This text provides an introduction to concepts key to understanding the theoretical research and curatorial vision formulated by Juan Fernando Herrán (b. 1963) and, hence, his selection of artists to participate in Proyecto Pentágono [see 1102611]. Though a key piece, this text is a fragment that operates in conjunction with the project’s other curatorial texts, such as Consuelo Pabónon’s philosophically informed piece on performance [1099666 and 1099681]; curator María Iovino’s piece on drawing ; theorist and cultural manager Javier Gil and journalist María Claudia Parias’s piece on art and fashion; and a general introduction by Miguel Ángel Rojas Sotelo .
In his text, Herrán formulates a close tie between image technologies and the theories of Michael Foucault, whose ideas Herrán would develop in later writing and research such as Papaver Somniferum (2005). Here, Herrán cites Foucault’s book The Order of Things in his discussion of how complex systems of representation like photography and technology attempt to appropriate reality even if they revolve around power relations and further control of aspects of life with serious implications for culture.
Herrán forms part of a generation of artists that reformulated the role of the artist by focusing on the study of documents and archives. Their strategy entails an interpretation of certain social phenomena for the sake of enriching artistic practice.
Herrán is a visual artist with a degree from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. Thanks to the “Jóvenes Talentos del Banco de la República” scholarship, he did studies towards a master’s degree in art at Chelsea College of Art in London. Since 1992, his work has been exhibited internationally at biennials as well as group and solo shows. Herrán’s distinctions include: honorary mention at the Salón Nacional (1990); Burston Prize for Sculpture at the Chelsea College of Art in London (1993); a fellowship from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation of New York (1994); “Jóvenes Talentos del Banco de La República” fellowship (1992-94); XI Beca Nacional de Creación, Ministerio de Cultura (2000); finalist for the Premio Luis Caballero, Instituto Distrital de Cultura y Turismo, Bogotá (2003); Premio Festival Off, Photoespaña, Magda Bellotti gallery, Madrid (2007); and artist-in-residence, Encuentro Internacional de Medellín (2007). He has published a number of texts and he is currently (2009) an associate professor in the Programa de Artes Plásticas at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá.