Archivo Muerto
Project info

Orjuela artwork is about the memory and the rescue of the historical documents, in the case “Archivo Muerto” this work is about the archive of the most famous tabloid newspaper in Bogota, Colombia. When it entered bankruptcy closed its doors leaving on the street 50 years of photographic history

Orjuela managed to salvage a number of this old photographs These images are replete with historical details originally produced not for their visual interest but as evidence. Curiously enough, the inscriptions on the back of the photos—presented on the wall labels—do not seem to match the images on the front in many cases. In Coca Traffickers (2013), two men stand with bags stuffed with marijuana. On the label, an original typewritten inscription describes the haul of marijuana that was brought in, but this text is crossed out and in colored pencil the words “traficantes de coca” (coca traffickers) are inscribed. Apparently the evidence needed to be altered to fit the accusation.

Orjuela uses a hand-coloring technique that gives the prints a nostalgic air despite their unpleasant subject matter. In another work, Luis Aldana Uno de los Antisociales Detenidos en la Mañana de Hoy Cuando Trataba de Huir [Luis Aldana One of the Antisocial Arrested in the Morning While Trying to Escape] (2014), a photograph of a subject who was jailed for resisting arrest, the viewer sees a uniformed leg being raised against a man cowering in his underwear behind his meager bed. The image raises the issue of the militarization of Colombia beginning in the 1960s, but the gap between the subject of the photograph, police brutality, and the coloring of the image produces a sense of discomfort. The image becomes almost theatrical like a Mise en scène

There is the nostalgia of historical distance but also lost innocence. If these factual documents, made to support bogus claims by the police, can be read as romanticized history, the work suggests that the tension between current knowledge about the past and evidence of historical transgressions can challenge idealized projections of history.