Jairo Llano explores the sculptural potential of paper, and more so, of space and time, reality and illusion.

As a result of my training as an architect, I believe that space is the ideal vessel for any metaphor one would care to explore. My relationship with space can be as direct as my relationship with a person, allowing me to abstract the subject matter that I analyze in my work.


If I had to describe the photography I do in a single word, I would say that all my projects investigate IDENTITY. Each series I create responds to questions I have asked myself about what I want to be instead of what I “should be.”


Thus, my pictures address subjects such as the creation of boundaries, the new meanings that objects bring into a landscape, the recycling of memory elements, and the creation of memories, trails, and artifacts of what I’ve done.


I photograph, analyze, and forge new relationships between the images I make and the ones I find around me. My series feed off daily life, off elements (often photographs) that lead me to create relationships that trigger reflections about my obsession to question the structure of my life.


In this documentation of paper sculptures, I concentrate on the playful task of creating an arrangement that can only be shared through images. The tension of papers next to each other breaks their original shapes and changes constantly. Photography is the witness of an instant in the movement of these elements.





By Constanza Ontiveros*


Can an image capture both the ephemeral and the eternal? Can fragility coexist with beauty? In his first solo exhibition at BEA, Colombian artist Jairo Llano explores these and other existential questions through his camera lens. While these queries bear a philosophical nature, Llano approaches them in a rather playful way by presenting us with photographs that document the existence of ephemeral paper sculptures which appear to defy the laws of gravity. However, in this series of large-scale portraits, there is much more than meets the eye. Their scale, stability, and technique next to the exhibition’s title, inspired by a widely known children’s rhyme, all activate an aesthetic interplay through which Llano invites us to reactivate our curiosity as a path for knowledge and reflection and a mere pleasure.


Significantly, Llano’s photographs form part of the ongoing body of work titled Questions without Answers (2021-present day), through which the artist explores the sculptural potential of paper, and more so, of space and time, reality and illusion. This introspective exploration takes varied routes of expression, all of them centered around paper, which acts as material, subject, and support, all at the same time. As proof of this, in some works, Llano uses scraps of different types of printed paper to construct undulating structures, which, after being photographed, offer clues but not straightforward answers about their referent. On the other hand, in other pieces, the artist manipulates vibrantly colored bits of paper to bring to life organic-looking sculptures filled with expressivity. Regardless of these variants, in all these images reigns the appearance of what is against what is perceived; of stability against fragility; of permanence against transience, of doubt against certitude. How are they made?; How are they held together?; What do they represent?; are some questions that come to mind when looking at them, and that are joined by those the artist poses through their titles, always presented as an interrogation.


Overall, this group of works reveals Llano’s multifaceted practice nurtured both by his experience as an architect, which explains his understanding of space, and by his interest in exploring the artistic process as a conscious meditation. On a metaphorical level, Llano’s photographs are a testament to an artist’s quest to capture the unattainable fugacity and beauty of the present moment. By doing so, he inspires us to look at the now with fresh eyes or, perhaps, with a rekindled innocence. Without a doubt, the photographs that form part of And What Shall We Name It? speak directly to us, the viewer, and encourage us to keep singing the Spanish rhyme that goes on and on, materile-rile-ro, materile-rile-ro…


*PhD in Philosophy, UNAM, Mexico

 MA in Art History, UNAM, Mexico


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