The work of Beatriz González (Bucaramanga, 1938), widely regarded as one of the seminal artists from the Colombian art scene, occupies a unique place in the history of Latin American art — not only is she a pioneer of Pop Art, but also, almost without calculation, an incisive and coherent chronicler of recent Colombian history. Setting out from the anonymous quote “art relates what history cannot” — used frequently by the artist — her work orbits around memory; memory not as a pretext for nostalgia, but, on the other end of the scale, something tightly bound to the present. González draws inspiration from the mass media, engaging in dialogue with popular narratives and formal painting, or appropriating press photographs, reinterpreting them through drawing, painting, graphic art and sculpture.
Furthermore, González has developed her expansive artistic career in parallel with other significant work in curatorship, theory and pedagogy. By way of the exhibition and research projects she has displayed in institutions such as the Museo Nacional de Colombia, the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango and the Bogotá Museo de Arte Moderno, where she was appointed director of the Education Department in the mid 1970s, her influence on a large number of Colombian artists, critics and curators is tangible. She has raised awareness of the need to frame museums and exhibitions inside the context of spaces from which to pass on knowledge — moving away from the idea of mere exhibition spaces — and to view the public as an active partner with whom direct and open dialogue must be established wherever possible.
This exhibition, curated by María Inés Rodríguez and co-organised with the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, presents a selection of works which number around 150 and capture the sixty odd years of the artist’s career.
Beatriz González’s most recent exhibitions — as well as her presence at the last documenta 14, in 2017 – include Beatriz González. La Comedia y la tragedia. Retrospectiva 1948-2010, Museo de arte Moderno, Medellín (Medellín, 2011-2012); Empatía, Casas Riegner (Bogotá, 2012); Artevida, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, 2014); the 8th Berlin Biennial (Berlin, 2014); Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960-1980, MoMA (New York, 2015); The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern (London, 2015); Todo sobre la mesa, Casas Riegner (Bogotá, 2015); Lo Museu que va a venir (The Coming Museum), Fórum Eugénio de Almeida (Évora, 2015) and El segundo original, Museo La Tertulia (Cali, 2016).