Urban Ruins as an Allegory of Transience in Latin American Photography

By: Pilar Suescun  

During the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, it is possible to observe that several Latin American artists were interested in the city and the urban tensions related to particular social conditions. In their works, the artists used photography to make visible transformation processes that account for the forces that determine the shape of the city, such as decay and deterioration. The loss of the original function, the abandonment and the ruins can be recognized as different phases through which the cities present in Latin American photography go through. The proposal consists in the study of a selection of photographic works by artists who, between 1990 and 2010, indicated the transience of the built objects that make up the cities through the figure of urban ruins. The allegory concept developed by Walter Benjamin will be used to identify the peculiarities of urban ruins as an allegory of transience within photography in Latin America. The selected works are: La Maravilla (The Conversation) 1996, Carlos Garaicoa (Havana, Cuba. 1967-). Diptych 71. Belonging to the work Unsustainable Cinema (2007 - 2009) Maski Collective (Bogotá, Colombia, 2005). Skeleton Coast (2005) Alexander Apostle (Barquisimeto, Venezuela. 1969 -). Demolitions (1990) Fernell Franco (Versailles, Colombia, 1942 - Cali, Colombia, 2006) No architecture (2005) Collective Trailer (Bogotá, Colombia, 2005). Matadero Carhue (2001) from the Salomone series (1998-2002) Esteban Pastorino (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1972).

Arts History, Photography, Urban Ruins, Latinamerican
Arts Theory and History
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Pilar Suescun

Docente cátedra, Facultad de diseño, Universidad Católica de Colombia

I´m a graphic designer, I have an specialization in photography and a Master in Plastic and Visual Arts. I´m interested in photography, no just as a technical media but as something that could be problematizing as a historical and theoretical topic especially in the Latin-American context. I work as a teacher in different Universities in my country, to teach photography and interacting whit young people showed me new dimensions about photography.

In 2016 I was accepted in the Ph.D. program of Art and Architecture, the only program in its kind in the Arts Faculty of the National University of Colombia, one of the most important in the country. 

I develop my work in the research line of History and Theory of Art in Colombia and Latin America.  My current research focuses on photographic representation mainly in the relationship between photography and the concept of ruin in some cases of Latin American.