Home and Jungle

The Installation encompasses a large philosophical field by virtue of the form of the work – performance. His work is a performance art that grew out of abstract expressionism. In abstract expressionism, the gesture of the artist leaves behind traces of individual expression that traveled from brain based concept through the movement of the body (particularly the arms) to form a collaboration between material and artist. The material did its viscous, drippy thing as the artist left behind the route of his energy as a physical evidence of how he had moved during the process of creation.
Happenings took the intrusion of the individual body further into the art piece to possibly eliminate materials altogether and fix the artwork in the body itself and the energy that the body, or bodies, expressed in time. This brought that added dimension – time – more into play and with it ‘the passing of time’ led to the ephemeral nature of performance. To try and stay this passage and bring the immutable back into the artwork led to documentation of the performance, which in turn became a stand-in for the actual happening. As well, the sets used in the performance became the art pieces.
‘Visual performance’ contains a more specific definition. Comparing a visual performance to an opera where the multidisciplinary aspects of the art piece are made of a combination of art forms (visual, literary, audio) there is a different hierarchy in the ‘visual performance’ that takes precedent and that is, of course,
the visual. For Home and Jungle Forero created seven ‘scrolls’ using acrylic on un-stretched canvas. Each can be complete in itself as an art piece. The painted organic canvas forms, from snippets to large threedimensional pieces, also could exist unto themselves.
Home and Jungle is most complete when Cesar Forero, Pam Patel, Michelle Moylan and Sandra Clarke are performing. By the same fact, when it is being performed, Home and Jungle is in its least substantial form in terms of being able to be possessed. This defiance against ownership is part of our mortal state and feeds our philosophical field. Being present for the performance is like being in love. There is an aspect to it that you wish could go on forever for it has such energetic intensity but also the understanding that it will fade as an experience adds lustre to its desirability. Beauty has much the same built in dilemma.
Cesar Forero’s work is all about energy. He is Colombian and the work is based on the carnival. Carnival in Colombia was originally a Spanish influence on African and indigenous people’s celebrations. Not always sanctioned by the authorities – who perhaps felt it was just too much fun to be blessed – the Colombian
carnival was practiced primarily in the villages where anything from coffee to vegetable produce to pirituality could be the focus of attention. Lately, the major cities such as Barranquilla, Pasto, and even Bogota have realised the desirability of promoting carnival to further cultural tourism. Home and Jungle is best appreciated with the open arms of an ethnic embrace. It is a holistic sharing of sensibilities where Forero invests absolutely everything that he has to bring forward his creation.
Cesar Forero’s exhibition is aptly titled Home and Jungle for his vivacious work encompasses a wide range of imagery embracing everything from the quotidian to the exotic. Forero’s work is truly multidisciplinary and accomplished across the disciplines.

The four elements

Earth. Water. Fire. Air. The four elements have been used for centuries as a means of explaining and understanding our existence and relationship to the world around us. Inspired by this, Cesar Forero has created an incredibly vibrant and dramatic installation that breaks through pictorial and sculptural confines and to physically include the viewer within.

Forero draws upon the training he received as an architect, as well as an artist, in creating this environment. His work emphasizes expressiveness and grandeur, achieved through scale, dramatic use of light and shadow, and elaborate decoration. Essentially in a colourful cascade clouds of water appear do descend from the sky, pouring down upon the courtyard walls. Their foam and fury is accentuated through coils of shiny metal affixed to their surfaces which gleam in the sun and cast shadows, creating glorious depth. The waterfall cascade continues down, spilling upon the courtyard floor where seven clay “islands” are placed strategically. Amidst these islands are scattered marbles and brightly coloured bits of ceramic flotsam and jetsam. While they naturally reference the continuance of the aterfall’s flow, they also appear at the same time as the bits and pieces left over after Carnival.

The “islands” sit upon broken ceramic foundations, created with amorphous brightly glazed ceramic pieces. These foundations infer an interrupted landscape of some sort. The “islands” themselves have great earthy presence and seem to be in process of emerging, creating themselves and their shapes from the infinite possibilities offered by the earth. While the islands are undoubtedly organic in feel, there is something very human about them as well. In one sense, the artist has anthropomorphized the very elements themselves, cohesively suggesting that we are all a part of nature and that nature – the four elements – are a part of us.

The theme of the four elements puts the focus on materials, and Forero is inventive and adroit in his representations of earth, air, water and fire. Within his onumental installation are natural and manmade materials in unusual combinations and  uxtapositions which allow him to fully explore the interplay of
nature and artifice, paradox and transformation. Psychological, playful, spiritual Forero’s works contain all the elements needed to create a truly unique environment.

Written by Virginia Eichhorn

Carnival Image and Duality

The carnival, which is a major element of Colombian culture, is fundamental to my work. Ultimately, my intent is to make political commentaries on the social roblems that have devastated Colombia and much of the world. The fantastical images and forms I create confront the observer with a periodical reevaluation of reality and the human relationship to society, nature and culture, giving them the possibility to freely engage and question our contemporary reality.

The concept of Carnivalesque has been related with carnivals, and the moments for the “weak” to assume the position of the “strong.” In this moment what was forbidden became permissive, finding the opportunity to do the impossible. The comic mask and the grotesque body appeared as a representation of culture. The
world up side down, also part of the concept of Carnivalesque, altered human  elationships, allowing the comic ugly mask to be understood as beautiful, and fascination of fear became the main goal of celebration.

Researchers link carnival to the urban Greek and Roman rites of bacchanalia and saturnalia. These were period of license and excess. The inversion of rank was the central theme, and slaves were set free and allowed to ridicule their masters. This celebration became the few days of license for laughter and disorder at the end of the winter festival. Later, it was incorporated into the Catholic calendar as the days before the Ash Wednesday, the pre-Lenten feast of Catholic Europeans. Thus, from it appeared the definition of carnival (carnem levare or carne vale). In the hirteenth century the monastic church allowed comical monsters and demons to appear as art pieces mingled in the crowd. In Europe in the 14th century, the twelve days of Christmas (from December to January) were the season when the world turned up side down in a celebration previous to the penitentiary rigor of lent.

My Carnival, Image and Duality series explores the double personality expressed in carnivals, revealing the capacity of human beings to adopt a quick new look, an attitude, and the moment to project an elaborated image. Carnivals represent the metamorphosis or change of mankind, creating a new masked identity accompanied by music, dance, traditions, and habits. In carnivals, I see the human attitude expressing its desires, sparkling new appearances, and artistically, creating a game, a fantasy, and a new identity.

Crossing the Atrato River

I tell the viewer, in a childlike manner, a story that takes place in a small Colombian town. This “parade” installation is a commentary on the fast-paced, non-caring life of the metropolis. Inspired by floats which are large, physical and important  arrative elements in carnivals, I arrange objects to make viewers feel as if they are in the presence of a vehicle passing by. As the story goes, in a small town named Quibdo, Choco, divided by the Atrato River in the middle of the Colombian jungles, the schools are on one side of the river and the children’s homes are on the other. Twice daily, children must cross the river on a boat to go to school. Thus, twice daily the townspeople have a responsibility: “to watch after the children”. Stopping
their daily activities, adults wait on each side of the river patiently and alert because the unexpected and treacherous waters of the wide river could, at any time, transform a peaceful route into an uncontrolled tragedy. Although it may seem incredible that at the beginning of the twenty-first century people still live
in these circumstances, this event makes us reevaluate the accelerated lifestyle of the big metropolis, where nobody has time to stop and look after others. I use this event as inspiration and transform it into a childlike game.

Two platforms are divided leaving a void space between them. Above the void, a big ring carries a small remote control boat that crosses back and forth, connecting the two structures, one on the east side and another on the west side. The small boat is packed with small ceramic playful figurines representing the children. Meanwhile, some other bigger ceramic figures, representing the adults looking after the children, are placed on both sides. Some are trying to reach their observational perch, others are already positioned.
In this parade, most of the figures are not wearing masks. Instead, the masks are being carried on people’s hands, or either have fallen to the ground or have been left behind. Perhaps the message is clear: when a society is looking after its children no mask is needed. The figures free themselves to observe and to protect what is loved: the children. Above the whole composition organic textiles flow because in a devout Catholic town the adults expect this situation to be protected by mysterious sublime forces.

