It’s really relevant as an abstract landscape artist myself to see the work of Venezuelan artist Sol Calero. In her new immersive installation El Autobus she questions the cultural misconceptions of her home country and gives an alternative insight into a journey locals take on a daily basis.
Having travelled abroad and often taken domestic transport links mainly because of the cost I can see how other people – mass tour buses – take the best (aka prettiest) routes designed for tourists. They get a cleansed version of the country that they’re experiencing. Latin America is a such a diverse continent but it’s so rooted in cliches that we don’t truly see what it’s like as a place.
Calero has painted a spectacular immersive walled painting to act as the brightly coloured landscape and juxtaposed it against the fictional narrative of a Venezuelan bus driver. Listening to the driver on the makeshift bus as it stops, breaks down, he has a grumble on the long, bumpy roads. TV screens dotted about the bus show the actual landscape he’s driving through so you get a true flavour of the land. It’s not glamourised. It’s real and dusty. It’s a shame the bus doesn’t lurch and grind as it veers on the roads too.
It’s so relevant today to look at our ingrained stereotypes and assumptions of identity and place. Tourism is a massive income for most countries. For Calero as a migrant and now based in Berlin, she’s acutely aware of representation, displacement and marginalisation. How things become skewed, mixed up, blurred and romanticised. By making this new commission she gives us clues to these themes whilst making it something we can all relate to. Yet to enjoy, sit back and take it in we’re also enjoying the installation on a superficial Western level once again I think… interesting!
On until 10 November 2019