alberto baraya
expedición berlin, 2014
installation view 8th berlin biennale
variable dimensions

Alberto Baraya (b. 1968, Bogotá, Colombia) lives and works in Bogotá. Baraya studied painting at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia from 1987 to 1992. Later in 1995, he pursued a Master’s in Aesthetics and Art Theory at Universidade Autónoma y Complutense de Madrid. Through photography, video, found objects, and drawings, Alberto Baraya parodies colonial exploitation and its echoes in contemporary global exchange. In the 1990s, he produced ironic self-portraits, highlighting the malleability of identity through the inclusion of references to iconic works of art. Since 2001, he has styled himself as a “viajero”, referring to 18th- and 19th-century European travelers who undertook botanical explorations in the name of science and in the service of colonization. For this project, “Herbário de plantas artificiais” (Herbarium of Artificial Plants), Baraya follows the path of these pseudo-scientists, collecting, cataloguing, and displaying artificial plants. “By picking up…plastic flowers on the street, I behave like the scientists that Western education expects us to become,” he explains. “By changing the goals of this…task I resist this ‘destiny.’ In that moment all assumptions are put into question, even history.” His work has been included in numerous biennials such as the 10th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil (2015); 8th Berlin Biennial (2014); 9th Shanghai Biennial, China (2012); the 11th Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador (2011); the 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy (2009); the 27a São Paulo Bienal, Brazil (2006); the 1st Medellín Biennial, Colombia (1997); the Biennial of the Caribbean in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (2003); and the 4th Bogotá Biennial, Colombia (1994). He has had individual exhibitions at institutions such as the Frost Art Museum in Miami; Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art; Museo de Arte Moderna de Bogotá; and Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He has participated in group shows at the Museum of Latin American Art - MOLAA in Long Beach; Fundación/Colección Jumex in Mexico DF; Bronx Museum in New York City; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona.