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In this text, Venezuelan artist Pedro Terán describes the action Nubes para Colombia as an attempt to create an artistic discourse on the basis of the audience-artist-work triangle. Terán explains that the performance employed the monotone sounds of maracas, fabrics in three colors, photographs, and earth, as well as a feathered maraca and Polaroid photographs. According to the artist’s description, the action culminated with an abrupt silence during which he handed the audience Polaroid shots of clouds.
This description of Nubes para Colombia was written by that work’s creator—artist Pedro Terán (b. 1943), one of the most important figures in conceptual art from Venezuela. The text is crucial to exploring and interrogating non-object art from the country.
Nubes para Colombia was initially conceived as part of an exhibition of contemporary art from Venezuela to be held in Bogotá, but it was instead the culminating piece at the event Acciones frente a la Plaza held in Caracas in 1981—an event conceived by Terán, though Marco Antonio Ettedgui acted as its coordinator. On October 17 and 18, Terán performed the thirty-minute-long action in Gallery 3B of the Museo de Bellas Artes. The choice of venue is significant since the aim of the action was to demystify museums, turning them into a part of the action’s narrative or into a support. In 1976, the artist had addressed the audience-artist-work triad that forms the basis of the artistic process in Bienvenido, a performance that took place in the framework of Blancas paredes, a show at the Museo de Bellas Artes. That time, Terán proposed an exercise that reflected on the interrelationships between audience, artist, and museum. With Nubes para Colombia, the prime venue for the celebration of “classic” artistic process is disrupted with another sort of ceremony, a shamanic ritual that suggests the birth of a new language (non-object art) at the very heart of “tradition.” In the words of Calzadilla, the experience “restores art’s power of communication.”