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History of “Río Cauca” [Cauca River] 1981-82 and Recommendations


Alicia Barney, 2014


This work has been conserved in its entirety, with the exception of the scientific data. I believe that a thirty-four or thirty-five year old work should not be altered so that it appears new. The work contains and exhibits processes of natural elements such as water, as well as damaging substances like pollution contained in test tubes. One of those was broken in MAMBO. It was exhibited at La Tertulia Museum in 1982, the Pilot Public Library in Medellín in 1985 and at MAMBO. In 2014 it was exhibited in the Instituto de Visión Gallery in Bogotá. This year, 2015, it was shown in the Surcusal Gallery in Cali. On several occasions, due to environmental factors, the water contained in the tanks has produced steam (if the spectator leans over, he or she may observe the hydrographic map of the Cauca river basin printed on the bottom of each of the three tanks). The steam may leave condensation marks on the laminated acrylic surface of the tanks. In my view this enriches the work, and cleaning these drops devalues the natural process in which the work lives, removing the marks of its past. Attempting to erase thirty-five years, like the Islamic State blowing up the ruins of Palmira, seems sad to me. If the steam bothers the public of Cali so much, one might remember that when it was shown for the first time at La Tertulia in the 1980s, the work itself bothered them. If one wishes to avoid the steam, the water must be kept cold, as well as the exhibition space. After putting the water in the tanks, wait one or two days before placing the test tubes.  


I will send photographs and newspaper clippings showing the tanks with no other obturations than five in each tank, made to host the test tubes. It is the same work made in 1981-2, I reiterate it in writing, since I already expressed it verbally at the “Sucursal” gallery in Cali. If you wish, I can go to a Public Notary or to some official instance, since I am in full mental capacity and I can prove it and deny Miguel González’s statements.


The photographs are the same and are in the same frames as thirty-five years ago. To care for these, they must be protected from light, and the frames should be checked every year. They should be moisture-free. The vats are the same as those in which water was collected in the Buey lagoon in the Cauca. They should be placed in a disorganized manner.  


The scientific information is now free to be exhibited as the curator desires, but they must be displayed with the work. In La Tertulia and the Pilot Library they were displayed in frames along with the photographs, with the same backing paper and each fact written in green by a Danish designer on wrinkled pieces of paper, which I will send soon. When I moved to Bogotá they arrived with the glass totally broken. In MAMBO I wrote the scientific data on the wall with dark crimson pastel sticks. Last year they were printed separately on small pieces of paper and were attached to the walls separately, but in a group. In the “Sucursal” they were very well organized and attractive, and I liked them best that way. Those are more important than the print of the river basin at the bottom of the tank. I didn’t see anybody reading them at the “Sucursal”, because people always look for the visual, but still...


Among the various texts that were sent before the exhibit there is pertinent information that should be compiled with the present text. Thank you.

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