Intimate House / Casa Íntima (1996)
Support to the exhibition: Colombian Ministry of Culture.
“When I was told of the imminent demolition of a house in Bogotá’s Chapinero neighborhood – a house inhabited by one family’s several generations – I made it my business to learn about what had transpired there. During a whole year, I frequented and talked with the mother, Helena Uribe; her three daughters, Erna, Erika, and Giselle Von der Walde; and with friends as well as tenants that had been there at one time or another. I made interviews and recorded everyday scenes, among them the moving and the demolition. Later on, I turned all of that material into a piece consisting of four simultaneous video projections. With this work, I expected that the spectators – as they stood in the middle of the exhibit hall – would experience a state of loss and of familiar as well as urban violence”.
Piedad Bonnet interviews Clemencia Echeverri. Cal y Canto Catalogue, 2000.
For this piece the artist also delved into a domestic and feminine world, though this one located in an urban context, with its own particular aggressions upon the function of inhabitancy. Echeverri records here the sonorous and visual story of the physical and mental plunder of a sheltering space. This one does not transpire in the violent altars of a collective war, but rather in the intimate ones of a dwelling in one of Bogota’s traditional neighborhoods, which was bound to disappear by reason of real-estate market pressures. The metaphor propagates here to the spatial awkwardness of contemporaneity, to the pauperization of inhabitancy, to the normative ordering of bodies, to the seriality and industrialization of domestic spaces.
Women of three generations turned into urban outcasts – not by actors of a war but by agents of speculation – must leave the place of their origins, their history, their roots. They must give up the house-home so that it may fall under the blows of urbanist merchants. The act is no less violent just by reason of being subtle, civilized: it is an act of plunder, the installation of a non-site, a forsaking of cornered bodies. But however it may be, the ruins of that house will remain impregnated by secret vestiges: a stain on a wall, the scars on wooden doors, a sunbeam that does not fail to arrive every afternoon to the place where there used to be a patio. Perhaps, that Intimate House is not merely a physical building, and those women on their way out will carry it within themselves, wherever they may go.
Sol Astrid Giraldo.
4 video sound projections
General direction: Clemencia Echeverri.
Edition video and sound: Pierre Heron.