ArtBo, Bogotá’s annual art fair is back after a pandemic pause, and there’s plenty to see.
This weekend, art will take over Bogotá once again as ArtBo returns after a three-year break. Find out what the fair’s about, how to make the most of it, and what else is happening in the city in the coming days.
What is ArtBo?
ArtBo is an annual international art fair that takes place in Bogotá each year. Apart from a pandemic pause, ArtBo has been going since 2004 and is a key event on the Latin American art circuit. It attracts a wide mix of art and galleries. This year there will be over 50 galleries from various different countries, representing more than 300 artists.
What’s worth seeing this year?
Good question. There’s so much to see that the best bet is to explore and soak up as much as possible. Some have commented that there’s not a lot of work from newer artists and that a lot of the work on show at ArtBo 2022 isn’t very recent. Nonetheless, here are just a few artists to watch out for.
Beatriz González is a big name in Colombian art. She’s currently got an exhibition called Bruma on at Fragmentos in the Espacio de Arte y Memoria which reflects on themes of forced disappearance. It echoes her Auras anónimas, an installation next to the cemetery of silkscreen images replicated across over 8,000 tombstones. Her work at ArtBo sketches stories of the Wiwa tribe.
Ella McVeigh (UK) is one of the newer artists featured at the show. Her abstract work was brought to Bogotá by a Belgian gallery called Newchild. Her striking use of colour and form conjure echoes of nature and are well worth seeking out.
Kindi Llatju is a Colombian indigenous artist from Putumayo who mixes his cultural traditions with modern techniques. According to the Adrián Ibáñez gallery, his work captures memories of childhood, people, myths and values. His art has depth and texture due to a process of removing and adding layers of paint.
Pedro Ruiz is another well known Colombian artist. His work explores various social and political aspects of the country, particularly its indigenous culture, the disconnect between rural and urban life, and the way we interact with nature.
Pablo Arrázola’s art evokes the playful and power nature of childhood. The Colombian artist juxtaposes painting and drawing against the textures produced by tearing, scrunching, and cutting paper.
Given the furore around non-fungible tokens (NFTs) last year, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that they feature heavily at the fair. Indeed, the Colpatria tower will be alight with an NFT from Álvaro Barrios during ArtBo. As you walk around the fair, you’ll see a number of works also have associated NFTs.
Before you ask, NFTs are essentially a digital certificate of ownership, and they’ve changed the way people can own or collect digital art. NFT art really hit the headlines when Christie’s in London sold a huge digital collage called “Everydays – The First 5,000 Days” for almost $70 million.
ArtBo may be the reason everything’s about art in the capital this weekend, but it’s not the only gig in town. Several other art events, such as Barcú and Open San Felipe will also be worth a visit.
OK, and what’s Barcú?
Barcú is more focused on emerging artists and one of the special things about it is that it’s set in various historic buildings in the city centre. According to its website, the Barcú team is obsessed with building social transformation through art, music, and culture. Barcú takes place from October 25 to 30 and tickets cost $25,000 for a day pass and $40,000 for an evening pass.
And Open San Felipe?
San Felipe has been building a name for itself as Bogotá’s art district. It has fairly regular events, including Open San Felipe which is a weekend affair. There’s an Open San Felipe taking place this weekend (October 28, 29 and 30). It’s free, and you can wander around the galleries, all within walking distance of each other. We’d recommend starting/finishing in Casa 73-22 for a coffee-book-art stop.
OK, so when is this big art bonanza taking place?
The official dates are from October 27 to 30. ArtBo is open from noon until 8pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. On Sunday it’s open from noon until 7pm.
Bear in mind that while the main event in Corferias will wind up on Sunday, many of the exhibitions across the city will continue for longer. For example, there’s an exhibition called “Rituales, saberes y tejidos” (Rituals, knowledge and fabrics) in the Claustro de las Aguas on Calle 18A #1-06 which runs until November 16. It brings together contemporary art and traditional craftwork, all themed around a solar eclipse.
Where is it happening?
Bogotá’s convention centre, Corferias (Avenida La Esperanza con Carrera 39) will be the heart of ArtBo this weekend. That said, art-related things are happening throughout the city.
In Corferias, ArtBo is divided into various sections:
- Principal: Various galleries from Colombia and the rest of the world present
- Referentes: Focuses on historical work by Latin American artists.
- Proyectos: This year Proyectos looks at the aftermath of failed national projects and the emotions that go with them.
- Sitio: Situated at different points in the fair, Sitio plays with ideas of audience perception.
- Artecámara: Featuring over 30 Colombian artists under the age of 40.
- Foro: The academic section of the fair explores the theme of tropical gothic.
- Articularte: Encourages interaction around modern and contemporary art.
- Libro de Artista: Explores the use of books as an artistic medium. This year the title is “Ups, algo salió mal” or “Oops, something went wrong.”
Phew, there’s a lot to see
That there is. And we’ve only given you a small flavour of what’s on offer. If you’re even slightly interested in art, particularly Colombian art, this is the weekend to explore.
Huge thanks to Sally Wilson for additional reporting and photos.