Skyless (2017)
Cultural landscape. Banco de la República. Headquarters, Manizales, Colombia.

In fragments of images that are decomposed and recomposed on nine screens organized in a grid, the landscape in a place in northwestern Colombia (Marmato, Caldas) is transformed by aggressive marks left by gold mining. A poisoned, toxic and forgotten territory. This audiovisual action reveals traces of cyanide, of mercury in putrefying waters of sludge that leave devastation and drowning in their wake. It is a ‘moral ruin’ that has profound effects on the political, social and ideological dimension of the territory.

Registro fotográfico de Sin Cielo en la Retrospectiva LIMINAL/Clemencia Echeverri, Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia, 2019. 

In Sin cielo/Skyless the artist records what happens in Marmato, Caldas, a town settled on a mountain full of gold veins, where mining has been going on for 400 years, first in local hands and more recently also through multinational companies. What the video records, once again, is the river, but this time making us see what the mine dumps bring: cyanide, mercury, everything that is lethal poison for the people in exchange for the search for gold.

As we watch, amidst astonishment, indignation and pain, the level of the atrocious contamination of the waters, we hear the incessant clattering of the miners against the stone, reminding us of the presence of these humble men, sunk in the tunnels, humbly earning their livelihood, perhaps unaware of the tremendous environmental damage caused by these mines. Clemencia Echeverri’s camera also records the desolate panorama of a town that evidences no wealth: rather chaos and ugliness, nothing that looks like the realization of a world dreamed of to live in dignity. The title Sin cielo perhaps refers to the double condition of working underground and, more metaphorically, to the hopelessness of the whole situation.

Piedad Bonnett


Sin Cielo en el Movistar Arena (Bogotá) como parte de la FERIA BARCÚ. 


— Rivus. 23rd Biennial of Sydney. Australia. 2022. Certificate of participation.

— Barcú Art Fair. Bogotá. 2020.

— Art Gallery of Guelph. Curated by Sally Frater. Canada. 2020-21.

—  LATITUDES. Group exhibition. Faculty of Arts, Universidad Javeriana. Bogotá. 2020.

— Liminal Retrospective. Miguel Urrutia Art Museum, (MAMU), Banco de la República. 2019-20.

— Strata. Rocks, dust, stars. MAC Panama. 2018.

— Sicardi Gallery, Bogotá. 2017.

—  Energetica. Curated by José Ignacio Roca and Isaac Dyner. 2017.

— Video wall and mono-channel video. Commissioned by the Museo de Arte, Banco de la República. 2016.

Fotografìa intervenida con dibujo y collage. Sin Cielo, 2016. 

Sin cielo suggests a relationship with the consequences of rampant illegal or legal mining. Although the viewers are neither inside the screening room, nor outside as in Nóctulo, but in front of the work, the scale of the work, the multiple monitors and the enveloping and stressful sound bring the experience of fragmentation and disintegration to a limit point where the work itself seems to be in danger of unraveling.

In Sin cielo and Subterra, by contrast with the presence of the sublime in the contemplation of the mountainous landscape of Supervivencias, the “normalization” and the unfortunate familiarity that the eroded and abused mountains in Colombia have come to have are confronted. The colors and stains of liquids that are presumed to be toxic -attractive and repugnant at the same time-, mixing with the water streams that flow into a larger river, the Cauca, allow us to intuit the sinister contamination, although it is never confirmed. The relationship with the possible causes of the discharge of liquids cannot be established either. One is tempted to accusingly point the finger at those who in some images appear to be dumping waste; however, the panoramic views of their physical surroundings and the ruins of a mountaintop hamlet lead one to wonder whether they are the perpetrators or the victims of these procedures.

María Margarita Malagón.


Videowall 9 monitors of 55” each, FULL HD

  • Sound: stereo
  • Duration: 11’20”. Loop.
  • Projection area: 3. 70m x 2. 15m.


Location: Municipality of Marmato, Caldas. Gold mining.
General director: Clemencia Echeverri
Director of photography: Camilo Echeverri
Sound Composition: Juan Forero y Clemencia Echeverri
Sound design: Juan Forero
Editing: Víctor Garcés and Clemencia Echeverri

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