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43 Salón (inter) Nacional de Artistas
Medellin, September, 2013

Interview with Oscar Roldán Alzate

O.R. How did your passion for the photographic image begin? How did you start in art?

C.E. It was born from a wish to use images to conserve impressions of travels I have made since I was very young, perhaps my strongest childhood memories. My start as an artist was very gradual; it was not a deliberate decision.

O.R.: A fundamental part of your work concerns documenting your travels. When and why did your expeditions begin?

C.E.: At a very early age I began to travel with my family. These were road trips, so there were substantial differences in altitude, climate, vegetation, and even in smells. Going to the coast by car was always an intense experience. The “otherness” of many landscapes always enchanted me. Later, at the end of the 1980’s and beginning of the 1990’s, I undertook many trips to isolated places in national parks. However, I just wanted to travel and contemplate these places, making photographs was not my priority. I think that a strong part of what motivates my travels and attempts to document these landscapes is a wish to reconstruct places that exist only in my memory.

O.R.: Within that logic, can you tell us about the importance of territory in your work?

C.E.: I seek aesthetic and sensorial experiences from my early travels which have, in some way, stayed with me. I am also curious abut constructing landscapes based on alien territories that have become familiar, either because I have repeatedly seen pictures or read about them. I am interested in constructing concrete and images representing ideals that don't manifest themselves at first glance. In some cases, the territory is the raw material for the images I want to create.

O.R.: Among other things, art can be used to narrate stories. What stories are you interested in telling, documenting or recreating?

C.E.: Each place has marks and imprints left by man that may interpreted and used by the observer to create different stories. In a deliberate but subtle way, I like to include aspects which refer to mankind’s situations and occurrences. The landscape is a living testimony to history.

O.R.: Although the bulk of your work may be described as photographic, you have been using a method of your own to experiment with time in animated photographs. Can you tell us about that?

C.E.: These technical and conceptual strategies are the basis of previous works (Axis Mundi and Tunnel View) and I use them as a platform to represent ideas and concerns towards landscape representation. In this work, in addition to describing space, I show time and incorporate movement. The result is a “total” landscape, where the narrative possibilities are expanded allowing more options for representing observations, memories and concerns.