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, modelling and printing to readdress entrenched arguments of repatriation and colonial histories. His work has focused on new materiality 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, modelling, 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, DUOMO in progress, Ep7, Paris, France; Inflexão Wrong Biennale, Sesc, Sao Paulo, Brazil ArteCamara, feria ArtBo, Bogotá, Roca Lunar, Planetario Distiral, Bogota, Festival de la imagen, Manizales (2019); INSIDE INTEL, Centre for Investigative Journalism; 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, Death of the image and the birth of photography, Central Saint Martins Window Gallery (2018); Connecting Columms, Srishiti Outpost Mill Hall – Collateral program –Kochi Mu Zhiris Biennale, Kochi and MM/2: Archipiélago, fuera del círculo, ARTHOUSENTH Gallery, Toluca, (2017) Deep inside, Moscow Biennale for young art (2016)
He teaches at Universidad el Bosque and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota and he has been visiting lecturer at 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, online (2018), and Artificial Nature (2019) at Internet Moon Gallery, And How to inhabit the screen at Espacio Odeón (2020)
How to dust the surface
How to Dust the Surface offers a contemporary gaze at museum institutions in the UK. The artist was invited by the Warrington Museum to reflect on its past and speculate on possible futures. As a provincial museum, it is a living reflection of imperial Britain, its quasi-ethnographic collections reflects the museum’s impossibility of detaching itself from its colonial past. Using the multiform, misshapen or monstrous as a strategy, Covelli created an anti-monument that deconstructs and interprets the monument of Oliver Cromwel, to re-imagine this converted monster as part of a dystopian future, reflecting on the harshness of the imperialist past and imagining a possible digital imperialism and its leaders. Likewise, objects such as the bronze of Benin, or the Fiji mermaid, recall the English colonialist past. Using new technologies for the decolonization of the museum and its digital future, these objects were digitized and then reconfigured not as an iconoclastic act but as a strategy to free them from their colonial past. The resulting piece it’s a
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