Rafael Gómezbarros (b. 1972)
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Rafael Gómezbarros (b. 1972)

Casa Tomada (House Taken Over)

Rafael Gómezbarros (b. 1972)
Casa Tomada (House Taken Over)
resin, fibreglass, screen cotton, wood, rope, Cerrejón coal, in six parts
six units, each: 32 x 28 x 6 ¾in. (81.3 x 71.1 x 17.1cm.)
overall: dimensions variable
Executed in 2013
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2013.
Santa Marta, Altar de la Patria, Casa Tomada, 2008 (another example exhibited).
Barranquilla, Aduana, Casa Tomada, 2008 (another example exhibited).
Bogota, Galeria Alonso Garces, Casa Tomada, 2009 (another example exhibited).
Bogota, Capitolio Nacional de Colombia, Casa Tomada, 2010 (another example exhibited).
Santo Domingo, Museo de Arte Moderno, Trienal del Caribe, 2010 (another example exhibited).
Havana, Teatro Fausto, 11th Havana Biennial, 2012 (another example exhibited).
Linz, OK Offenes Kulturhaus, Biennale Couvee 13, 2013 (another example exhibited).
London, Saatchi Gallery, Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, 2014, p. 47 (various installation views illustrated in colour, pp. 48-53).
London, Saatchi Gallery, DEAD: A Celebration of Mortality, 2015.
Manchester, The Lowry Centre, Casa Tomada, 2015 (another example exhibited).
Knislinge, Wanas Konst Foundation, 2016 (another example exhibited).
Watou, Kunstenfestival Watou, 2016 (another example exhibited).
New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Naturalia, 2017 (another example exhibited).
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Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord

Lot Essay

With its swarm of gigantic sculptural ants, Rafael Gómezbarros’ Casa Tomada belongs to the artist’s celebrated project of the same title. These installations, which have been shown across the world since 2007, represent the displacement of people from his native Columbia due to violence and conflict over the last fifty years. Crafted from tree branches, fibreglass and fabric, the ants’ bodies were made by assembling two polyester casts of human skulls. The creatures, normally associated with labour and complex social organisation, thus become ciphers for death, suffering and upheaval. The work’s title references a short story by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar, in which a large mansion is invaded by elusive beings who announce their presence through muted sounds. This metaphor, read in conjunction with the present work, invokes a pronouncement made by Cortázar shortly before he passed away: that unless a country buries its dead, their ghosts will remain. Adoring the exterior of the Saatchi Gallery in its original Pangaea exhibition at Duke of York Square in 2014, variations of Casa Tomada have been installed at locations including Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino – the hacienda where Simón Bolívar spent his final days – as well as Barranquilla’s customs building and the National Congress in Bogotá.

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