Los gestos muertos (Photo–Book)

Interested in silences, the invisible and in the dissonances that occur in the writing of history, Arango developed Los gestos muertos. It is a visual research project that performs a sort of dissection of the testimony by focusing on the hands of Colombian politicians while they deliver speeches during the recent peace process with Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC). This is the very same process that now exists as a frustrated and futile attempt after it was rejected by the country’s population in a referendum.

Making use of newspaper and magazine cuttings, web image searches, and exploring different archives, I gathered a vast collection of images (more than 1,500 were collected) that mostly depict politicians discussing the peace process. These were classified and catalogued according to the intention denoted by the gesturality of the depicted person’s hand(s). Los Gestos Muertos is small and simple; its red cover stands in high contrast to the collection of full bleed black and white images it contains inside. As the viewer quickly flips the pages back and forth, he/she dives into a torrent of hands: pointing, gesturing, holding, touching, clapping and shaking hands. Details such as suits, ties, watches and jewellery hint that these hands have a strong connection to power. We are looking at performative acts put together in a visual flow of a book format. This representation of the political moment also plays with the idea of how the negotiations were held – behind closed doors and shrouded in secrecy.

This work exists in two different editions. The first, an edition of 50 copies signed and numbered to be sold in bookshops and art spaces; the second is an edition of five luxury volumes.


© Text by Fabiola Iza

Los gestos muertos. 16.5 x 12.5 cm, edition of 50 signed and numbered, 2017. In collaboration with Fabiola Iza. Video © Anouk Kruithof