Rafael Gómezbarros

Rafael Gómezbarros Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Rafael Gómezbarros
Casa Tomada


Resin, Fiber Glass, Madera, Screen Cotton, Cuerda Arenas, Cerrejón Coal

Body:50 x 20 x 50; Legs 90 x 50 cms

Installations of hundreds of sculptures representing fifty centimetre long ants take over public buildings. Their bodies are made up by the assembling of two human skull casts as if the Santa Marta-born artist were attempting to summon death in life.
Rafael Gómezbarros’ work makes visible the overlooked. His intention is to address the plight of millions of displaced people who constitute the invisible but pervasive mass of immigrants crossing the planet. Buried in the narrative of diaspora lays a tribute to thousands of Colombians who suffered internal displacement and violent deaths as casualties of the armed conflict that wreaked havoc in the country for the most part of the last fifty years.
Ants being usually associated with hard labour and a complex social organization are turned into phantasms of the disappeared, ghost like figures that have acquired the capacity to take over national monuments. Gómezbarros previously deployed his legion of ants onto historical buildings such as Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino – the haçienda where Simón Bolívar spent his final days – as well as Barranquilla’s customs building.
In Bogotá, he invaded a commercial gallery with one thousand polyester cast creatures and covered the National Congress’s stone façade, his most meaningful attempt to address the national security policies that endorsed a violent status quo for decades.
Entitled Casa Tomada, the work makes a very particular reference to a short story by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar, in which the inhabitants of a large mansion become invaded by elusive presences announced solely by muted sounds. In the context of these public art interventions, the metaphor reminds the viewer what Cortázar himself declared shortly before passing away: unless a country buries its dead, they will always be remembered as ghosts in the attic.

Text © Gabriela Salgado

Rafael Gómezbarros's Biography

Rafael Gómezbarros
Born in 1972, Santa Marta, Colombia
Lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia


Temples and Templars (Templos y Templarios) / Plecto Gallery. Medellín - Colombia

I Mistrust of stable things (Desconfio de las cosas estables) / L.A. Gallery Bogotá - Colombia
I Mistrust of stable things (Desconfio de las cosas estables), Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, Santa Marta - Colombia
Aliento Vital, Rainhart Gallery, Bruselas - Bélgica
House Taken (Casa Tomada), Lowry Centre, Manchester – UK

House Taken (Casa Tomada), Trienal del Caribe / Contemporary Art Museum (Museo de Arte contemporáneo), Santo Domingo - R. Dominicana

La Especialidad De La Casa – Galería la Cometa, Bogotá - Colombia

Casa Tomada, Alonso Garcés Galería, Bogotá – Colombia

Casa tomada, Museo de la Aduana, Barranquilla-Colombia
Casa Tomada, Museo Bolivariano Arte Contemporáneo, Santa Marta - Colombia
Péndulos, Museo de Arte del Tolima, Tolima - Colombia

De- Mentes, Galería Durban Segnini, Caracas - Venezuela

Sonajeros, Alonso Galería, Bogotá - Colombia

Sonajeros. Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporáneo, Santa Marta - Colombia

Urnas, Galería La Cometa, Bogotá Colombia

Urnas. Museo Universitario Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia

Hasta La Tierra Es Mestiza. Palacio de la Cultura “Rafael Uribe Uribe” Medellín Colombia


House Taken (Casa Tomada), / Wanås Konst - Skåne, Suecia.

Carnaval; Se armó el Paraco, Batalla de Flores/Carnaval Bquilla, Barranquilla - Colombia

Dead Alive (Muerto en vida), Bienal del Fin del Mundo, Mar del Plata - Argentina
Dead Alive (Muerto en vida) , Simposio Internacional de Arte y Naturaleza

Somos #, (Proyectos el Patio) Nueve Ochenta Arte Contemporáneo, Bogotá Colombia
Casa Tomada. OK Offenes Kulturhaus / Center for Contemporary Art, Linz- Austria
2013- 2008 Casa Tomada
Bienal Covee, Linz- Austria

11Bienal De La Habana. Habana Cuba

1Trienal Del Caribe, Museo de Arte contemporáneo, R. Dominicana
Congreso De La República De Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

Alonso Garcés Galería, Bogotá, Colombia

Monumento A Los Héroes, Bogotá, Colombia
Edificio De La Aduana, Barranquilla, Colombia
Altar De La Patria, Museo bolivariano, Santa marta, Colombia