Since 1962, Beatriz González has used painting as a means of appropriating and interpreting preexisting images from Western painting, popular culture, and photojournalism. By contrast to metropolitan versions of Pop art, her interest lies not in images of spectacle and commodity, but rather in generating what the artist herself described as a “provincial” painting practice that—thanks especially to the mediation of the Argentine-Colombian critic Marta Traba’s writing—became a model for Latin American painting, a sort of Pop from the global South. Her best-known and most influential works are the assemblages she has made since the 1970s by combining her paintings with inexpensive furniture and unusual support media like backdrops, parchment paper, and graphic objects. Beginning in the 1980s, her works commented increasingly on public life and violence in Colombia. González is also an art historian, cultural critic, museologist, the author of several books, and a point of reference in the educations of many recent Colombian artists.

The exhibition presented at the MUAC differs radically from recent retrospectives of the artist’s work in Europe and the United States: this is not simply a retrospective of the career of a South American Pop artist, but also a review of González’s methods for exploring the communicative power of figure.


In addition to presenting an important selection of key works by the Colombian painter, War and Peace: A Poetics of Gesture offers the public a perspective on the artist’s abiding study of bodily gestures in her paintings. The exhibition features series of works that the artist took from photojournalistic images and developed into paintings, drawings, prints, and public works. In each such work, Beatriz González refines a bodily gesture in order to produce a deep expression of empathy and human understanding.

Such point of view is especially relevant to evaluating the painter’s work over the past three decades. Writers and curators have often approached González’s mature work as if it represented a thematic interest in violence in Colombia. The MUAC exhibition seeks to show the quality of González’s work as a painter in terms of its capacity for sensory communication, and in the work involved in formal and passional invention grounded in ordinary images.


Artist: Beatriz González (Bucaramanga, Colombia, 1932)

Curators: Cuauhtémoc Medina and Natalia Gutiérrez

Curatorial Coordinator: Alejandra Labastida

Traveling exhibition to the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art




Beatriz González. Guerra y paz: una poética del gesto

Authors : Natalia Gutiérrez Montes, Cuauhtémoc Medina

Language : Spanish & English

Editor: MUAC, UNAM

Price: $400