Colombian artist Adriana Martínez Barón uses a wide array of everyday objects in her work. Through reimagining mundane and overlooked objects, she comments on global and local issues.Read More
Martínez Barón is based in Bogotá, Columbia. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Andes in Bogotá, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in New York. Concerned with how to continue working as an artist after leaving school due to what she suggests is the city's lack of institutional support for artists, Martínez Barón founded a gallery space called MIAMI in 2011 and an artist-run gallery called Carne in 2014. These spaces have proved to be influential, providing pathways for the emergence of other artist-run spaces in Bogotá.
Martínez Barón's artwork speaks directly to social issues in Colombia, but it also attempts to transcend local politics. In Tutti Frutti (2017), Martínez Barón created an installation of a fruit stall. The bananas, kiwis, and apples were all completely covered with brand stickers. Martínez Barón explained, 'This piece is about the infrastructure behind fresh fruits. ... They're healthy and supposed to be good for us—but even if it's healthy for you, what's behind it is maybe not so healthy.' Martínez Barón noted the irony of Disney's promotion of bananas through joyful jingles, while Colombians were killed in the Banana Massacre—a massacre of United Fruit Company workers in 1928.
Through Martínez Barón's reimagination, everyday objects like fruit and banknotes become national symbols. In creating At the End of the Rainbow (2015), Martínez Barón took colourful notes from different South American nations and rolled them together to create a rainbow. 'Money is supposed to be worth something,' said Martínez Barón. 'How can I change what it means without breaking it?' By lifting the notes out of circulation, Martínez Barón reflected, 'It stops being money and starts being countries.'
Martínez Barón held her first international solo exhibition, Detroit Affinities: Adriana Martinez, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in 2017.
Martínez Barón's solo exhibitions include moments that last forever, FORO.SPACE, Bogota, Colombia (2021); Detroit Affinities: Adriana Martinez, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) (2017); Green, Ung-5, Cologne (2017); Deja Vú, Cine Tonalá, Bogotá (2014); and Colombianos, Bienvenidos al Futuro, Espacio ArtVersus, Bogotá (2013).
Group exhibitions include Past Future Time: Art in Colombia in the 21st Century, Medellin Modern Art Museum, Colombia (2019); Take Me (I'm Yours), Jewish Museum, New York (2017); What We Know That We Don't Know, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco (2017); When Attitudes Become Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012); and El mapa: Cartografías Críticas, El Parqueadero, Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá (2010).
Carren Wong | Ocula | 2021