s violent conflict are recurring themes. The first photograph is of Cultivo Intensivo [Intensive Crop] (2002), a static group of air-filled yellow bodies with poppies on their chests (presented at the Galería Diners in 2003). The second photograph is of Los inmigrantes [The Immigrants] (1996), a huge inflatable bottle with a displaced family in it, suggestive of shipwreck survivors. The size of Blanco’s pieces and their obvious reference to commercial inflatables represent an open invitation to the public. At the Proyecto SALE (galería ASAB, 2000) viewers were invited to have their photo taken wearing an air-filled jacket. At the Érase una vez exhibition (Galería Casas Riegner, Bogotá, 2007) he created a traffic jam on the Carrera Séptima when he rolled out a gigantic ball decorated with military camouflage colors. And, finally, at La Maleta [túnel del tiempo] [The Suitcase (Time Tunnel)] (2000), an enormous air-filled installation was placed in the Plaza de Bolívar in Bogotá, where passersby were encouraged to walk through an interior passageway filled with images that evoked days gone by.