Adriana Duque

06/Aug/2019 – 31/Aug/2019

Back to exhibition list

Press Release

In her new solo show at Zipper Galeria, the Colombian artist Adriana Duque features new photographs reflecting on Renaissance portraits. The exhibition is curated by Eder Chidetto.

[Click here for a virtual tour]

About the artist

The work of Adriana Duque (Manizales, Colombia, 1968) incites the clash between photography and painting. The artist uses photography - and the contemporary resources dedicated to this medium - to make approximations and reinterpretations of the painting. She has dedicated her research to portraying children surrounded by an austere atmosphere, in minutely constructed scenes.

She has works in collections such as Instituto Figueiredo Ferraz de Ribeirão Preto; Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia; and Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR-RJ).

Among her main solo exhibits are: “Iconos”, Zipper Galeria, 2014; "Anthology of an Obsession", Witzenhausen Gallery, Amsterdam, 2014; "The Other Side", Galería el Museo, Bogotá, 2014; "Infantes", Galeria Horrach Moya, Palma de Maiorca, 2010; "Baroque Children", Museo Iglesia Santa Clara, Bogotá, 2009; "De Cuento en Cuento", Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Medelín, 2005.

She participated in collective exhibits in cities such as Paris, Bogotá, and Madrid, featuring among them "Photoquai - Biennale de Photographie", at Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, in 2013; "Desnudando a Eva". Instituto Cervantes, Madrid, 2012; "Topologías: Materias en Tránsito", Casa de la Moneda, Bogotá, 2006.

Critical essay

In the beginning, the absence of light epitomized the sunset of dreams, the inordinate belief in the occult and unnameable forces. When absence turned to latency, from the absolute darkness of the background, gradually, lights became paint and tinted the rebirth of a new plane from which the glorious face of man arose. Art had resurfaced through the driving force of realism, symmetry and beauty. Behold, man was reborn with the image and likeness of the contours that Greco-Roman classical art had attributed to him.

Six centuries after these parametrical changes in the world and in the arts, Colombian artist Adriana Duque began to practice painting. Her obsession with realism and the search for an idealized form of beauty led her to traverse historical times to establish Renaissance painting as a source of aesthetic pleasure and research. Jumping from painting to photography was a natural step for those who wanted to create beings that leap from the picture to establish a vivid relationship with the world.

However, by landing on photography, Duque maintained within her artistic strategies the full mastery of painting techniques, so much so that her work today has become the point of convergence at which both languages emerge in an unlikely and mesmerizing balance. The new works shown in “Renaissance”, which Zipper now presents, add a new element to the “Iconos” exhibition held here in 2014: in the relentless pursuit of the most unsettling and perfect expression, Duke now creates her “princesses” by collaging parts of various faces. These syncretic beings that disturbingly gaze at us so deeply exist in their fullness only within the artist's fabulous universe. Creator and creature increasingly have their identities blurred.

In addition to such formal questions, well signposted in Duke's work, which manage to create a stunning atmosphere of closeness between us and her “princesses,” enigmatic symbols are carefully constructed that call upon us to reflect. Why are these girls, princesses, infantas, reborn in 2019, from time immemorial, with the inquiring gaze of someone who doesn't recognize us, asking: “Who are you?” And why does it seem that they partly answer this question by wearing headphones – a symbol of voluntary isolation – as if they were the crowns of yore? What is reborn within us when such Renaissance aesthetic, loaded with adornment and votive offerings, turned contemporary, confronts us?

Such questions help keep Duke's magnetic work in constant motion. Each symbol constructed by the artist, carefully organized in the rigorous symmetry of her creations, helps us to cross temporalities, and deconstruct historicity and its chronology, in order to lead us to the essence of man before a mirror that gazes back and asks: “Who are you; who are we?” And so we are reborn with each new flash of such gaze.

Eder Chiodetto