Over the course of two years, from 2008 to 2010, the artist Mateo López traveled through his native Colombia, from Bogotá to Cali to Medellin. Crisscrossing vast expanses of territory via Vespa, López made drawings rendering in precise detail ordinary objects he encountered. In a country stressed by constant conflict among government forces, revolutionary guerrillas, drug cartels, and paramilitary groups, traveling—and the drawing that served as his diary—were acts of both endurance and contemplation. Using López’s Viaje sin movimiento—an installation of his drawings from this journey—as a focal point, A Trip from Here to There explores practices and works generated by walking, wandering, and travel.
As members of exploratory expeditions and surveys, painters and draftsmen have long played key roles in the plotting and investigation of place. Beginning in the second half of the 20th century, as artists increasingly emphasized the process by which an artwork is made, road trips and other journeys became both medium and subject. In some works, a walk or sojourn is precisely documented via maps and charts, dates and times, while in others, wandering’s inherent detours and deviations are embraced, resulting in collages of impressions or graphs of explored terrain. For some artists, drawing is both nomadic and solitary, while for others it is a way to engage with one’s environment and its inhabitants. In addition to López, artists include Marcel Broodthaers, Juan Downey, Hamish Fulton, Brion Gysin, Mona Hatoum, Richard Long, and Jorge Macchi.
Organized by Jodi Hauptman, Curator, Department of Drawings, and Luis Pérez-Oramas, The Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin