And to dust you shall return

"And to Dust You Shall Return" is a sculpture and performance project. My objective was to make an action where I destroy a sculture. The main idea was to make a performance where I amputate my own arm. I staged the action with a fake arm, shot a video and made photographs. I was inspired by the schocking action-art by the viennese actionism group (G√ľnter Brus and Hermann Nitsch) and by the concept of inform by Rosalind Krauss: the sculpture is not the arm, it's the destroyed arm on the ground, it's the mess that's left after a violent act.

I first sculpted my arm using bee's wax. I put soil and real human bones inside the wax sculpture. I got human bones from the medicine faculty. When I developed this project I was studying visual arts at the National University of Colombia. Our drawing teacher took us to the morgue, so we could use dead bodies as models for the class. That's how I made the contact and after some paperwork I got the bones lent over for my project.

When I did this work it was known that the Colombian military was killing innocent civilians. They wanted to pass the civilians as guerrilla members so they could get promotions to higher positions into the military and rewards (more holidays for example). After checking them as guerrilla members they were killed, mutilated and buried underground in mass graves which were afterwards discovered resulting ina political scandal in Colombia. That was a reason for using soil and bones as a material. The bones are a reference to our mortality. The soil represents creativity, the possibility to grow and life. The arm is another symbol for creativity, it's the artist's tool and it represents our capacity to build something with our hands. The wax represents the bees and their collective work, it is a symbol for creativity as well and the act of destroying the arm represents war, corruption, death and destruction. My performance is an act of mutilation which evoques what happens in my country where creativity and life are mutilated in our civil war.