The Planets

As a “parade” installation, and in an almost abstracted way, appears the portrait of a faceless man, lying down who constantly moves nine spheres – a reference to gravity and the solar system. From the strange machine-like sculpture grows a mask that allows the man to see the eternal movement. Another almost distant bright orange sphere faces the other nine, as a metaphor for the sun, constantly lighting the scene. The whole composition seems to unfold in a spiral, which wraps and traps the machine-like sculpture. The spiral is created by small orange pedestals that grow and descend. Each is filled with sand and on top of the sand a small head appears as if emerging from the ground. The small masked faces look inward as eternal witnesses of the moving system, during which no matter what happens around nothing ever stops the movement. These graceful heads invite the viewer to meditate on them, and they also might remind us of war prisoners tortured and buried up to their heads, a cruel contrasting representation of our human reality. The last one of the heads seems to have disappeared as if suctioned from a strange pendulum. The moving pendulum seems to grow out of a painting of a cut-out masked central character affixed to the wall, creating a narrative relation between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional objects. Four more
paintings pretend to be walking or resting in a street parade. They appear like characters from children’s fables or fairy tales, but when looking at them closely the question of their identity becomes a concern.

The enigmatic quality of the various components prompts viewers to explore their personal interpretation and reaction, as happens in the carnivals when one is confronted by a masked individual. The five wall character paintings are urrounded by eight orange circles. At the end, one of the five characters holds a giant moving circle, making a visual relation with the kinetic central sculpture. The perplexed message of the parade is clear … no matter what happens, or, no matter where we are, we are all part of the same system and it never stops.


Another “parade” installation is intended to be a commentary on monopolies. It consists of a central sculptural figure controlling the whole scene with an oscillating mechanical system, making this central character go back and forth pulling and releasing strings that seems to tie together the composition. These strings reinforce the idea of monopoly, one large company controlling the little ones. Small masked
characters are placed on the floor at each side of the central sculpture looking inwards, as if they are observing the control executed by the central character. Orange balls seem to be moving, going from one to the other of the little characters satirically representing the popular expression “throwing the ball”. This is
a critique of the attitudes of the politicians when confronting delicate situation and their lack of interest in solving problems; they usually “throw the ball from one to another” but no one solves the issue or confronts the situation. Above the small characters, twelve exterior coloured painted mirror boxes of identical size
are displayed in two groups. On one side there is a group of five boxes and on the other a group of seven. Each box contains a drawing of a single dancing couple and each couple appears multiplied in the interior of the boxes by mirror reflection. The painted and drawn interior floors of the boxes resemble confetti thrown to the floor during a carnival parade. In the group of seven boxes, the central box is unique as it
has no dancers. Instead, a concave mirror appears on the floor and the viewer’s reflection appears upside down and then infinitely multiplied on the mirrored walls. This allows the viewer to become one of the dancing characters trapped inside the boxes.

The fragile world

At the beginning of the 21st century, we turn back and evaluate how we have treated nature. The recently natural tragedies with the tsunamis, tornados,  hurricanes, etc make us reconsider our behavior as these natural forces affect the development of humankind. As living creatures of this planet we must respect the
environment, learn from it, and discover how to live within it. It is mysterious that our fear of earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and flooding, when actually mood, wind, fire and water are the transforming forces that have molded this planet into our living environment.

By showing the power of the four elements, which constantly shape our world, “The Fragile World,” installation makes us conscious of our abuses to the planet. The installation represents each one of the elements with separate sculptural compositions recreated into a dance performance as the opening of this
piece. With the creation of both installation and performance, I intend and hope that people become aware of the power of nature.

