Reality is Dry
Botero’s documentary, from a bull ring in Medellin to global galleries
Chris Joseph Stancato
Botero—2018 Documentary 1h 24m
“Reality is dry,” said Botero. If you add a molecule of water, a drop of an elixir, or an idea like water colors in a bull ring, then you have changed this arid landscape of normalcy like a canvas to something spectacular, special—This is the vision of Fernando Botero Angulo, Colombian Artist.
I have seen many documentaries about artists in memoriam. Their lives recorded in notes, footage, interviews from friends and family, and art critics, who, by the will of tenacious and tireless producers, give us their timeline—meticulous and molded—a milieu of milestones.
We are fortunate to receive a film about one of our greatest living artists who is accessible; who is giving himself to the screen for the public (a manner in which he normally resists on a personal level). Botero prefers his art to speak.
Molecule—The montage of the Botero documentary is arranged in the manner of a museum, inclusive. The collection is a limitless thoroughfare of fine art with archives for his appreciation to Vazquez and Goya.
Elixir—The film depicts his daily life (social & political and powerful & sensitive). We see Botero’s paintings with expressions on an enormous level. His sculptures expel the notion of serene stately statues and provide a sound garden of giants. These works of art include the Abu Ghraib’s images of our United States of American military torturing prisoners. The works of sculptures include his El Pájaro de Paz I & II (Birds of Peace) in his hometown of Medellin. In 1995 a bomb was placed under the only Bird of Peace at the plaza in San Antonio Park. The explosion killed 12 people and hospitalized many more. Botero created a similar sculpture across from the damaged one. These two doves now represent life and death. We have choices about grieving, and the bombed dove (Botero calls the “Monument of Stupidity”) is like an open casket for everyone who passes to pay homage to the victims and potential victimization. This dove sits peacefully, it is Botero’s symbolic gesture for all to see two perfect doves: one solid the other pieced together by remembering those who perished—the hollowness filled with figurative plates of resistance.
Water Colors—Borne from the idea of selling water colors at a bull ring in his birthplace, Botero, like no other artists, has baptized the art world with his style. This film is an excellent gift for those who know his art but not his personal timeline. And, an invitation to those who have seen his art in passing, but did not know who created it. For the latter, I’m certain that they will innately feel what people have felt: a functioning force—wide and welcoming.