Nelson Guzmán - Guided by the echo

An Exhibition of Work in Progress.

Open Eye Projects and Metal Culture are proud to present the first UK exhibition by Colombian artist Nelson Guzmán, and the culmination of Guzmán’s residency in Liverpool, supported by Visiting Arts.

Since I do not think an intrinsic property of evil can be defined, I am, rather, concerned with tracing what evil does to us. If designating something as evil is a way of marking the fact that it shatters our trust in the world, it’s that effect, more than the cause, which I want to examine. Susan Neiman (author and philosopher).

Guzmán is interested in the idea of evil and the ways in which we think and talk about it. Arriving in Liverpool in April 2008 for a 3-month residency, he was struck by the ways in which violent and traumatic events were marked and memorialised in public spaces. The badges worn for lost children, minutes of silence and improvised roadside tributes stood in stark contrast to what he describes as the “daily turnover of victims and atrocities” in the news of his own country.

His project ‘Guided by the echo’ centres on the visible and tangible traces left in the wake of such events. His work contrasts the myth-making of the tabloid media with the physical traces to be found at the ‘scene of the crime’. Dealing solely with these traces, Guzmán makes no attempt to find the truth behind them. His work poses a series of tentative questions - he seeks neither to moralise nor to explain.

Guzmán’s project began with the stories he found in local tabloid newspapers; the emotional, sensational language of which, made the subjects seem distant, unreal, almost fictional. Following these stories, Guzmán visited the sites themselves, sometimes finding physical proof - a gunshot on a pub sign or remnants of a memorial constructed from ribbons - sometimes finding nothing.

The exhibition brings together a diverse range of material, such as newspapers, maps, photographs and notes. They allow the viewer to see through the artist’s eyes, as a Colombian in Liverpool, an outsider navigating a new city by the sites and stories that absolve reason and understanding; where the word ‘evil’ is the simplest answer.

The photographs in Guzmán’s work are silent, static. Their reticence, however, does not permit the viewer to escape into the familiarity of the everyday, nor into the fantasy of film noir. How can we deal with a reality that is continually echoed and pre-empted by the images of news and entertainment? Is the result that we are simply anesthetised?

’Guided by the echo’ is a process and not an end point, a journey and a work in progress, which focuses at its very core, on the artist’s understanding of the world as it is experienced.


In Conversation: Rebecca Lennon and Nelson Guzmán
Edge Hill Station, Sat 19 Jul 3pm

An open and informal discussion, in which the artist will talk about work made during his residency in Liverpool and wider issues surrounding his practice with curator, Rebecca Lennon. Opportunities for questions and debate.
Free event. All welcome.


Openeye Projects is a programme of exhibitions, projects and professional development activities involving emerging artists and taking place in experimental formats, contexts and locations around Liverpool.

Colombia-England International Fellowship Programme 2007/08 The residency provides the opportunity for a contemporary artist to be based at a host organisation in England for three months. The research-based residency provides the selected artist the opportunity to grow their artistic practice through interacting with local artists, extending professional contacts and developing skills and knowledge. This programme creates an exchange between artists from Colombia and England who are engaged in contemporary arts practice and encourages sustainable cultural links between the two countries.
This programme is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Culture Colombia, British Council Colombia, Arts Council England and Visiting Arts. For further information about Visiting Arts and the programmes and residencies, please contact Adam J Knights, Arts Projects Manager
Thanks to Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and C3 Imaging for their generous support.
Nelson Guzmán - Guided by the echo

Event Title: Nelson Guzmán - Guided by the echo
Further Details:
For further information please contact Rebecca Lennon, Open Eye Projects Curator on
(T): +44 (0)151 709 9460 / +44 (0) 7767 608 749 (E):

Contact Email: To contact Metal for an appt call 0151 261 0514