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Inauguración en Faría+Fábregas de Miguel Ángel Rojas – Recordando a John

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Miguel Ángel Rojas. Recordando a John (Remembering John)

Opens: Thursday 22 September 2011

Closes: Sunday 30 October 2011


Calle Choroní, Qta. Los Cuatro # 2

Urbanización Chuao

Caracas 1060 -Venezuela

Tel./ Fax + 58212 993-0536

Cel. + 58414 140-2655

Opening times:

Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 2 pm.

Sunday 11 am to 2 pm.

Faría+Fábregas Galería is pleased to present as of 22 September 2011 Recordando a John (Remembering John), a solo exhibition by the renowned Colombian conceptual artist Miguel Ángel Rojas. The show brings together a group of works created between 1997 and the present, which encompass a variety of different media, including video, installation and photography.

The starting point of the show is a well-known portrait of John Lennon, a member of British band The Beatles, which Rojas has reworked by replacing Lennon with the image of a model who died from drug abuse. This piece serves as a catalyst for set of reflections that emerge from the connection Rojas makes between celebrity culture and drug consumption, on the basis that “the influence of The Beatles produced drug consumption on a massive scale”.

Drugs have been the focus of Rojas’ artistic enquiry for more than two decades and the exhibition features the first piece that he created using the coca plant as primary material. The installation Broadway (1997) recreates a line of ants, in which coca leaves are arranged along the wall of the gallery, perhaps to suggest the flows and exchanges that take place in the world of drug trafficking. Rojas points out that his interest in the topic was initially motivated by his own life experience: “I had a period of cocaine consumption that almost destroyed me. I also decided to sublimate the drug trauma through art. With so many things happening with drug trafficking, I used to wonder why nothing had been done in this country [Colombia].”[1] Rojas’ works thus go beyond the context of his personal experience in order to point out the economic and geopolitical relationships in play and where he singles out the market of drug consumption in the United States.

The artist appropriates referents from a shared imaginary and redeploys them in a critical context. This is the case, for instance, of Go On (2001), a piece that features an outline of a cowboy, “an American icon” in Rojas’ words, that the artist creates by cutting out and arranging small circles of coca leaves. In a similar sense, his most recent works, like Malos hábitos, malas leyes (Bad Habits, Bad Laws) produced in 2009, bring the referents presented in his research up to date. This work is an installation made up of two stop-motion videos in which Rojas continues to use cut out coca leaves and dollar bills, which are re-composed in order to write the words “gatillo” (trigger) and the name “Downey Jr.”, the surname of the Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr., who in recent years became famous for his drug consumption. Nevertheless, despite the specificity of his references, Rojas’ work does not entail a moral judgment. Rather, its suggests the need for a change in the approach taken to how drugs are produced and consumed in order to avoid the conflict inflicted on Colombia. “Although my experience with drugs was disastrous I’m not interested in saying whether it’s good or bad, but in being fair about the situation. Because if there was no demand, production would not exist and Colombia wouldn’t have to pay with war for what is a recreational habit in the developed world.”



Rojas was born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1946, where he currently lives and works. He studied architecture at the Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá and Fine Art at the Universidad Nacional, Bogota. He began his artistic career in 1973 when he trained with important figures from Colombia’s art scene, such as Eduardo Serrano and Luis Caballero. He had his first solo exhibition in 1975 and since then his work has received exposure on a worldwide scale. Among his most notable solo exhibitions are: Must we meet like this? Casas Riegner Gallery. Miami, USA (2004); La Cama de Piedra, Museo Nacional, Bogota (2002); Pacal y Pascual, Museo del Chopo, Mexico City (1995); Bio, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota (1990); Miguel Angel Rojas, Museo de Arte Moderno, Cartagena (1990); Miguel Angel Rojas obra en proceso, Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellin, Colombia (1988); Bio, Intar Latin-American Gallery, New York, (1985).

His long list of group shows includes the following: Sous influence – Narcochic Narcochoc, Musée International d’Art Modeste, Séte, France (2004); – The American Effect, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, (2003); Colombia 2003 – Oscar Muñoz, José Alejandro Restrepo, Miguel Ángel Rojas, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires (2003); Colombia Visible e Invisible, Galería Fernando Pradilla, Madrid (2001); Photographic Memory and Other Shots In The Dark, Galería de la Raza, San Francisco (2003); Define Contex, Apex Gallery, New York (2000); Re-Aligning Vision, Miami Art Museum, Miami (1999) and Museo del Barrio, New York (1997); Arte, Política y Religión, Concourse Gallery, Barbican Centre, London (1996); A Propósito de Colombia, Kulturhaus Lateinamerika, Cologne, Germany (1995); V Bienal de La Habana, Museo de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba (1994); Latin American Artists of The Twentieth Century, Museum of Modern Art, New York, (1993); Romper los Márgenes, Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas (1993); Eco Art, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro (1992); Arte Contemporáneo Colombiano, Pabellón de Artes, Expo Sevilla 92, Seville, Spain (1992);  Images of Silence, Museum of Modern Art of Latin America, Washington DC (1989);  Un Cuerpo Marginal, Center for Photography, Paddington, Australia (1987); IV Bienal de Sidney, Sydney, Australia (1982).

Rojas has won the following prizes: Prize, San Juan Latin American Biennale (1979); León Dobrzinsky Prize (1981); Prize, XXX National Art Contest, Medellin (1986); Highly Commended, V American Graphic Arts Biennale, Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali (1988); Prize, XXXII National Art Contest, Centro de Convenciones, Cartagena (1989); Prize, Riogrande National Contest, Antioquia (1989); Commission to create an artwork for the new French Embassy, Bogota (1991).

His work is represented in important public collections, such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota; Museo de Arte Moderno, Cartagena; Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas; Museo Lam, Havana; Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City; Museo Nacional, Bogota; Museo de Arte, Universidad Nacional, Bogota and Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogota.


[1] All quotes taken from the publication Cantos, cuentos colombianos: Contemporary Colombian Art. (Zurich: Daros-Latinoamerica A.G., 2004). Interview with the artist by Hans-Michael Herzog.



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