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ALBERTO BARAYA. Expedición siciliana

09/05/2019 - 11/06/2019
The Fernando Pradilla Gallery holds the second individual exhibition in Madrid of the Colombian artist Alberto Baraya (Bogotá, 1968) entitled A Sicilian Expedition. If in 2015 Baraya presented in this space his work Berlin Expedition, produced for the 8th Contemporary Art Biennial of Berlin in 2014, the new project, A Sicilian Expedition, is preceded by its exhibition in the Conservatory of La Carolina del Orto Botánico de Palermo during the recent edition of the European biennial MANIFESTA 12, held in June 2018. Two important appointments for international contemporary art in which Baraya has deployed his project of collecting and expanding the Archive of the Herbarium of Artificial Plants built from different expeditions in rural and urban areas around the world. Alberto Baraya has made the trip, understood as expedition and exploration, a working method and an essential thematic source of his artistic project. With the eyes of a passerby involved, he has made a sort of round by cities, pointing out the aesthetic bases of his appreciation of the territory. The strategy of this artist fits into the practices of cataloging, archival construction or taxonomic classification that refer to the methods of those scientific expeditions of the eighteenth century. Baraya questions the scientific paradigm itself and draws new categories for the interpretation of everyday aesthetic acts. We are witnessing the construction of a personal herbarium, conceived from fake plants, elaborated industrially or handcrafted in plastic, fabric, paper, ceramics and wire, which are collected and documented by the artist. Each finding is submitted to the analysis of Baraya in the form of traditional botanical sheet, which includes descriptions, drawings, photographs, collages that record the work procedure while documenting the data of the collection -place, date and name of the collector- and the uses of artificial plants in different situations and contexts. As the artist explains, "the Sicilian Expedition begins in the city of Palermo and extends through significant geographical points around the island. Although it is not a detailed or exhaustive route, we have approached different places to make an acknowledgment to establish the presence of artificial taxa in Agrigento, Porto Empedocle, Corleone, Piana degli Albanesa, Santa Stefano de Camastra, Milazzo, Cefalù, Messina, the volcano Etna, Taormina and Caltagirone, among others, [...] making a particular emphasis on the presence of artificial flowers on religious altars, constructions of adoration of spiritual beings or memorials in honor of loved ones ". Due to its condition of connecting with different forms of knowledge production and not only by the qualities of the form, the work of Alberto Baraya has been included in various curatorial projects that address concepts on the construction of the artificial or the apparently natural; relationships of man with nature, contemporary notions about the landscape, etc. Thus, different works of this artist are currently exhibited in several exhibitions in Europe: People and Plants at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, an exhibition that analyzes the relationship between people and plants from a perspective of necessary interconnection; Bloosomed and Captured in the Galerie Stihl Waiblingen, which deals with the presence of flowers in photography from their changing representations and symbolic meanings; o Flora at the Stavanger Art Museum in Norway, a project focused on the use that artists make of plants and flowers when combined with themes such as botany, genre, power, order / disorder and harmony. And soon, at the Fundación Cerezales in León, a selection of Baraya's works will be shown within the project curated by Jorge Blasco Mesuras, which will bring together works and documents by artists who reflect on the possibility and impossibility of measuring things and the territories that surround them. Alberto Baraya graduated from the Faculty of Arts of the National University of Colombia and has studied at the Universidad Autónoma and Universidad Complutense of Madrid, pursuing a Master's Degree in Aesthetics and Art Theory, and in Multimedia, respectively. He works since 1992 in various media, highlighting photography, video and installations. In 2015 he was part of the Naturaleza Nominal exhibition project, curated by Jaime Cerón and presented at the Centro de Arte 2 de mayo in Madrid, in which provided a reflection on the way Nature is defined in contemporary cultural representation, subject to many political, social or economic interests. Baraya's work has been exhibited throughout the world in various individual and collective exhibitions. Noteworthy are the exhibitions presented at the Centro Conde Duque in Madrid (Tejedores de agua, 2015), the Cultural Center of São Paulo (Ideal Project # 2, 2015), the BUDA Cultural Center in Kortrijk, Belgium (The green light District, 2014 ) or the exhibition Naturalism / Artificiality: Expeditions and Research of the Herbarium of Artificial Plants presented in 2013 at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum of the International University of Florida. He has also participated in different art biennials such as MANIFESTA 12 (Palermo, 2018), 8th International Contemporary Art Biennial of Berlin (2014), International Biennial of Art of Cuenca, Ecuador (2011), Venice Biennial (2009), 27th Bienal de São Paulo (2006), Global Tour W139 (Amsterdam, 2005) and Tokyoramas at the Palais de Tokio in Paris (2001). His work has been part of collective exhibitions at the Museum of the Bronx in New York (2014), Itau Cultural in São Paulo (2014), Fundación Colección Jumex in Mexico City (2013) and Gassworks, London (2009), among others. Together with the Colombian artist Jonathan Hernández, he presented the project Juego Doble in 2005 at the CONACULTA electronic art experimentation and research center in collaboration with the Cultural Center of Spain i