Delcy Morelos   Mother’s Surface

December 7, 2019 - February 16, 2020

Morelos grew up in Córdoba, one of the areas most impacted by armed confrontations over land and resources in the late twentieth century in Colombia. This exposure to strife and violence has been channeled into her work in a variety of ways, including an exigent exploration of different hues of red, ranging from the palest blush to the darkest brown.

In recent installations, Morelos has worked with soil, soliciting its material properties, blended colours, richness and potency as fertile matter. The use of soil also signifies a return to the roots, to understand soil as one extensive organism that we are part of, with which we become one:

“I am living earth, creative, fertile, vital. Soil is the origin, the base, the common ground; ancestral and revered since it is a fundamental principle of our exchange with life. In fact, the soil is the skin of the earth; when stripped of its vegetative layer, the landscape looks naked, bare, it shows its colour.”

Thus, for Delcy Morelos, colour is both a property of painting and a cultural construction. It is the colour of the skin that we embrace or reject, the colour of the fertile ground and the colour of the wasteland. Just as it also is the colour of the soil from where violence originates and spreads. 

In Mother’s Surface, Morelos exposes us to an expanse of colour, a flat horizontal body closely related to a landscape; a landscape painfully exposed to remind us of the primordial need to connect every living thing with a place of origin, to link with cycle of living where life and death succeed each other.

For Morelos, working with soil requires humility and respect. It entails accepting that soil is a living organism that responds autonomously to the conditions imposed upon her. A large part of humanity has constructed a relationship of domination over nature based on an erroneous premise separating humans from the world. Delcy Morelos’ soil installations make manifest humans as extensions of and belonging to the earth upon which we walk. If we don’t take care of the soil, we run the risk of losing our identity, of becoming rootless. 

The separation between matter and thought turns the soil into dirt, and thought into a disjointed and fractured practice. Our ancestral ability to communicate with the earth is recovered and articulated in Delcy Morelos’ work, keeping us close to the ground with ears open. Even if we have stopped listening, the earth still speaks to us, testifying that, despite all the violence, we have not yet reached the end of our species.

Curated by Mariangela Méndez Prencke

Exhibition produced in partnership with Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg, Sweden 

Delcy Morelos (Tierra Alta, Colombia, 1967) studied at the Cartagena Fine Arts School and has exhibited individually since 1990. She has received such distinctions as the First Award in the Salon de Arte Joven in Bogotá, Colombia (1994). Among her individual exhibitions are Enie, Fundación NC-Arte, Bogotá (2018); Inner Earth, Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden (2018); La sombra Terrestre [The Earth’s Shadow], Fundación Fuga, Bogotá (2015); La doble negación [The Double Negative], Alonso Garces Gallery, Bogotá (2008); Museum of Modern Art Barranquilla (2006); Gt Gallery, Flax Arts Studios Residence Program, Belfast, North Ireland (2006); and Academia Superior de Artes de Bogotá, Santa Fe Gallery, Bogotá (2004). Some of her most relevant group exhibitions include Du som jag, Havremagasinet, Boden, Sweden (2016) and Sami Center for Contemporary Art, Karasjok, Norway (2017); 7 Mercosul Biennial, Grito e escuta [Screaming and Listening], Porto Alegre, Brazil (2009); MDE 07, Espacios de hospitalidad [Hospitality Spaces], Medellín (2007); ES2002 Tijuana/II International Biennial, Tijuana Cultural Center CECUT (2002), and the VI Havana Biennial (1997). Her work explores through soil and colour, the origin of violence, social discrimination, the body, and its close relationship to the land. She lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia.

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