Friday, February 18, 2011

November 1985 Exhibition

In November 1985, Josefina Jacquin makes reference to a complex series of events that occurred in her native Colombia. In this body of work, she not only refers to a chronology of news but also points to a number of socio-political issues.

The characters, colors and silkscreen technique have been carefully chosen to produce this exhibition. November 1985 aesthetics is inspired in the work of Pop artist Andy Warhol. Like Warhol, Jacquin isolates images in a brightly colored background. She also utilizes repetition as a technique to create a collage of different subjects. Unlike Warhol, Jacquin does not choose jet setters from the eighties era but portrays people belonging to a stark reality.

Jacquin manipulates the image of the Take of the Palace of Justice in Bogotá as point of departure to produce the most iconographic of works. Instead of choosing images of Hollywood celebrities, Jacquin depicts the image of her own brother Alfonso Jacquin Gutierrez, one of the participants in the take of the Palace of Justice. This work has a cathartic feeling in nature and it is a poignant homage to Alfonso at once.

From the personal realm, Jacquin takes a leap into the political arena by depicting portraits of public figures associated with this event, the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar and former president Belisario Betancur. By recycling the image of Take of the Palace, Jacquin creates a Triptych forming the yellow, blue and red colors of the Colombian flag. This is a comment to the country as motherland.

In Miss Colombia 1985, Jacquin inspires herself in Warhol’s work Princess Caroline of Monaco, 1983. The sunny, yellow background, the blue eye shadow and the silver jewels make a visual resonance of Warholean quality. By juxtaposing the image of Miss Colombia, Jacquin lightens up thematically this exhibition. This image also reminds us of the role women continue to play as objects of desire and how beauty pageants serve as a distraction to harsher realities.

Omayra de Armero is a touching depiction of a tragic event. This is a votive work to Omayra’s agony due to the Mt. Arenas volcanic eruption. Jacquin makes a pictorial prayer to the memory of an innocent child whose untimely demise captured the media’s attention.

November 1985 is Jacquin’s personal memoir. With this work, she wants to share history so it does not repeat itself. This is a history that is not exclusive to Colombia but it also resonates with other Latin American countries. By using Pop Art, she makes this story palatable. Looking back, the artist wants to come to terms with pain, loss and the past.