Residency at L’appartement 22 in July 2012.
Delcy Morelos (b. 1967 in Tierra Alta, Colombia.) Lives in Bogotá.
In Delcy Morelos’ work there is a constant tension between matter, color, and the body they both allude to. Her paintings are done with very diluted pigments, in extremely slow processes where the surface is patiently built layer by layer during months at a time. Her early paintings were invariably bi-dimensional and alluded visually to the tones of skin and bodily fluids, and metaphorically to human pulsions, which overflow the rationality that keeps them contained, resulting in explosions of violence, blood and death. In these works, painting referenced the body through representations of skin, blood and viscera. In more recent works Morelos’ painting has turned sculptural. In some cases the artist creates objects with pigment and medium; in other works, the painted canvas is cut up in pieces and deconstructed, to be reconstructed again in tri-dimensional forms -or even forming painted environments where the viewer is encouraged to enter. Morelos has stated that she wants to establish a link between painting, color, the body and its direct relationship with the earth: the materiality of painting as a metaphor of how the body is constituted. Hence the use of iron-rich pigments, which allude to the fact that iron-rich hemoglobin is charged with transporting oxygen in the blood, and gives it its distinctive color.
After many years of working almost exclusively with red pigment on an industrial type of paper, Morelos returned to painting on canvas. But if in previous works like De lo que soy (of what I am made of, 1995), Color que soy (the color that I am, 1999-2002), 4408 veces (4408 times, 1997-2004) or La base oscura (the dark foundation, 2000), the body was allegorized by referring to blood, sweat, and skin, in the series presented for Irregular Hexagon, (Eva, 2010), Morelos chose to understand the painting as the body. The artist paints canvas with brown pigment (in fact, "naked" earth, without the protective vegetal layer, taken from places in Colombia that have a particular significance for her), and then cuts the dry canvas in narrow strips. The resulting strips are then stacked in layers and hung from long nails that protrude from the wall. Morelos lets the weight dictate the final shape of these objects, which hang like flaccid bodies that oppose no resistance. There is a grave and somber presence of these simple shapes on a white wall, which can be read as signs of a language we don’t know -but also as inanimate bodies or limbs, shapes defined by their own dead weight.
Inside (2007) was done by applying red pigment and medium on cotton cord that hung vertically from a grid. Over a long period of time, the artist applied the many layers that were needed to render the cords stiff as rods, letting the pigment dry and accumulate. With the resulting elements, Morelos created a maze-like architectural form; penetrating it, though, implies an experience that suggests corporeality, entering -as it were- the innards of a corpse, its entrails, positioning the viewer as a body within a body.