Fall 2014 : Santiago Leal

1 - 30 November 2014

  • Santiago Leal

Colombian Residency Exchange

Eastern Bloc, for the first time, has reached an agreement with the city of Medellin, in Columbia, for a residency exchange. We are proud to announce that we will be welcoming Colombian artist Santiago Leal in residence, as part of an exchange between Canada and Colombia. This marks the first stage in an expansion of international artistic exchanges.

During his residency with Eastern Bloc, Leal will further develop his Dreams project. The new piece in the collection will be called Made in Canada 1.0 - From Sea to Sea. The work, which will take on the form of an interactive piece, proposes a view of the Canadian workplace as seen by an outsider. From the outside, according to the artist, Canada appears to be a land of open promise and possibility, offering vast perspectives for all.

To illustrate this idea, Leal metaphorically uses the image of the dandelion and makes it evolve from seed to bird capable of flying freely from sea to sea. In his work, the artist seeks to restore the legitimacy of dreams and questions the legitimacy of judgments that we normally bring to them. However he also questions the illusions contained in dreams concerning strange lands and cultures, as well as the deceptions that can result from these, by confronting them with statistical data and living realities. Leal stages human beings' constant search for an 'elsewhere', as a life force, but also as a possible source of loss.

Leal's work is eminently multifaceted and firmly based in intermedia arts. The work to be constructed here will consist of a crossing of physical presence, sculpture, and the virtual, via a programming and interactive video device. Leal aussi shines a light on cultural standardisation procedures inherent in power systems, from which all travellers, to a certain extent, try to escape, but also risk finding elsewhere. He remarks, in particular, how media discourses universally agree to concentrate generally on the 'What?', the factual and the material, more than on the 'How?', the mind and the human being. Is the voyage to be made as much of an interior nature as it is geographical?

Leal will also take the opportunity during his Eastern Bloc residency to present his project in an informal discussion, and moreover, to carry out a workshop in order to share knowledge directly linked to his creative project: basis for the electronics, image recognition with sensors, microcontrolloers for real-time video transformation. We will soon be announcing the schedule and details of this workshop.

Santiago Leal lives and works in Bogota, Colombia. Graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program of the Chelsea College of Art and Design (London), he was the recipient of a scholarship from the Bank of the Colombian Republic as part of their 2001 Young Talent program. He has in the past participated in several exhibitions, individually and collectively, in Colombia, the United Kingdom, Singapour and the United States with, notably,

Ephemeral Illusions, Subjects, from the And they lived in reality ever after series, as well as Made in, from the Dreams series.


1 - 30 November 2014