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Biography

MIGUEL ÁNGEL ROJAS (b. 1946, Colombia/Lives in Colombia)

“In some way, my work is a self-portrait, even if it deals with themes such as drug-trafficking or war, events that I have no direct part; that information passes through the filter of ‘I’…”

Miguel Ángel Rojas is a conceptual and multimedia artist whose work addresses subjective experience, identity, and politics. His projects have included indictments of international drug trafficking and violence, and much of his work focuses upon experiences of marginality. In 1964, he began studying architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, where he remained for six semesters. Deciding not to pursue a career in architecture, Rojas enrolled at the School of Fine Arts at Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá in 1969. His earliest experiments with long-exposure photographic portraits and self-portraits began during this period in the mid-1960s and continued throughout the 1970s.

In 1973, he began one of his most important series of photographs, the Faenza series. Rojas took these photographs—of encounters between gay men at B-movie theaters in Bogotá—secretly, hiding his camera in a suitcase or under a jacket.  The resulting images are ghostly records of the affective and physical experiences of a largely invisible community. The series also marks Rojas’s first exploration of his own subjectivity as central to his work, and it was his first extended foray into photography “at a time when photography was not a medium considered part of the great canon of the plastic arts,” he recalls. The freedom that came with working outside of the accepted subject matter and materials of fine arts allowed Rojas the space to make what he would call “leaps in the dark” as he established his formative style. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Rojas also worked with engraving, drawing, video, intaglio, stitching, and photographic reductions.

In the mid-1990s, Rojas began using coca leaves in his work. Initially the works explored histories of indigenous life in Colombia, but over time Rojas began using them to comment upon the production of cocaine for consumption in the first world.  Since the 1990s, he has used coca to reconstruct pop imagery, bringing consumerism into dialogue with widespread political and social problems. “The great lesson of pop, for me,” he says, “is the way society looks at itself—understanding that art is in everything. That it is the ‘skin’ of culture. Every human action, all the markers of an age, including tastes and violence, are the driving forces in art.”

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021
Return to the Maloca, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO), Bogotá, Colombia 

2020
El Jaguar y la Mariposa, Museo Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

2018    
Greed and Desire, Sicardi | Ayers | Bacino, Houston, TX, USA
Una y otra vez, las tardes suspendidas, Galería Casas Riegner, Bogotá, Colombia

2015
Un Jardín para Inés, Museo Claustro de San Agustín,Bogotá, Colombia
Miguel Ángel Rojas: Unas de cal y otras de arena (Quimbaya), Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, ARCO Madrid 2015, Madrid, Spain

2013
El camino corto, Sala de Arte Público Siqueros, Cuernevaca, Morelos
Negocios Grandes y Pequeños, Galería Casas Reigner, Bogotá, Colombia

2012
Camino Corto, Museo de Arte Universidad Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia
El Nuevo Dorado, Solo Project invitation, ARCO: Feria Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, Spain

2011
At the Edge of Scarcity, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA

2009
Pueblito. Museo Bolivariano de Arte Contemporáneo. Santa Martha, Colombia

2008
Fotofest, 2008, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA

2007
Objetivo-Subjetivo, Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia
David, La vitrina, Lugar a Dudas, Cali, Colombia

2006
Fotofest 2006, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA

2002
La Cama de Piedra, Museo Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia

2001
Sub, Galería Valenzuela, Klenner, Bogotá, Colombia

2000
La Cama de Piedra, Alianza Colombo – Francesa, Bogotá, Colombia

1995
Pascal y Pascual, Museo del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico

1992
Dibujo y Pintura, Galería Arteria, Barranquilla, Colombia

1991
Bio, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá, Colombia

1990
Miguel Angel Rojas, Museo de Arte Moderno, Cartagena, Colombia
Miguel Angel Rojas obra en proceso, Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellín, Colombia
Pinturas, Galería Garcés-Velásquez, Bogotá, Colombia

1985
Bio, Intar Latin-American Gallery, New York, NY, USA

1982
Subjetivo, Galería Garcés-Velásquez, Bogotá, Colombia

1981
Works on Paper, Center for Inter-American Relationes, New York, NY, USA

1980
Grano, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá, Colombia

Selected Public Collections

Banco de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico

Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba

Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), Miami, FL, USA

Coleccion de la Rectoria de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

Coleccion Embajada de Colombia en España, Madrid, Spain

Daros Latin America Collection, Zürich, Switzerland

Diane and Bruce Halle Collection of Latin American Art, Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Embajada de Francia, Bogotá, Colombia

Fundación La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain

Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico

Les Abattoirs Musée-FRAC Occitanie Toulouse, Toulouse, France

Museo de Arte Americano de Managua, Managua, Nicaragua

Museo de Arte Banco de La República, Bogotá, Colombia

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), Leon, Spain

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico

Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia

Museo de Arte Moderno, Barranquilla, Colombia

Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá, Colombia

Museo de Arte Moderno, Bucaramanga, Colombia

Museo de Arte Moderno, Cartagena, Colombia

Museo de Arte Universidad Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia

Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela

Museo Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Houston, TX, USA

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY, USA

Tate Modern, London, UK