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The Columbian artist Danilo Dueñas, born in 1956 in Cali, uses materials from everyday life: neon lights, car tires, rough construction wood, staircase planks, intact or disassembled furniture, packaging materials or household rubbish. Dueñas, who lives today in the Columbian capital of Bogotá, incorporates these things into room-filling, yet seeming fragile constructions. As from a ghost’s hand, these objects find a new order. Reflecting on art as an invitation to speculation: which constellations and systems are beyond the given?

However, the “uprising of things,” as Dueñas orchestrates them, is discretely controlled: “In the position of moved things, the abstract moves in their place” (Hartmut Böhme). The production of abstraction that is rooted in its thingness and new order appears not as an act of wildness or involuntary disorder: in space and on the surface, they follow a strange geometry. In his work, Dueñas shows us what it could mean to think out things in their relationships again in a fundamentally different way. “The meshing of seemingly incompatible materials is planned; the geometries achieve the fruit of long deliberation. As much as they seem jury-rigged, Dueñas's ‘paintings’ are the works of a control-freak. In fact, the irresolution between improvisational resourcefulness and compulsive exactitude animates them at their core.”

One could claim that Danilo Dueñas is a representative of “the materialist line of Colombian geometric abstractionists” but that would say very little about the strange quality of the sculptural situations he designs. Like the large killed animal, the Piano Herido (2009), the “wounded piano” which lies upside-down on the floor and in homage to Beuys’s Fluxus concert piano, by pointing out the possibilities of aesthetic experience beyond its function as an instrument. With underlying felt coverings, it doesn’t seem to be seriously damaged, despite is dramatic title, but rather carefully de-functionalized. A soft sabotage of the usual order has taken place: the artistic intervention into the world of things seems simple and transparent and has, however (or even because of that), a great effect on the viewer.


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"At Actium and a tribute to John McCracken"

"At Actium and a tribute to John McCracken"

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