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 “Jaime Ávila,” written by Natalia Gutiérrez, was published in issue number 110 (June 2007) of the Revista Arte en Colombia. It was a critical and historical review of the work of Jaime Ávila Ferrer. Gutiérrez, an anthropologist, begins her article by describing the artist as a visual researcher and “pedestrian citizen” of Bogotá. She describes Ávila this way in order to identify him as someone who is constantly challenging the concept of the “artist,” and portray him as a relaxed and uncomplicated figure in the Colombian art world. Gutiérrez stresses the sociopolitical importance of Jaime Ávila’s work. She notes that “the development of a geography of a new world order,” an acknowledgment of the city, and the potential for heterogeneous problems are the key themes underlying his work. The article is written as an analysis of the “power” figure as fiction, and a review of the use of the corruption of desire as a strategy for resistance against the global economic imperialist system, which Ávila has been doing in works such as Eat me (2006), IRA (2006), Bombas (2006), La vida es una pasarela (2004), Cuarto mundo (2003), and Los Radioactivos (2001).
In this article, the curator, anthropologist, and critic Natalia Gutiérrez (b. 1954) reviews the visual art of Jaime Ávila (b. 1966), and in a simple, first-person narrative, discusses the political problems and social concerns involved in the Colombian artist’s work. It should be noted that the descriptions of the works and the explanation of the artist’s approach in each case are revealing in terms of the works’ expressive and conceptual nature. This leads to an association of similar concepts and characteristics in the various works, such as “the reorganization of a new world order,” “the power figure as fiction,” and “the corruption of the aesthetic of desire” suggested as an anti-imperialist tool. All these aspects are addressed as the major themes of the artist’s work.
It should be noted that Gutiérrez considers Ávila’s work La vida es una pasarela (2004) of particular importance in those terms. It consists of a series of photographs of young drug addicts, between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five, who live on the streets of the city of Bogotá; the work relies on the contrast between “desolation and partying” as a means of condemning the social indifference of the environment [see doc. no. 1133189]. This work of Ávila’s received critiques of all kinds while it was exhibited at the XXXIX Salón Nacional de Artistas (2004) and in other specialized venues. For example, the website www.esferapublica.org described it as “porno poverty”; some reviewers described it in similar terms because it relied on social problems to gain prestige and recognition in local and international art circles. Gutiérrez prudently distances herself from this situation.
Natalia Gutiérrez (b. 1954), an anthropologist, critic, and curator, is a graduate of the Universidad de los Andes; she earned her master’s degree in the history and theory of art from the Universidad Nacional. She has worked as a teacher at several educational institutions, such as the Universidad de los Andes, the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, and the Universidad Javeriana at Bogotá. She was a member of the jury of the Luis Caballero Prize (2001), and was awarded first prize at the first Historical, Theoretical, or Critical Essay Competition on Colombian Art at the End of the Millennium (2000), for her research project Cruces [see doc. no. 1091801].