I sit and look out | March 2016 | Barrio Abajo Gallery, Colombia
Single channel video & audio, salt, plywood, plastic, paper, found metal objects

Supported by Artists International Development Fund, British Arts Council

Sarah Bayliss’ work in Colombia is based in the recollection of images and experiences - it is kind of a travelogue. Quiet and contemplation are part of this project, and - as much of contemporary art – it points beyond itself, further away from a pictorial series of events into a multidimensional surface.

The show at Barrio Abajo Center for Contemporary Creation invites us to stay a while and take a moment to look outside of ourselves. It is an invitation to stop our constant movement and wait. This kind of approach avoids imposing a specific reflection, it opens room for people to generate their own. It asks us to inhabit the internal environment of our own mind and spirit. What does it mean to look out? Where is inside? Who is looking? From where does she look? Who speaks? From where does he speak?

This is the romantic attitude by definition. In the painting by Caspar David Friederich, a character looks out towards a cloud horizon from the top of a mountain. Individual exaltation in romanticism has a lot to do with a powerful rebellion. Sometimes contemplation fills us up with a joyful silence, some others widen open eyes to overwhelm us before the world´s injustice and pain.

The journey, the movement of people across different cultural realities, organizes the world in different ways. Cortazar in Rayuela, speaks of the accidental drawings produced on the surface of the earth by two lovers separated by far away distance. Let´s think of the movement of people along the longest rivers of the world, those rivers in the maps of our history books. They tell us where gold, lapis, copper, wood, bronze and mother of pearl came from. More important than the movement of raw material, than what goes in trunks, boxes and pockets is what goes inside of people. The communication of a series of associations and internal worries is the commerce that most radically and surreptitiously can change the world.

Sarah noticed that in Colombia people use their hands a lot. Labor implies a circular movement - picking up fishing nets for example - and a repetition in time, learned and taught once and again across generations. The circles on our patio floor echo and symbolize this repetitive movement. Sitting outside you can see the repeated if variant choreography that we make when we sell secrets on the street. A secret heap moves from under a rock to under the next. On weekends, we have the incredibly loud repetition of the same collection of beloved songs. The banging of drums produces similar movements of the soul and the tapping of our feet. Some streets away, the insistent traction of our own progress has traced a transversal line that sliced up the face of our history.

Claudia Casais
Director of Barrio Abajo Centro de Creación Contemporánea