The industrial pollution, slowly poisoning, drying and destroying our planet, is represented on a fragile floor, which keeps breaking as we walk on it. Like coming from nature itself, this installation grows from the four windows of the gallery and develops into the gallery exhibition space. In front of each window a suspended cocoon, seeming a womb, holds and embraces each one of the four abstracted colorful elements. Four dancers take the place of the four elements (earth, water, wind, and fire) at the time of the performance. Coming out from each womb the dancers in colorful costumes and additional objects recreate the strengths of the natural forces while music and dance takes place. The bare feet dancers performing on colorful paintings placed on the floor intent to absorb the viewer’s attention, while a short story is told making us conscious and aware of our responsibility to protect this planet.

Las farc did it

A series of dramatic situations in Colombia inspired this project. On May 18, 2005, the subversive group “Las FARC”1 placed a horse bomb in front of a plaza. It exploded, blowing apart the poor animal and destroying more than twenty homes and the police station. Fortunately, at that time, no human lives were lost. In July 2002, more than eight policemen were wounded as a consequence of the explosion of another horse-bomb in the town of Guadalupe. A similar event in September 2003 in Chita, Boyacá left eight people dead and more than ten wounded. I intend to show an optimistic position despite the tragedies that are now a common blight in our modern society. I transform this drama into an interactive-dancing narrative presentation. As living sculptures, dancer Michelle Moylan and I are integrated within the scene. Four more “marionette”-like sculptures are also part of the composition. All six characters are masked and disguised, reminding the viewer of the illusions in a carnival. The colourful costumes draw people’s eyes, distracting viewers from the drama. Further, they remind viewers through their dramatic  resence, of violent animal parts such as shark fins and jaws, rooster spurs, horns, thorns, etc.

While music plays, dancing and acting take place while the dancer and I interact with the marionette sculptures. A circular glass, whose surface is painted with the world map, a ceramic horse mask, and a small ceramic box, which has two deflated balloons, appear in the scene. The three objects are exchanged between the dancer and me, as part of the dance. Then an actor, as a seventh masked character, ppears.
The “actor,” with rough movements, steals the objects and transforms them into  estructive weapons. Suddenly, and after an explosion of balloons, the “actor” makes some vocal sounds and uses the ceramic horse mask to destroy the world-map lass.

Symbolically, the performers are confronting the viewers with the terrorism and the destruction of our world. As spotlights hit the surface of the broken glass and disco balls, the room itself seems to become part of the broken world’s reflections, or the illusion of a new beginning. Like in a street performance carnival, a social story is told. The whole community participates and gets involved, hoping to make the world a more peaceful and unified place.

The Cheese Game Parade

The chess game started as an elitist game, thus called “The Game of Kings”. It was first played in china and Persia, becoming popular in mid-19th century in England; “The Game of Kings” became the game for everyone as its popularity was  augmented by the creation of chess clubs, the distribution of introductory books, columns in the general press, and magazines dedicated to the game. The names of the pieces represent the way in which people lived in medieval times, including peasants as protectors of people of higher ranks, the queen, and the king.

When the chess game came out from the courts became popular and widespread as common people started to use and enjoy it. By placing everyone in the same rank and the game allowed to be played for all, the commentary was transformed into a reminder about of the human “social” positions in the world. By being conscious that we are all in the same game; no matter what position, rank, or team we are, we all are part of the same game of life.

The sculpture houses a carnivalesque chess game and the characters’ roles have been inverted. The idea of “inversion of rank” is highlighted, as the pawns, which are highly decorated and carry crowns, become temporary kings and queens; while the king and the queen are dressed in rags and temporarily become peasants. The court personages have also been transformed in their role. The towers are upside-down, the knights carry their horses on their backs and the bishops have changed into mean characters. This altering of the chess game characters and representation by the dancers makes a statement giving importance to the common citizen as the base of an equalitarian society. The performance looping on the globe shows thirty-two children (from the Carousel Dance Centre) building a chess board. They dance on it and then deconstruct the form into strips and gears, until breaking it completely into irregular forms. The dance is led by dancer Michelle Moylan and artist Cesar Forero; as the players. The role of the players is also altered by not having a specific team; at points they are even being controlled by the chess characters and they mingle with the audience. Audience members are given masks to wear while viewing the performance to ease their transformation into the carnival. Thus, the intention of creating the virtual relationship as a part of the sculptural object; the globe questions our participation and social roles on the planet. No matter where we are our actions affect the place we live.

