43 Salón (inter) Nacional de Artistas
In 2013, the National Salon of Artists — the longest-running and possibly the best-known showcase for contemporary art in Colombia — celebrates its 43th edition.
Between September 6th and November 3rd, Medellín will host the 43rd Colombian (Inter) National Salon of Artists (43 SNA), an initiative of the Colombian Ministry of Culture in alliance with the Secretary of Civic Culture of the Mayoralty of Medellín.
The first edition of the Salon was held in 1940, and since then the idea behind the show has suffered several important changes. The new edition has made a significant change to its traditional name. By adding (Inter), the Salon acknowledges its openness to the international art scene, a trend already evidenced in the last two editions of the event. The idea is that Salon will be a place where local, national and international artistic expressions meet up and engage in a rich dialogue.
The 43rd (Inter) National Salon of Artists will link and interweave two key concepts. One aspect of the exhibition is condensed in the verb SABER, which means knowledge or to know; that is, the revision of the canon from the point of view of traditional bodies of knowledge, as expressed in their narratives of origins and rootedness. Metaphorically speaking, SABER highlights the importance of a specific context: the traditions linked to a territory and the knowledge developed there, in their entire contingency. It refers to walking with a firm stride; it is the compass for survival.
Next to this knowledge lies DESCONOCER (not to know, to be unaware of, to unlearn), the second conceptual theme of the exhibition. Here we refer to works that acknowledge the suspension of univocal meanings and enable us to open ourselves to doubt, to ambiguity or to the uncertainty that carries within the promise of the new. It is a mental state that allows for the possibility of escape, it allows sailing towards other futures, the emergence of new notions of the present and the reinvention of the past. DESCONOCER is a fruitful state, where paths proliferate and multiply. The refusal to get stuck in a specific place and tradition impels us forward, allows us to accept the expansion necessary to undertake a directionless journey, so that we may explore the immense ocean, jungle or sidereal space of the unknown.
The states of SABER and DESCONOCER may seem contradictory but in the Salon they will create, as in an oxymoron (a figure of speech which combines contradictory terms), a new meaning.
In short, throughout the exhibition, some works will operate within the concept of SABER and others within that of DESCONOCER. Between them, a third category will emerge and, like a shaman, reconcile the dichotomy between what we know and what we do not know using vectors, routes, tensors and other metaphors of mediation.
The 43rd (inter) National Salon of Artists will feature three collective exhibitions and several projects by individual artists, some of which were especially commissioned by the Salon. In this manner, it will feature works that already exist alongside pieces made specifically for it. Approximately 100 Colombian and foreign artists will take part in the shows that will use, alongside the three venues already mentioned, some public spaces, like plazas and the Botanical Garden.
Its academic and pedagogical component will seek to bring the works and the artists closer to the public, allowing other ways of looking at and experiencing art and enabling people of all ages and walks of life to have a direct experience of the pieces selected. To achieve this, the public will have the opportunity to stroll through the exhibition alongside guides or mediators.
However, in SABER DESCONOCER, we would like the public to understand that it is not necessary to attend thousands of workshops and training schools to approach art. We want to invite people to explore the unknown, to leave behind their fears and reservations as they cross the doors of the three exhibits, and dare to explore those spaces that may yield an enriched vision of the world.
In the venues of the Salon there will be a chance to inhabit and be inhabited by artworks and ideas; by expressions, traditional and less traditional, which contemplate things that we know, ones we do not know and the mysterious membranes that separate one category from the other.
The Salon invites us to be emancipated spectators, free to draw our own conclusions, come up with theories or no theories at all, think or not think, give way to emotion or remain distant towards what we see and hear. That is all the Salon will ask of us: to have a free and open-minded attitude to art, to things and their use.