This text contributes to the analysis and understanding of the formal and conceptual concerns operative in the work of Colombian artist Víctor Robledo (b. 1949). It argues that, from early in Robledo’s artistic research, light has been both a formal element and an essential theme. Three features of the exhibition Fotografiar lo invisible (2001) evidence this concern: a rejection of the photographic image as reflection of reality, an abandonment of the subject, and a strategic use of “blurry images” for the sole purpose of capturing light.
José Ignacio Roca (b. 1962) cites German philosopher Walter Benjamin’s Brief History of Photography (1936) as he explains how “the lack of focus” in Robledo’s photographs allows them to “capture ephemeral reflections.” On this basis, Roca argues that Robledo’s work eschews any attempt whatsoever to resemble reality. What Robledo attempts to do, rather, is take portraits of “light” as object, thus yielding images of sensations that cannot be translated or readily identified. On the basis of a parallel between 19th-century “pictorial photography” and Robledo’s work—both of which seem to pursue existence as pictorial bodies—Roca intelligently and intuitively shows the reader the limit between photography as artistic expression and photography as pursuit of realism. It is in this context that Roca quotes Robledo’s statements on the construction of the photographic image as, on the one hand, a sort of “delving into” nature to become part of it and, on the other, as “a distant region where memory and imagination are bound.”
Colombian artist and photographer Víctor Robledo has a degree in architecture from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. His solo exhibitions in Colombia include Atmosféricas, held in the context of Fotología 6 (2008), and Umbrales, at Artecámara in ARTBO (2008). His exhibition Naturalmente received a mention at the 2003 edition of the Premio Luis Caballero. At present (2010), he lives and works in Bogotá.
José Ignacio Roca is a curator and critic specialized in Latin American art. His curatorial projects include Fantasmagoría (2007?2009) and Traces of Friday (2003). He was co-curator of the XXVII São Paulo Biennial (2006). At present (2010), he is the artistic director of Philagrafika, the print triennial held in Philadelphia whose 2010 edition will be held at a number of different venues.