The International Guest and External Examiner for the Whitecliffe Master of Fine Arts (MFA) 2016 July seminar is the artist and academic Juan Fernando Herrán, from the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Columbia. Herrán will join MFA Faculty Noel Ivanoff, Tanya Eccleston and our Critic in Residence, Anthony Byrt in facilitating the assessment of the submitted work of all MFA students, and will deliver a public lecture on his work on Tuesday, July 5 (6pm) at the Auckland Art Gallery, where a number of his photographic works are currently exhibited in the exhibition Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America.
The work of Juan Fernando Herrán has dealt with issues that evolve from a consideration of the Colombian context and its singularity in terms of ever-present power structures and their influence in the social context. His projects have addressed specific topics such as the plantation and erradication of the Opium Poppy, the entwining of cartels and politics, the impact of improvisational arquitectura on public space in Colombian cities and the motorcycle subculture in the city of Medellín. Herrán will discuss how particular local conditions are explored in various works, including The Escalas Series seen at Auckland Art Gallery, among others. These projects reflect in various ways the material, imaginative and symbolic universe of the inhabitants of marginal neighborhoods of Medellín, the second biggest city in Colombia. Herrán will discuss how art can offer an account of the exceptional condition of such territories and the way they are colonized.
Juan Fernando Herrán lives in Bogotá where he is a Professor in the Art Department, Arts and Humanities Faculty, Los Andes University, Bogotá. His work has been included in the Venice, Liverpool, Habana and Sao Paulo Biennales, and his most recent exhibitions include Desiring Flows, National University Art Museum, Bogotá, 2016; Thousand Heroes, Heroes Monument, Bogotá, 2015 and The Rounds, Nueveochenta Contemporary Art, Bogotá and Dizzying Domains, Ideobox, Miami, 2014. Herran’s work has received important recognitions including the Prix Pictet Commission, Switzerland, 2014; First Prize Off Festival, Photo-Spain, Madrid, 2007; and the XI Colombian Ministry of Culture Grant, 2000.
(image: Juan Fernando Herrán, Bifurcación (Junction), 2008; Courtesy of the artist and Galería Nueveochenta, Bogotá, Colombia)