PROXYCO is pleased to present Flight Patterns, an exhibition of works by Juan Fernando Herrán that includes photography and video. The works on view explore the phenomenon and legacy of the sicario (the hitman), especially the construction of a psychological and social identity, a way of life, and a form of power, which confers prestige in a given area and in a certain social context, and in which the motorcycle has a huge symbolic value.
The photographs in the series Modalidades de vuelo (Flight Patterns) present contemporary youth on their motorcycles, bursting out of alleyways, corners, and paths of poverty stricken neighborhoods. The speed of the motorcycle is a potent symbol in Colombia that resonates with young people who long for the freedom and independence a bike represents. A motorcycle rider, like a hitman, has escaped a quotidian asphyxiation—a life without economic or social alternatives.
In the photographs, the riders’ appearance is sudden, blurred and ghost-like. Their uncertainty contrasts with the sharpness of their surroundings. The images show the hallucinatory and addictive experience of speed, vertigo, and exaltation that provide an escape from disillusionment and indifference.
Through interviews with former hitmen, the documentary La Vuelta (Doing the rounds) examines the relationship between the hitman and his motorbike from both a historical and psychological perspective. The narratives told in the film reconstruct the cultural context of drug trafficking in the late eighties and early nineties, tracing how this way of life formed a social identity related to a persona associated with power and prestige whose legacy lives on.
Juan Fernando Herrán (Bogotá,1963)
This is Herrán’s first solo show in New York City. Over the past three decades, he has become known for his multifaceted practice that encompasses photography, installation, sculpture, and video that explore the cultural, social, and political aspects of Colombian life.
The subjects he has addressed include opium poppy agriculture and exploitation, the financial relationship between the Cali Cartel and the Samper presidential campaign, the self-construction of certain areas of Colombian cities, the Medellín motorcycle culture, and the importance of the figure of the hero in the construction of national identities.
Herrán’s work has been exhibited in international museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Palais de Tokyo, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston; and Palacio de Velázquez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. He has also participated in the Biennales of Venice, Liverpool, Habana, and São Paulo. Herrán has received numerous awards including the Prix Pictet Commission, Switzerland, 2014; Festival Off Award, FotoEspaña, Madrid, 2007; and the 11th Beca Nacional de Creación, Ministry of Culture, Bogotá, 2000.
His recent solo exhibitions include:
Piedra y polvo, Centre d´Art contemporain La halle des bouchers, Vienne, France, 2017; Ni héroes ni mártires, Museo Amparo, Puebla, 2017; Flujos Deseantes, National University of Colombia Art Museum, Bogotá, 2016; Héroes Mil, Medellín Museum of Modern Art, Medellin, 2016; Dominios de Vértigo, Nueveochenta Contemporary Art, Bogotá, 2016; Héroes Mil, Monumento a Los Héroes, Luis Caballero Award, Bogotá, 2015; La Vuelta, Nueveochenta Contemporary Art, Bogotá, and Dizzying Domains, Ideobox, Miami, 2014; Posición Horizontal, in Notes on a city, Solo Projects, ArtBo, Bogotá, 2012; Espina Dorsal, NC Arte, Bogotá, 2011.
Herrán received his MFA in Sculpture from Chelsea College of Art in London and is currently a professor in the Department of Art at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá.
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