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FERNANDO MALDONADO MAY BECOME THE FUTURE STAR OF COLUMBIAN PAINTING
18 December 2018
Category : Focus

Most art lovers view Fernando Botero as a great master on the art market but don't know much about other Columbian artists, notably Fernando Maldonado, a painter, drafstman and sculptor born in Bogota in 1962.

Maldonado represented  Colombia in the Hall Comparaisons Paris, France (2008), or at the VI International Painting Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador (1994) and exhibited his works at the Highway Art Gallery and the Chamber of Commerce in Medellin in 1995 and 1996, at the Kite Gallery in Bogota and the Art Gallery Balboa in Panama in 1997, at the 12th International Art Fair in Binningen (Switzerland), the Casa de la Cultura in Quito (Ecuador) in 2003, in the Alonso Art Gallery, the Square House and the House Gallery in Bogota in 2004, 2008 and 2009 but still, he has not been rated at his true value on the art market.


He also participated in collective exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bogotá (2009 and 2008), Grand Palais in Paris at the Salon Comparaisons (2008 and 2007); the Bogota Traveling Space Foundation (2007), the Waiting Room Gallery (2003); the Gallery Artlounge, Zurich (8th International Art Fair, Zurich, 2003); at the Gallery Emerio Dario Lunar, Maracaibo (2002), in the Consulate General of Colombia in Miami (2001) and also at the Museo La Tertulia, Cali(2001), Call Kunst Zürich (2001), Baires Cologne, Milan, Italy (2000); Gallery Wall (1999), VI International Painting Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador (1998-1999), Museum of Contemporary Art in Bogotá (1984), the Museum of Contemporary Art Bogotá (1983) and the Museo de Antioquia, Young Art Hall (1982).


His paintings have appeared on five covers of International Literature Collection The Conjurados and illustrated six reprints of the journal Common Presence while his work has received comments from Gonzalo Márquez Cristo, Jotamario Arbelaez, Mauricio Contreras, Amparo Osorio, José Chalarca, Alonso Restrepo and Maria Soledad Garcia.

After studying painting at the University of his native town, the orientation of his work from the beginning was marked by the dreamlike and surreal with a stage close to fantastic art. Skepticism about the latest manifestations of modern art has been a constant in his work, derived from existentialism of his thinking and his interest in authors like Camus, Borges, Cioran, and shamanism of Carlos Castaneda and of course the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

   

For Maldonado , an image is above all the consequence of the one that precedes it and its multiplication in time and space increases the sense of absurdity while painting, based on  reflecting individual ideas, is a complex manner to act on the canvas.

In addition, this artist feels the need to view the history of art as a great fiction while it seems essential for him to build a work through the medias and not from the experiences of other people after choosing painting as an autonomous vehicle of communication because it generates infinite universes.

However, he does not view art as a kind of collective religion nor artists as spiritual guides as he feels art is embalmed with much selfishness beside the fact that painting requires knowledge and  some talent. To sum up his motives, he tries to translate the idea of intent with humour and  shows that he knows where he stands in his immediate environment to offer pure consciousness in his works in which the sacred exists without God and where everything seems magic. In fact his paintings exhale a form of psychanalysis, like Lucian Freud or Balthus did before him while he has himself been exploring strange territories, sometime with a fish in a cage, levitating figures or  old truck suspended in mid air.

  

Offering a lucid criticism of the speculative turns in contemporary art , Maldonado has been surfing on the works of Mondrian, Miro, Pollock or Paul Klee which are secretely hidden in his paintings on carpets, curtains or napkins in order to pay homage to these artists.

Everything is secret in his physical and metaphysical paintings as he is always leaning towards mystery in showing either tenderness or solitude, which the spectator cannot seize right away. In fact, his works have multiple dimensions exuding dreams like with a kid surrounded with floating toys, perhaps because the world is itself strange as if the artist wanted to be a sorcerer or a creator trying his escape his obessions.

Imbued with mysticism, Maldonado gambles with signs in a surrealistic way simply because life is like a dream though his scenes seem simple at first sight but there is a constant link in his works as if he has endeacoured to unravel an enigmatic book telling the stories of defenceless and lost  people in the face of their dull existence.


In fact, the artist has been battling with emptiness after suffering two fits of mental depression at the age of 13 when he lost his memory and felt nothing for a while. He then went four times in an operating room and  since then he has understood the meaning of a black hole in the contemplation of a picture of a distant galaxy taken by the Hubble telescope which showed that the universe is largely filled with blackness or obscure forces. Thus, doing art was like flirting with the void with little time left before him though he is conscious that a subject has no longer any importance compared with everything that can be captured.

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