In this text written in 1982, Miguel González (born 1950) analyzes the “alternative” vision of the landscape formulated by Colombian artist Alicia Barney (born 1952). With works that addressed the issue of ecology, Barney became one of the first women in Colombia in the eighties to make conceptual works that condemn damage to the environment.
According to González, the exhibition Paisaje 1900–1970 [Landscape 1900?1970] held at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá in 1975 “placed emphasis on new concepts” in the approach to the landscape with conceptual works by Bernardo Salcedo (1939–2007) such as Latifundio Limitado [Limited Latifundia] (1968), Minifundio 2 [Minifundia 2] (1968), and Hectárea [Hectare] (1970); works by Jorge Posada (born 1950) such as Múltiple [Multiple] (1973); and a print entitled Colombia (1975) by Antonio Caro (born 1950) that makes reference to the subject of corn. All of these works exemplify “the expressive, conceptual and formal arguments of the visual languages of the period.” Barney’s works often require on-site research; the collected and packed materials in her installations reveal the archeological quality of worlds that no longer exist in which “memory and the present come together.” Her art is also a wake-up call about the decline of the natural environment.
This document captures the increasingly experimental nature of artist Alicia Barney’s work that includes the construction of objects, interventions in space, environment projects, land art, process art, and ecological activism. It also demonstrates the mindset of the period throughout the world; the power of an interdisciplinary approach; the exchanges between art and sociology, and science and human geography, in which the human being, in society, becomes an agent that transforms the surface of the earth, one whose actions modify it according to his needs and interests.
To further grasp the processes and concepts operative in Barney’s work until 1983, as well as her career during that period, see the interview: “Alicia Barney entre la realidad del arte y la de la vida” [Alicia Barney, Between the Reality of Art and the Reality of Life] (1087494).