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By way of a brief interview, this text announces the opening of Bernardo Salcedo’s exhibition, Un mes de desahogos pasionales, at UD gallery in Parque de la Independencia in Bogotá. It explains that once the show is over, the works in it will travel to the Bienal de Córdoba in Argentina. In the interview, Salcedo mentions some of the objects in the exhibition, including Curación de Bojacá [Bojacá Treatment], a work that had been part of the XIX Salón Propal de Artistas Nacionales in Colombia. Salcedo clarifies that three years after beginning his career, he envisions a greater commitment to his work and a shift away from what is simply amusing.


This short article sheds light on the position that artist Bernardo Salcedo (1939–2007) occupied in the Colombian art scene just three years after the start of his career. His exhibition at the UD gallery is presented as the opening of the annual cultural calendar, calling attention to an artist, at the age of twenty-seven, who was already a force in the revolution taking place in Colombian art at the time. Indeed, this privileged position was due to his work and his bold opinions, which meant that from early on he was widely discussed and often interviewed. In 1964, when he was still an architecture student, Salcedo had participated in the Salón Intercol de Arte Joven in Bogotá. His work in that show (collages made with clippings of illustrations and logos) were the first in the country to clearly bear the influence of Pop Art and as a result, they gave rise to a sizable reaction. In 1965, due to the encouragement of Fernando Martínez Sanabria (1925–1991), a Spanish architect living in Colombia, and of Marta Traba (1923–1983), an Argentine critic also living in the country at the time, Salcedo began to exhibit with young Colombian artists. His sculpture-like constructions were immediately considered works of Pop Art, Surrealism, and Dadaism. In 1966, he had his first exhibition at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá, and also played a central role in the polemic that altered and expanded the traditional definition of painting in Colombia. This shift happened when Salcedo was awarded first prize at the Premio de Pintura Dante Alighieri, organized by Italian embassies in different countries, for a box construction entitled Lo que Dante nunca supo, Beatriz amaba el control de la natalidad [What Dante Never Knew: Beatriz Loved Birth Control]. In the face of the controversy unleashed by the decision, Salcedo sought legal counsel from lawyer Belisario Betancur (b. 1923), who would later become the president of Colombia (1982–86).

María Iovino M.
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Casa Editorial El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia