Caridad Botella Lorenzo on Portents of our own.
The work of Diego Delas (Aranda de Duero, España, 1983) follows a research line that wishes to connect Spanish-speaking areas, where certain forms of language such as a sayings, proverbs and idioms that often imply superstitions, have been inherited from old and pre-industrial Castilian language that developed in rural areas of the region of Castilla y León (Spain). Delas, who is born in a Castilian village, delves in his roots through the oral tradition of his grandparents. This oral tradition of sayings and superstitions, gets filtered to countries such as Colombia, and, at the same time, receive the influence of other Colombian sayings that travel to Castilian lands. This double way of transmission is the departing point for Delas’s research that will be part of BARCU’s Artists in Residency Selection, curated by Ramiro Camelo.
Installed at the barrio of La Candelaria during his residency, Delas gathers material from institutions such as libraries, consulting printed sources, such as books of Colombian sayings but he also engages in conversations with people from the barrio, with the local elderly that is the recipient of a tradition that, even though is bound to disappear, it still wanders through the streets of the historical-colonial center of Bogota. Apart from the oral knowledge, sayings and proverbs, objects play a fundamental role in Delas’s work as well. As part of beliefs and superstitions, objects such as votive offerings or talismans are associated to offerings and spells. By invocating an action, they bring negative or positive consequences. This type of magic objects embodies the power of words and contains the power of beliefs.
Departing from these elements,-the oral and the objectual,- Delas creates fictions that, on one hand, bring us closer to the ludic part of his research and on the other, remind us of how time takes with it the meaning of saying and images, becoming these susceptible to re-signification. The result is a site-specific installation in which we find fictional spells,-almost like verbal and objectual Dadaist poems,- where chance plays an important role. These spells materialize in two forms: a collection of posters,-made with the last traditional printer of Bogota,- and a series of tapestries made with hammock fabric that. As a curious fact that reflects the loss of meaning, Delas finds out that the hammock, an element associated to Colombian culture, is manufactured in a different country. With this visual game of words, objects and magical, dislocated and fictional imagery, Delas is telling us that what was, isn’t any longer and what is, won’t keep being.