In the text “Reflexiones, acciones y artefactos. Obras Raúl Naranjo 1997?2008,” Colombian artist Raúl Naranjo (b. 1968) puts into words the conceptual and practical reasons that he decided to work in the performance medium. Naranjo acknowledges in this text—a declaration of sorts— that violence is a basic theme in his work. He explains that he envisions the body in relation to the concepts of circulation and of writing, a formulation with socio-political connotations given the invisibility of the body in representations in the mass media, technology, and the State. In this statement, Naranjo discloses his stance on the use of the body as strategy for social protest and as vital rhythm (specifically in relation to his own body), as well as the re-conceptualization of gender issues in times of war.
The images of Naranjo’s performances that accompany the text are crucial insofar as they facilitate a comparison of the conceptual origin of each piece and its visual form. The third section discusses the use of iron structures as “prostheses” either to expand the artist’s body or to restrict its movement. The use of this formal resource runs through Naranjo’s work; it is central, Naranjo explains, to the conception and production of his most recent piece, Artefactos que practican el cuerpo: el escarabajo (2008). Naranjo forms part of a generation of artists active in the nineties who used performance as an activist strategy to address social issues. Naranjo’s work, like that of many others, is often steeped in ritualistic connotations. Ricardo Arcos-Palma’s study of this generation of artists is pertinent to this text [see 1129750 and 1132128].
Raúl Ernesto Naranjo Luna has a degree in the visual arts from the Academia Superior de Artes of Bogotá (ASAB). His work has been featured in exhibitions such as Actos de fabulación (2000) [1099666, 1099681, and 1129458] curated by Consuelo Pabón (b. 1961), and at venues such as L'Œil de Poisson gallery in Quebec (Canada). He was awarded the Carolina Oramas grant to study abroad. He is currently (2010) a Ph.D. student at the Universidad de Granada in Spain.