Si esto es un artista





The „Si esto es un Artista“ 24hr drawing marathons took place in Lugar a Dudas, Taller 7 and Casa del encuentros of the Museo de Antioquia, Cali and Medellín, Colombia, and in Galeria LDF in Buenos Aires, Argentina 2008.

Books were printed from the drawings and photos of both marathons, and video material of the Medellín marathon was compiled into a short film. The film was screened in the Casa del encuentros of the Museo de Antioquia in Medellín.

As part of the project I also showed a comic of the same title in the form of a comic reading. With the performing help of Catalina Moreno Castaño amongst others. (I’m so sorry that I don’t have everybody’s name anymore!)

I include a text I wrote in 2008 when I introduced the project:


“Si esto es un Artista” (Eng: „If This is an Artist) is based on the title of the book ‘If this is a Man’ 1947, (orig. in IT; ‘Se questo è un uomo’) by Primo Levi. The book gives a detailed account of the author’s survival in Auschwitz and has consequently come to stand as a representative for the conditions that make or break the definition of man as we know it. Levi attempted to analyse why people behaved the way they did at Auschwitz, and why some survived whilst others perished. He makes no judgments; he only presents the evidence and asks the questions.

In prisons or in cases where people are isolated in extreme situations, it seems that amplified forms of behavior are born which in fact are very human but far from what we are comfortable admitting to. Aware that Levi’s analysis presents a rather exaggerated example of my case in point, I am at a lack of a more fitting parallel. Why is it, for example that some artists ‘survive’, and others ‘perish’? There exists a type of mistrust, suspicion and contempt of oneself, between artists, critics, curators and onlookers in the ‘twilight-zone’ we call contemporary art that, at times, can take on ridiculous dimensions.

Upon arrival in Colombia, I became aware of the fact that there was more I wanted to know and learn from the artists here, than what I wanted to communicate to them. It is with this sentiment that I propose my project.

I invite local artists and comic artists to join a 24 hours comic drawing session at ‘Lugar a Dudas’ under the title ‘If this is an artist’. I invite them to exploit the comic medium as a form of communication in which they can for ex. document excerpts of their lives or offer judgement on the conditions under which they practice their profession locally. I want to collect the different individual doubts of the local artists and comic artists and create a printed magazine with the results.

I consider the comic, with its flexible story line, combination of image and text and sense of humor, an irreplaceable medium for reflection. What’s more, in the comic, the author can stand trial and be his own judge within his own work.

The event is thought to function as a platform where exchange, discussion and teamwork can create an atmosphere which is productive, intense and intimate at the same time.

The Participating artists in Cali in Lugar a Dudas were:

María Fernanda Astaíza, Anna Bas Backer, Àngela García, Mónica París, Luto, Carolina Ruiz, Adrian Gaitan, Cindy Muñoz , Jorge Schneider, Ivan Tovar, Camilo, Juan Díaz, Lisseth Balcazar, Carlos Zúñiga, Juan Pablo Solarte and José Garcia.

The participating artists in Medellín in Taller 7 were:
Anna Bas Backer, Pedro Alvarez, Jaime Buitrago, Alejandro Cano, José David Restrepo, Albany Henao, Néstor Herrera, Fernando Montoya, Juana Montoya, M. A. Moreña, Arturo García H. Natalia Ruiz, Tebo, Truchafrita, Seth Wulsin and Fish.
Simultaneously, the three artists joni b, Ernan Ciriani and Powerpaola joined from Galeria LDF in Buenos Aires, Argentina and stayed in contact online.

With the help of Wilson J. Arango and Edicson Orrego, who created the video material.