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    José Antonio Suárez Londoño : un asunto privado / por Beatríz González
    Bogotá, Colombia : Ediciones Taller Arte Dos Gráfico, 2000
    p. 3- 32 : ill.
    Book/Pamphlet – Essays
    González. Beatriz. “José Antonio Suárez Londoño: un asunto privado.” In José Antonio Suárez Londoño: un asunto privado, 3–32. Exh. cat., Bogotá, Colombia: Ediciones Taller Arte Dos Gráfico, 2000.
    artists; Colombian; drawings; miniatures (paintings)

Beatriz González reviews eight miniature drawings by José Antonio Suárez Londoño. Based on formal descriptions, she links each little drawing to specific moments in European art or science and to biographical facts about the Colombian artist. Suárez Londoño’s method consists of a regular daily work routine, patience, precision, and sharpness; it is a kind of ritual that helps to pass the time drawing on “modest sized” sheets of paper. This collection of eight drawings indicates the importance of art history in his work, as well as photography and the rising tide of violence caused by drug trafficking in Medellín, his native city. The well-known character created by the Irish writer Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) symbolizes Suárez Londoño’s interest when he compares two contrasting scales: for example, the tiny revolver held between a thumb and index finger in Figure 12. This drawing, and the others included here, prompt reflections on the Gulliver-artist’s motivation as he approaches the intimacy of each little sheet of paper.     


This essay, written by the Colombian artist Beatriz González (b. 1938) and published on the occasion of the exhibition of works by the artist José Antonio Suárez Londoño (b. 1955) at the Galería Sextante in Bogotá (2000), is not just a good review of the small-scale works at the exhibition; it is also a form of writing that reveals the author’s artistic training. The essay reports on the details of the works in such a way that the description of the drawings functions as a bridge that connects two worlds: a macro perspective of art history and scientific inventions, on one hand, and a micro scale that concerns the artist’s life and his work method on the other.


Ever since 1977, González has alternated between her art and her research into art history, caricature, and museology. While she was director of the Education Department at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogotá (1976-1983) and curator of the art and history collections at the Museo Nacional de Colombia (1989-2004), she published several articles that are now key resources because of the information they provide on nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists and caricaturists, rescuing them from undeserved obscurity. Her articles include: Ramón Torres Méndez, entre lo pintoresco y la picaresca [Between the Picturesque and the Picaresque] (1985), Roberto Páramo, pintor de la sabana [Painter of the Savanna] (1986), José Gabriel Tatis Ahumada, un pintor comprometido [A Committed Painter] (1987), José María Espinosa, un abanderado del arte y la patria [A Standard-Bearer of Art and Country] (1994), ¡Quédese quieto! [Stay Still!], Gaspar-Félix Tournachon “Nadar” 1820-1910 (1995), and Andrés de Santa María (1860-1945), un precursor solitario [A Solitary Harbinger] (1998). She also wrote other articles about Colombian caricaturists. And, after 25 years of research, she finally produced the exhibition La caricatura en Colombia a partir de la Independencia [Caricature in Colombia after Independence] (December 2, 2009 to June 15, 2010) in the Casa Republicana at the Luis Ángel Arango Library. 


In 1984, after he returned from Geneva, Switzerland where he studied at the École Superieure d’Arts Visuelles (1978-1984), Suárez Londoño started drawing at a time—the 1980s—when it had rather gone out of style. He took a semester of Veterinary courses, then some Biology classes (1974-1977) at the Universidad de Antioquia (Medellín, Colombia), which may have influenced the microscopic style that he combined with his “poetic imagination” in hundreds of sketches in little notebooks that he produced with the devotion and patience of a “Franciscan spirit.”

Katia González Martínez
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Professor Beatriz González, Bogotá, Colombia