Inside out - the Colombian artist Sandra Miranda Pattin

The focus of Colombian artist Sandra Miranda Pattin's work, who is most well known for her installations that combine performance and sculpture practice, is the concrete, tangible, real-world of sense. Her artwork is also renowned for its highly personal thematic content involving memory, mythology, history and ritual.

She considers her work as a way to make physical and real her thoughts on place and time. More precisely, the way she treats the body - and the way she relates the body to surrounding objects show the impact of ideas about the relationship between the viewer and the sculptural object.  In order to comprehend Sandra’s work, it is crucial to recognize the importance of her physicality in the substantiation of her work – which can perhaps be perceived as a self-portrait, charting her relationship with the material as she manipulates it into an artwork. As the artist states, “I’m interested in the body as a transformation territory, where the invisible becomes visible and abandons the abstract state in which inhabits the mind space, I carefully observe body’s reaction to daily life and to the diversity of emotions and states of mind that occur during life.” Her intense and on-going process observing the body equally encompasses her performances and installations, sculptures and drawings and all eventually convey to the viewer a sense of delicate sensibility. She continues saying, “The more we explore our body and connect to it, the more we become strong, clear and empowered. The invisible threads that tie up people are suddenly physical, I transform them into something vulnerable, underlining them, deconstructing them in order to achieve the deep and real comprehension of the daily weaving with others, in the road of finding our identity and a sense of belonging. […].”

 

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Much of Sandra's work is a reflection of, and an immediate response to the ancient forces that surround her. Inspiration may come from ancient mythology, history, and places, and she has been able to balance the history and memory of the past and the force of nature with her own sensual, emotional and rational responses to it. The poetic installation Memoria del Po (2013), where some bags acted as anonymous collector of the memories of a population that had assisted to a rapid and abrupt change of its territory, is the most exemplary work in this sense. 

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Sandra’s work reveals also her exposure to the practice of artists such as Kiki Smith and Berlinde De Bruyckere. Like the two older female artists, Sandra employs a multitude of mediums and materials. Her command of her materials is equally always first-rate, either she is using wax, paper or her own body and eventually she manages not only to question the art object’s property but also its cultural and social implication. The drawing is the medium for Sandra to remain anchored to herself and her artistic practice, but even in this case Sandra draws from the traditional concepts of the medium to push it to a critical examination and expand its definition in relation to gesture, body and form. In the recent series of drawings titled Ritos de paso, made according to the old technique employed to transfer the fresco on the wall, the light which passes through the gaps activates the surface of the paper, pushing the lines, both literally and conceptually, out into the real space. 

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Her installations are always suggestive, not directly confrontational and they always withhold more than they disclose, which makes the meaning all the more powerful. She blurs the line between performance and sculpture calling on the viewer to form a closer relationship with both mediums. Sandra’s interplay with the surrounding of the exhibition space is even more apparent when she works on a larger scale. For example, in the magnificent installation Credere the artist immerses and invests herself in her surroundings and the viewer is encouraged to see as the artist sees, to take in the world as she does, from the smell of wax permeating the air to the imperceptible variations in size of each piece. This invites the viewer to a closer observation of the smallest but perhaps overlooked things. 

 

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