Nicolás Barrera Martínez
Nicolás Barrera Martínez (Bogotá, 1991) holds a MFA degree from Goldsmiths, where he was awarded the Santander Uk Scholarship. He has had solo exhibitions in London (2018) and Bogota (2016). Also, his work has been exhibited in countries such as: Cuba, Spain, and Netherlands. Recently, he was shortlisted for the FRAGMENTOS: Space for Art and Memory Art Prize (2020), intended to intervene in the artwork created by the artist Doris Salcedo with the weapons surrendered by the guerrilla group FARC after a peace treaty. He was the winner of the PUA VIII prize (2015) and was part of the XVII Salon Regional exhibition (2021).
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR ROUTE TO YOUR CURRENT ARTISTIC PRACTICE?
It is now clear to me, that since I was I child I have had a patent interest in art. However, at the time of choosing a career option, I deviated from that path for a while. After some time and dissatisfaction, I later swapped to an art major. It was a fruitful process which led me to dedicate myself fully and comprehensively to art. Part of my actual practice is influenced by this experience of trying something more socially “useful” and the pressures, or demands, we are subjected to by capitalism.
Q: CAN YOU IDENTIFY ANY ELEMENTS OF YOUR COMMUNITY OR COLLABORATORS THAT HAVE HAD A STRONG INFLUENCE?
I have a close group of visual artists, we support each other in most of our projects. It has been a way of overcoming the usual precariousness present in the Colombian art world. At the same time, it has become an example of how art can help to build community and lead to more communal practices. We have built an artist collective called “Salida de Emergencia” which advocates for more open source and liberated projects.
Q: HOW IS YOUR PROJECT TIED TO THE CIRCA X DAZED CLASS OF 20:21 THEME OF ‘COMMUNION’ ?
This project is composed of the images produced by applying all instagram filters to a blank image. These filters are meant to stimulate an engagement with the constant flow of content production through the app. Everyone takes part in a ritual of consumption and production of images, but these images are not as heterogeneous as they appear. We share an instance of diversity, but when the mechanism of production is revealed, it seems we are imbued in a setup full of simulated authenticity. We commune in the name of ambiguity.
Q: HOW WOULD THE CIRCA PRIZE OF £30,000 IMPACT YOUR FUTURE PRACTICE?
The prize would give me a much more stable position to develop my practice. For me, finding the budget to create my more ambitious and desired pieces has been a constant struggle. I try to always help myself from funds offered by the Colombian government through open calls as I’m committed to finding ways of financing my own projects. However, it is a very unsteady path, considering being an artist is my full time job. This prize would give me enough platform to regularize my practice and grow independently, being finally able to not leave aside the projects that I currently struggle to prioritize in a budget that have a wider social impact.
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