The box

Through the mediums of sculpture and dance performance, The Box project relates and contrasts natural and artificial forms, natural processes of growth, and rhythms of existence. Signifiers used in the installation and performance explore tensions and possibilities for coexistence between a house and nature. Contemporary society is increasingly aware of the environmental degradation in landscapes developed
solely for economic gain. New initiatives to find solutions are constantly arising. Some choose to reject technological progress and embrace nature as the only value of existence. Others ignore the environmental situation likely to avoid feelings of guilt towards the consequences of our actions. Perhaps the answer is coexistence.

The Box begins as a dance performance on the fall equinox of 2007 (Sep. 21). The performance takes place at a house on Nettie Lake in Northern Ontario. The house—or box—is set in an uncultivated forest landscape and interrupts the life flow of nature by pushing it aside; this is the prototype for the majority of building constructions. Clad in symbolic costumes, the performers contrast the artificial and organic through kinetic expression. During the performance, the dancers pull a long, green textile that partially covers the house, which symbolizes harmony between the building and the environment, like the shell left by the snail that carries and builds its own home. Ropes attached to the green textile are used to
intertwine the audience into the sculpture and performance. The ropes signify the labor of spiders creating webs. The box develops over subsequent showings at different galleries and theatres spaces. As an ongoing performance series, it accrues an increasing number of dancers and/or sculptural object according to the Fibonacci natural growth theory. Fibonacci sequences appear in biological patterns, such as, tree branches, spiral shells, waves, an unraveling fern stems. Many plants follow the Fibonacci numerical sequence in the arrangement of the leaves around a stem, flower petals, or trunk rings. Aside from the reference to natural forms and processes, the Fibonacci growth sequence allows The Box project to grow in number of performers and/or sculptures indefinitely to create an Installation and an extensive collaborative work. As the number of dancers in the performance grows, the choreography and costumes evolve in complexity maintaining the contrast of artificial and natural through form, gesture, and colour. The music for the performances transitions from unconventional percussion, simulating an industrial soundscape, to a rhythmic composition with overlays of sounds from the forest at Nettie Lake. The same textile that covers the house in the original performance is used to cover the sculpture. Again, the performers use the strings
to engage the audience into the sculpture and performance.

When the performance takes place in another location sculpture replaces the house at Nettie Lake. The sculpture incorporates both a dead tree, which has been transformed in parts of the sculpture and found objects from the forest that surrounds the lake house. As a residue or consequence of the performance, the
sculpture remains in the gallery space. A video loop of images of the site and subsequent performances is projected on the gallery wall.

This is a collaboration piece created by artist Cesar Forero, dance artist Michelle Moylan, and choreographer Richelle Brown-Hirlehey. The box includes the technical video assistance of Bill Dowling. The music is composed partly by Bruno Lerullo and varies musical selections made by Cesar Forero.

Twisting and Turning

Through the mediums of sculpture, installation, video, poetry, and dance performance, the Twisting and Turning collaboration project relates processes of growth and rhythms of existence. As signifier, this project explores the similarities between human and nature, both physically and in a symbolic way. This project includes two parts an installation and an opening performance in which small components of the installation are set up. The project is inspired from having found a death pine tree in the forest in the north of Ontario and its conceptual growing association with the human live. The natural initial growth of this tree was straight and suddenly the trunk had an incredible twisting and turning transition of growth.
This makes the tree to have and appealing sculptural form and to represent two different periods and a transition in live. The tree also, and probably for its proximity to a larger tree, grew its branches only on one direction giving to it a front and a back.

