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Juan Covelli - Limitations of the same

Juan Covelli
Limitations of the same

In his recent work, Covelli has been experimenting with artifacts from the Dogon tribe of West Africa that he discovered in the Guttormsgaard Archive in Norway. Through his research about Dogon cosmology as well as various digitization efforts, Covelli has created digital objects that intervene in and re-figure the original artifacts, thus creating entirely new entities.

Covelli’s concerns are connected to the archive’s potential of being a tool for activism and art making against digital colonialism. He is fascinated by the digital archive as a way of democratizing the object and liberating it from physical and geographical constraints. Today we experience a paradigm shift from perspective to the realm of volume. The rise of scanning and 3D technologies has made this change ever more relevant. For Covelli, the significance lies in the reproduction and production of objects where repetition becomes difference. If we are able to reproduce endless exact copies, what happens with the original?

Juan Covelli is an artist currently living and working between London and Bogotá. A graduate of MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins, London, his practice revolves around the technological potentials of 3D scanning, modeling and printing to readdress entrenched arguments of repatriation and colonial histories. His work has focused on new materialities generated by the digital era; in particular, on the dynamics and approaches of the physical within the digital world. In the last few years, he has been exploring the relationship between technology, heritage, archaeology and digital colonialism. Using video, modeling, data sets and coding he creates IRL and URL installation-based works which collapse historical practices with current models of display and digital aesthetics.

Solo and duel shows include  How to dust the surface, Warrington Museum & Art Gallery, Warrington (2018); and Nexcuitilamatl, Galería ADM, Mexico City (2017). As well as group shows ArteCamara, feria ArtBo, Bogotá, Roca Lunar,  Planetario Distiral, Bogota (2019); INSIDE INTEL, Centre for Investigative Journalism; and New Materialities in the Digital Age, Harlesden High Street Gallery, London; The image of things, Guttormsgaard Archive, Oslo; and Neo Norte, Fundación Cultural de Providencia, Santiago De Chile (2018); Deep inside, Moscow biennale for young art (2016)He has presented his work at  Universidad el Bosque, Bogota and the UCL Multimedia Anthropology Lab, London and was an invited guest artist for the In-ruins residency programme. He is the curator the group show of Fake plastic forevers & détournement of digital colonialism, Internet Moon Gallery, online (2018) and Artificial Nature for The Wrong biennale (2019).

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