This article is important insofar as it contributes to the debate on a few issues crucial to performance practices in Colombia: the notion of “the act”; the alternative and subversive way that performance emerged on the visual arts scene; and the impossibility of faithfully “registering” a performance piece since it depends on the specific time and space in which it occurs. On the basis of these qualities, Humberto Junca (b. 1968) discusses the shortcomings of the devices that were designed for the show and for the sale of work by Rosemberg Sandoval (b. 1959). Indeed, those shortcomings are not limited to this exhibition but recur symptomatically in the visual arts in Colombia and abroad.
Notwithstanding the description and later commentary on the work Mugre, Junca emphasizes Sandoval’s consistency, perseverance, and often confrontational political posture as he makes direct and visually powerful work that questions and comments on social and moral issues. Sandoval operates in a limbo between the consequences of a politically incorrect action and the use of that action to raise the consciousness of a public anesthetized by the violence experienced on a daily basis over the course of recent decades. Although in Junca’s view, Sandoval is one of the most transgressive performance artists active in Colombia, the devices used in this show reveal another Sandoval, one complacent before an institution whose aims are ultimately the very opposite of the ones pursued by the artist and by general performance practices. Therefore Junca views this show as a double-edged sword that casts doubt on the realm of the political while revealing the limitations of what can actually happen within the context of art institutions.
Humberto Junca has a master’s degree in the visual arts from the Universidad Nacional. He was awarded the fourth Premio Luis Caballero and the fourth prize granted to young artists by the Alianza Colombo-Francesa in Bogotá. He is currently a professor at the art schools of the Universidad de los Andes and the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano (both in Bogotá), as well as a regular contributor to the magazine Arcadía, produced by the Semana publishing house.