The origin of the text “Invitación al sacrificio” is an interview by journalist Alejandro Torres with artist Rolf Abderhalden (b. 1956) about his works A la mesa and Dormitorio (both from 1998). Torres discusses the experimental language developed by the Mapa Teatro collective and by Abderhalden, referring to the artist’s statements in the interview that reinforce his analysis. The document provides a critical vision of theater narratives, the use of space and theatrical staging (which, in the work discussed here, combines aspects of the museum, theater, performance art, and spaces of daily life), the recursive use of materials, the presence or allusion to the body as a form of expression, and exhibition logic. On the basis of these crucial elements in Mapa Teatro’s language, Torres theorizes about experimental Colombian art.
Founded in 1984, Mapa Teatro is an experimental art collective coordinated by Heidi Abderhalden (b. 1962) and her brother Rolf. Their interdisciplinary approach combines theater, performance art, installation, and new media. By means of interdisciplinary projects, the collective, whose concerns are akin to those of the Ecole Française des Arts Vivants, has developed a visual language that has had great impact on the Colombian cultural scene. Projects like Horacio (1993), Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes (1996), C’undua (2001–3), De mortibus (1990), Casa tomada (1987), and Ricardo III [Richard III] (2000) entail a critical stance on the social situation and the artistic traditions in Colombia.
Since the mid-nineties, Rolf Aberderhalden has participated in national artistic events of great importance to the Bogotá art scene. He studied art therapy at the École d’Hautes Études Sociaux et Pédagogiques in Lausanne, Switzerland, and did postgraduate work in theater at Jacques Lecoq’s École Internationale de Théâtre in Paris. In 1997, Aberderhald—in conjunction with Colombian artists Clemencia Echeverri (b. 1950) and Trixi Alina (b. 1950)—exhibited the work Camino [Road] at the Galería Espacio Vacío in the context of the creative and research project La mirada. Along with Dormitorio (1998) and Y lo demás es silencio [And the Rest Is Silence] (1999), Camino (1997–98) forms a triptych that addresses respectively the three states experienced by the individual: old age, childhood, and adultood. Domitorio was awarded first prize at the Sixth Bienal de Arte of Bogotá (1998) held at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá. A more recent work entitled Sanatorio de la Capilla de Indios [Sanatorium of the Indians’ Chapel] was part of the Fortieth Salón Nacional de Artistas (2006).