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Pelurinho: Edwin Sánchez


Continuing with the ongoing research of "Pelurinho; on contemporary forms of Discipline and Punishment, after Michel Foucault". I would like to share with you guys the work of a very interesting artist based in Bogotá:

'The Street...............the only valid field of experience' André Breton

The violence and desire that one encounters at the streets of a metropolitan city, is the field of experience for the artistic practice of Edwin Sánchez. Either by subverting the meaning of social cleansing (Social work, 2007), by suggesting a pedagogy of crime (Knife lessons, 2007) or by appropriating existing representations of guilt and punishment (Objects of desire, 2007), his works challenges the moral of the spectator.

In Objects of desire (2007), Sánchez appropriates a series of colour photographs which were taken by an owner of a small grocery store in Medellín, Colombia. All of these images depict a shoplifter caught by the staff of the store; instead of calling the police, the owner prefers to humiliate the thief by subordinating him or her to the camera. The photographs are then placed next to the cash machines of the store, for everyone to see and judge.

This is a clear example on how to create a micro-political justice, triggered to produce guilt and punishment over individuals whom most probably stole out of mere necessity. Nonetheless, ‘Self-justice’, or more ‘civil police’, has a very strong connotation within Colombia’s current armed conflict, as private security against guerrilla warfare is the epic origin of Paramilitarism in the countryside*. What interested me in Edwin’s work is that he appropriates these images by naming them Objects of desire; the starting point of a whole chain of causes which may resemble the primary causes of the conflict in this context: Unemployment or poor salaries leads people to commit a crime, and the absence of the state leads people to take justice by its own hands.

Edwin Sanchez studied his BFA at Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. His work was recently selected for the Pilot 3: International archive for artists and curators (London) and has been showcased in Colombia at Encuentro Medellin, Galeria Santa Fe, El Bodegón and Festival de Performance de Cali.

*Paramilitarism has been the modus operandi to protect huge territories owned by powerful landowners in the country who are threaten by the guerrilla (mostly FARC). The threat would be basically a demand from FARC on a tax to be paid, known as “finca”. Those who do not pay would be either kidnapped or assassinated. As a consequence of the absence of the estate (both from the army and judicial system) in able to protect this territories, landowners united to create their own security and justice, know as the paramilitaries. Which through out the years, as FARC, has become a very complex military organization, also financed by drugtrafficking.

Inti Guerrero