Monday, April 6, 2015

Mateo Gómez García

Mateo Gómez García was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1988. In 2007 he moved to Buenos Aires to study cinema and photography but after 5 months he decided to dedicate himself only to photography. He met there his mentors Juan Travnik, Ataulfo Perez Aznar and Alberto Goldstein. In 2009 he returned to Colombia where he has dedicated himself to develop documentary projects around the Colombian culture from a perspective removed from the stereotype of violence and drugs, focusing in cultural and psicological aspects native to the colombian culture. His work has been feature in Little Brown Mushroom and Vice Mexico among others. He has also exhibited his work in Foto Fever Festival and Arles Open Salon.

Artist Statement: A Place to Live 

“Small and modest things disappear, as well as small and modest images” 
Wim Wenders, The Urban Landscape

There is an ideal place to live. However, there's a conflict between ideal and reality. The city assumes the ideal position by offering work, cultural and intellectual diversity, but at the same time the reality is costlier, impersonal, routinary, controlled and accelerated. That is the reason many prefer to live in the suburbs and outskirts of the city in order to have the benefits of both the tranquility of the country and the opportunities of the city.

Bogota proves to be in unstable territory as the city grows rapidly. In 1930, the population stood at 300,000 people while today, it extends to 8 million inhabitants. The periphery of the city is always a place with development potential. It is always expanding and the continuous appropriation of space is inevitable. One's behaviour changes with landscape and the city imposes a domestic stereotype of a better life that can only be defined as controlled; the contradictory hope of progress. For 11 years, I have lived in La Calera, one of 18 districts on Bogota's savannah.

La Calera acts as a familial weekend destination to visit the countryside, eat the famous fritanga (a tray with blood sausage, potatoes, chorizos, steak and more) or to visit a mirador (view point) to look at Colombia's chaotic capital. Things have changed with the passing of time. New residential projects, country clubs and shopping malls have invaded this beautiful rural environment causing a social and environmental disequilibrium. Water is becoming scarce and what one once saw as beautiful valleys are now residential projects.

After seeing these drastic changes in such a short time I felt the need to produce a photographic record not only of La Calera but of some other neighboring districts which are suffering the same fate, if not worse. Part of my interest in this project is to propose an illusion of progress and development, the happy family and an unpromising future from an ironic and pesimistic point of view.

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