The art of meditation

By bogotapost October 8, 2015

Daniel Caicedo checks out the latest exhibitions at Bogota’s Salon Comunal art gallery

It’s a small house tucked down a tiny, relatively under-circulated street on the far east side of Chapinero. Salon Comunal was started by artist Bernardo Montoya, who found it when he was looking for an art studio. He talked to the owner and together they refurbished the place into an art gallery and studio space for a number of artists. Its primary mission: to create a space for artists to share and discuss their work and experience. In Bernardo’s words, it is a space “for artists, by artists”.

Now, with two years of operation and a secondary gallery in what was once the basement of the house, Salon Comunal is housing two exhibitions – Bernardo himself is behind one of them, presenting a selection of works that form a series of questions that are fundamental to his work, and also tell the story of this dynamic space.

The space is also showcasing the work of Camila Eslava – a Colombian artist who has recently completed an art residence in Montreal. She studied in both La Universidad Nacional de Colombia and in Paris and her work has been displayed in Montreal, Paris, Bogota, and Santiago de Chile – her main interest is the use of graphic meditation, which posits a fluid and changeable art style, reflecting personal experiences and ideas of space. Her work is flexible, using a variety of formats and artistic techniques.

Over the last six years, she has dedicated herself to meditating – rigorously spending one hour meditating every day, plus four hours exploring the city. Like the writings of a buddhist monk, her work is appropriately abstract, sometimes a little hard to engage. Somewhere between the dots and the lines where there are no clear forms or objects, there is some sense of greater meaning.

Postcard-like images that seem to flow into each other but never seem to reach a point of concrete cohesion, meant to be arranged and rearranged depending on the day, the oeuvre is meant to work both individually and collectively. But what was most fascinating to me was Camila’s 60-foot masterpiece that she had created over the six years of intense meditative work, one small section at a time.

Offering a real sense of tranquillity, Eslava’s work takes visitors on an abstract and contemplative journey, mixing creativity and meditation in her own unique way.

Photos: Salon Comunal

By Daniel Caicedo