Through Bougarel’s lens

Jennifer Cárdenas © Solkes

Taking advantage of the framework of the Colombia – France 2017 year, an original exhibition of the photographer, expeditionary, diplomat and French collector Ernest Bourgarel arrived in Bogotá for the first time.


An endless union

He fell in love with Colombia at the end of the 19th century.

He had the privilege of portraying the country in an era full of contrasts.

On the one hand, a panorama of conflict and poverty, and on the other, a process of modernisation and cultural richness.

This photographic exhibition, called “Beyond the cliché”, is showcased thanks to the photographic Ernest Bourgarel and the French Ministry of Foreign fund.

Jennifer Cárdenas © Solkes


Power of photography

Photographs, according to the author, arise from two fundamental needs: the first, to collect documentary support for his diplomatic reports as a diagnostic tool for foreign institutions of power, and second, to construct a personal sociocultural photographic collection that emphasises art in its job.

Jennifer Cárdenas © Solkes

The photographic narrative presents images from emblematic publications such as La Revista Ilustrada, El Gráfico, El Periódico Ilustrado, El Libro Azul de Colombia, which played a decisive role in the circulation of iconographic representations (lithographs, photolithographs, and photographs).

Jennifer Cárdenas © Solkes

They were also important in the consolidation of the power of the photographic image, as a narrative, probative, intentional and ideological tool, and therefore in political arena. (De Certeau, L’invention du quotidienI Arts de faire, Gallimard 1990.)

Representatives of the Association Ernest Bourgarel, Marie Claude Acero and Charles – Henry Dubail, points out that The Year Colombia – France 2017 is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations.

It should also update the perception of both countries, strengthening cultural exchanges, develop scientific research and strengthen ties between France and Colombia.

“This Year is organised in France by the Institut Français, the Cultural Agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in Colombia by an inter sectoral committee composed of the Ministers of Culture, Foreign Affairs, Education and Trade, Industry and Tourism. This was stated by Colombian General Conissioner Fabián Sanabria and French Commissioner Anne Louyot, chosen to be at the forefront of this issue.

Jennifer Cárdenas © Solkes

With cultural events, such as this photographic exhibition, another facade from our country will be shown. A less known facade that will surprise the viewers.

Jennifer Cárdenas © Solkes

According to Oscar Londoño, art historian of the Bogotá Museum, the curator Ana María Cifuentes bets on this exhibition to open new paths in the investigation of photography in Colombia and its first beginnings.


The results

Bourgarel weaves a narrative around his images that not only focus on photographing the indigenous or the peasant, but they tell a story of significant events at a certain time period.

This photographic exhibition, is the perfect excuse for this post conflict moment, placing social, cultural and even artistic junctures that took place centuries ago and that today are part of that journey that we are living.

Jennifer Cárdenas © Solkes

Anyone who wants to enter the magical world of photography and perceive the history of Colombia from another perspective, can visit the Museum of Bogotá in La Candelaria.

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