Miler Lagos


During this presentation I will address how print media and sculpture came together in my work; in particular I will review different moments that have preceded a final piece, those chains of events and intuitive encounters that have led my work to what it is today.

When looking back to my years as a student, I remember taking both, courses on print media and sculpture. At that time, I had the idea that images were volatile and by its lack of some sort of corporeality were light and ephemeral, all the opposite of what seemed to be the world of objects. Back then I never asked myself how images and objects connect and relate to each other, but nowadays they are the core questions of my artistic practice, as well they are for today’s talk.

A first encounter happened by looking at a publication on Leonardo Da Vinci, it included some sketches and original manuscripts in which you could see in detail the material condition of the original paper used by the artist: its wrinkles, fading colours and aging, contradictory to the whitest perfection of the current paper I was holding. Then I realized how the action of time plays as a trigger of human efforts to maintain culture up to date, a force that acts in opposition to the fragility of the support material but in tune with the vitality of the image and its power in society.

If the material evidence of centuries of existence of Da Vinci’s sketches was on my hand, in just one sheet of paper, then I tried to imagine how would it look like to put together all the reproductions of the same image that have been made until today and the possible volume it would occupy in the space. It is how, I started to work with piles of printed-paper sheets, an element I have explored trying to push the limits of the image and the object, in either direction.

The strong correlation I found between a single image, its meaning and the object as a container of time and memory, took me to explore with paper and form. Then, I printed thousands of a single image, piled them in cubes and when I wanted to remove their external edges, I started to carve with an angle grinder. Surprisingly, during this process, an intense wood smoky smell came from the paper, its surface looked burned, just like the bark of a tree. A lucky accident revealed a natural condition of the paper, the one of being tree.

This finding led me in 2007 to FOUNDATION, a project in which I took iconic engravings from the history of art and transform them into tree branches. Wood etchings such as the “Apocalypse” series by Albrecht Dürer inviting the viewer to surreal places, while “A hundred famous views of Edo” by Ottawa Hiroshige confronting the viewer by exposing the interaction of men and nature. In a later work, “El papel aguanta todo” (*Paper endures everything), I expanded the scope of sources using bibles, law books and art catalogues, observing how each one acts as a pillar of society behaviour, to finally using magazines and newspapers, which circulate massively around the world.

The notion of origin finds its better transcription in the tree, a silent witness of time, an unconditional archive of environmental events. Tree in paper form, is somehow the transformation of wood in a new raw material. Paper as the foundation of printing has allowed mobilization of images in time, in its thin and portable manner has become one of the main supports and carriers of culture. However, images and their circulation present in our time a new vitality and in order to understand their existence as a powerful source of meanings and material relations is relevant to set questions beyond their primordial uses and technicalities.

Miler Lagos was born in 1973 in Bogotá, where he lives and works. He is graduated from the National University in 2002. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including: Biennial of Site Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA; Museo Amparo, Puebla, México (2014<); AGYU, Toronto, Canadá); Valapraiso Intervenciones, Chile, (2010); Philagrafika, Philadelphia, (2010), Biennial of the Americas, Denver, USA (2010); 2d Triennial Poligrafica de San Juan, Puerto Rico (2009). Solo shows include: Frost Art Museum, Miami; Magnan Metz Gallery, New York; Foundation Odeon Theatre, Bogotá; Gallery Enrique Guerrero, México D.F;Ignacio Liprandi Contemporary Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina; AB Projects, Toronto, Canada. He has been an artis in residence in London at Gasworks; New York at Location One; Toronto at AB Projects; University of Pennsylvania in Philadelfia,USA and NGBK in Berlín, Germany.

Panel 4: The Expanded Field
September 17, 2015
2 p.m  -  4:30 p.m