Virginia Colwell | Our warmest and most affectionate greetings...
Opening February 2, 2016, 7 pm
The FALN (Fuerzas Armadas para la Liberación Nacional — Armed Forces for National Liberation) was a clandestine, revolutionary Puerto Rican organization based in New York City and Chicago. The group began operations in 1974 with the objective of liberating Puerto Rico from the United States. Their activities included the placement of more than 125 bombs in those two cities, specifically targeting headquarters of corporations with ties to the Colonial Government. The movement began to fall apart in 1980 and ceased operations in 1983. In 1999 President Clinton liberated 11 incarcerated members, only one remains in jail.
As part of an investigation of the FALN, Virginia Colwell completed an artistic residency in Puerto Rico in 2015. She interviewed former members of the group, political leaders of the independence movement, as well as FBI agents. In “Our Warmest and Most Affectionate Greetings,” Colwell narrates and analyzes the unwritten history of the FALN. The title of the exhibition is taken from the phrase the group used to close communiqués and letters of solidarity written to leaders of similar struggles in other countries.
The videos, drawings, collages, and sculptures — created with careful attention to the relationship between content and material — present the viewer with multiple conceptual layers and raise questions on the way we currently understand the history of post-colonial conflict, clandestine revolutions, nationalism and the concept of utopia. Colwell also invites the viewer to reflect on moral dualism and the many questions these struggles raise concerning power and the legitimate use of violence.
Virginia Colwell has lived and worked in Mexico City since 2011. Her artistic research focuses on the American South, the Caribbean, and Mexico. She has been an artist in residence in Beta-Local’s La Práctica program in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Untitled art fair’s Fountainhead Residency program in Miami, USA; and the multimedia art center Hangar in Barcelona, Spain. Her works have been exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art in Vilnius, Lithuania; the Hirschorn Museum in Washington D.C., United States; El Centro de Arte Santa Monica in Barcelona, Spain; and most recently, at the Centro Cultural Félix Varela during the 12th Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba. Colwell has received numerous awards including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Award, a Pollock Krasner Foundation Fellowship, and a Jumex Foundation Grant. She is currently a faculty member at SOMA in Mexico City.
A Diptych, A Chronicle, 2016
2 channel digital video NTSC and digitized VHS video NTSC with audio, 10 min, 12 sec.
A Net, A Bind, A Game, 2016
Tri channel digital video NTSC and bilingual audio, 13 min, 55 sec.
The Atolls, 2016
Paper, compressed cardboard, book cloth, and photographs, dimensions variable.
Newspaper for a Puerto Rico Libre, 26 of August 1980, 2016
Digital print, 92.5 cm x 71.5 cm.
Bellevue Hospital, 2013
Graphite on handmade paper, 54 cm x 75 cm.