Removing the death tree from its site, it is set up into the context of an installation. Ten decades of human live are represented by the creation of ten miniature single branch sculptures, made from branches also found in the same forest. The ten sculptures act as frozen dancers, which are claiming from the back of
an additional sculptural component that accompanies the tree. The little miniature sculptures behave as dancers trying to reach the tree turning point. From the growing point of the tree and using it as centre, ten color oval rings are constructed around the tree and on the floor with scattered fragments of textiles, like continuing externally with the internal growing rings of the tree. (When the installation is set up outdoors, after the performance the fragments of textiles are replaced by ten rings of varies colorful living annual flower plants.) On the backdrop, a video projection shows the passing of ten of my family members each one at different decades of life. In the transition of the passing of each person on the projection, a fragment of a poem is recited life by poet J. Nichole Noel. The poem creates assumptions about nature, the life of the tree, and our own. As a cycle representing day and night and in costume, Nichole appears ten times from behind the backdrop, walks around the tree, and brings into the installation each one of the miniature branch sculptures. Dancing, Artist Cesar Forero and dancer Michelle Moylan accompany Nichole, and interacting with the audience relates through the dance to Nichole’s words and music.

By making the invisible visible and as turning point in our generation this project relates to the contemporary concern of protecting nature. Because we are also nature, the project explores tensions and possibilities of coexistence between humans and nature, relating to it and representing ourselves as nature. Contemporary society is increasingly aware of the environmental degradation in landscapes developed solely for economic gain. New initiatives to find solutions are constantly arising. Perhaps the answer is coexistence. We must accept that humans are a part of nature and explore shared rhythms of existence. Coexistence is then only possible as harmony between natural succession and our need to supply our needs and create space for our comfort and welfare.

The Maze

Despite the concern of our generation for protecting nature, there is not a clear path to follow. Finding solutions to the problem that we have created, and dealing with consequences of our actions is the greatest contemporary challenge. The search for an instrument that allows us to reflect on our actions, led to the
exploration of a maze.

The physical characteristic of a maze and the symbolic and spiritual experience of being in its path inspired this project. The physical characteristic of a maze is different than a Labyrinth. The main goal in a labyrinth is to reach a specific, known space; the maze however is difficult to navigate, like a tour puzzle through
complex branching passages, with different routes, choices and directions. The outcome from traveling through a maze becomes unpredictable, creating a physical and spiritual understanding of solving and finding the way out.

Walking in contemporary society is often a method of traveling hurriedly from one destination to the next, with no time two enjoy of this activity. Contrary, in this project walking through the maze becomes the symbolic experience just for the pleasure of walking1. Thus, passing through the path and being able to be
in the space provides time for thoughts and meditation.

This project is created to include two components; the installation and a dance performance: The installation questions our relationship with nature. Both artificial and natural objects create the structure of the maze.Obelisk like sculptures of 21”x21”x55” (inches) contain on their sides contrasting scenes as a search for coexistence. As a journalistic interpretation, inside of the obelisks are photographs
of both natural settings, challenged and contrasted by pictures portraying uncontrolled industrialization, pollution, contamination and deforestation. The pictures are mounted and sealed in plexi-glass columns and suspended inside of the obelisks. On top of each obelisk there is a miniature tree completing the triangular top characteristics of an obelisk. Alternating with the obelisks untreated wood trunks, of the same scale and collected dead from the forest show the marks of woodpeckers, and insects carving into the bark of tree trunks. The side trunks portrait the slowly decay and show the change of passing time on the project. The path created by the obelisks, it is balanced by three metal and mixed media bench sculptures. Their function on the composition is to create transitional spaces inviting to meditate, see the site, and observe the relation of the natural site and the artificial space created by the maze. The performance component of the project places three dancers into the path of the maze, as a way to relate the object with its narrative. The performance includes the participation of the artist Cesar Forero, and the dancers Michelle Moylan and Sandra Clarke. The dancers perform accordingly to the voice of the soprano singer Pam Patel, who sings a site-specific piece produced for the project, which creates assumptions of the coexisting relation of the human and nature. Pam Patel’s voice acts as the voice of a muse guiding
the dancers along the path of the maze. The music is created by the integration of a percussive industrial soundscape in harmony with Pam’s Voice.