This essay by José Ignacio Roca (b. 1962) is important because Roca, one of the most outstanding curators and critics in Colombia, discusses key topics through which to interpret the work of the nine important contemporary Colombian artists that he chose to include in Face Value (2002). These topics include identity, pornography, art and art institutions, and the gay subculture. This approach also helps to establish connections between the videos produced by these nine artists and those produced by artists working in other countries or other genres.
The essay also suggests another approach to studying the works shown in Face Value when it says that: “In general, [the selected works] develop an interesting narrative on the concept of identity in terms of its social, sexual, or political specificity while refusing to be pigeonholed into any expectations concerning what might be considered a “Colombian style.”
Face Value was an exhibition of videos that Roca presented at the Latin American Freewaves segment of the L.A. Freewaves video and new media festival in Los Angeles, California. It included works by the Colombian artists Fernando Arias (b. 1963), François Bucher (b. 1972), Santiago Echeverry (b. 1970), Juan Fernando Herrán (b. 1963), Oscar Muñoz (b. 1951), Lucas Ospina (b. 1971), José Alejandro Restrepo (b. 1959), Carlos Salazar, and Sandra Bermúdez who was born in the United States (b. 1968).
José Ignacio Roca was the director of temporary exhibitions at the Banco de la República from 1994 to 2008. In 1998, he created Columna de Arena [Column of Sand], a website where, since 2005, he has published articles about Colombian and Latin American contemporary art. He is a member of VOTI, The Union of the Imaginary, an online forum for the discussion of curatorial projects. He is currently the artistic director of the quadrennial exhibition of contemporary prints, Filagraphika 2010, to be held in Philadelphia, USA.