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84Palimpsest for peace

Raul Cristancho *1954, Bogotá, Colombia. Lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia

As a visual artist with a large experience on painting I approach photography informed with the pictorial language registered in art history. With this in mind, Through the act of photographing I want to keep my identity as a painter. In fact, my main concern is to explore the limits of representation between painting and photography. The eye of the painter and the sight of the photographer are historically related. Nowadays, I am aware of the pictorial status of digital photography, with its use of big formats, chromatic definitions or alterations, and other possibilities elicited by the pixel.

As many agree, the photographic paper corresponds to the canvas of the painter. Thus, I could use the historical lexicon of painting with its codes of gender, movements and style. Therefore I could single out a typology of images related to abstraction, figuration, expressionism, action painting, etc. This was complemented with my decision of capturing almost always the flatness of the walls, consciously canceling the depth of field to concentrate on rich surfaces of pictorial condition. Therefore, the idea of palimpsest comes to the fore as the result of multiple gestures, scriptures and image rendering gathered on public walls.

My decision to photograph those visual event is not governed by a mere aesthetic drive, but to signal those composites as the result of collective conflicts, community desires or political controversy.

“Palimpsest for peace “is a video piece in which I record a performance where I witness the construction of a collective visual text. Here I use photography and video in order to capture a pictorial action that takes place in its actual development. Here I play out the logistics of palimpsest not as an anonymous construct, but as a collective action consciously motivated.

The process, nevertheless, consist of the free acting of the proper characteristics of a palimpsest: The register in different time spans of different image making and scriptures overlapping to create open and ephemeral narratives. In this particular piece, I invited a varied audience to depict or erase images or texts on a public wall regarding opinions about the Peace Process in Colombia. I initiated the action whit the sentence “PEACE IS POSSIBLE”. From there on, the participants approached the wall according to their own motivations. A kind of plebiscite acted out before the camera without a previous script, animated only by the will, desire, opinions and the emotional drive of the participants. The result is the testimony of the creation of a collective mural painting conformed by graphics, lettering and images, and of its subsequent erasure, containing the thoughts, desire and political motivations of a particular community.

© Sofie Isaksson / OpenART