Irregular hexagon: Johanna Calle

Opening: 13.9.2012@6pm
Exhibition on view until 11.11.2012
Location: Sàn Art
3 Me Linh
Binh Thanh District
Ho Chi Minh City



Johanna Calle, though trained as an oil painter, has experimented with many ways of understanding drawing, using diverse media and techniques like sewing and knitting on canvas, burning or piercing wood, bending wire, typewriting on paper, or using writing as line. Her works usually have profound psychological implications and often allude to social injustice and violence. In recent works Calle has used text as image, copying pages of newspapers in order to make their content illegible, or realizing intricate drawings with texts taken from historic and literary sources, and the press.

The works included in Irregular Hexagon refer to her practice over the last decade. Calle creates portraits by bending wire, attaching it to a board, and burying it in casein. As the artist sands the entire image, the subjects slowly come to the surface. Detached from the body, these dreamy and delicate portraits appear to float in an indeterminate state, between dream and death. In a country where corpses are often thrown to the rivers -which have become de facto mass graves- these submerged/emerging portraits have particularly strong overtones. Wire is a material that appears prominently in her work, as it can signify scarcity and poverty, being a humble material often used in makeshift constructions. Plants are also central in Calle’s imagery. This is not only because in Colombia the so-called war on drugs is waged mainly on the countryside, but also because the roots of social inequality can be traced back to the moment where the landscape was razed down and its people subjugated, their cosmogony and language replaced by the colonizer’s.

‘Irregular Hexagon: Colombian Art in Residence’ consists of six distinct one-person exhibitions of artists from Colombia, which are hosted by six institutions, located in places as diverse as Morocco, Israel, Australia, Turkey, Singapore and Vietnam. Each artist does a three-week residency at two of the spaces, and each space hosts two artists over the course of a year. These short-term residencies will provide the artists a unique opportunity to engage with the local context, its cultural particularities, its language and its images, subsequently contributing to the creation of additional new work for the exhibition realized at the respective host site. Curator of the project, Mr. José Roca states: ‘[‘Irregular Hexagon’] wants to give visibility to a group of Colombian artists that have already an important body of work, establishing partnerships with independent spaces that have residency programs. This will provide a rare opportunity to engage with the local public, beyond the opportunity to show the work.’ Other participating artists include Mateo López, María José Arjona, Gabriel Sierra, Delcy Morelos and Luz Angela Lizarazo.

Sàn Art is honored to be a part of this international project showcasing established Colombian contemporary art for the first time in Vietnam.

Sàn Art hosted Colombian artist, Ms Luz Angela Lizarazo, in July 2012, as part of ‘Irregular Hexagon’ (12 July – 16 August, 2012)