Candela Bado

/ Montevideo, Uruguay, 1991


My work examines the process of unraveling colonialism’s legacies. I investigate the genealogy of visual languages associated with patrimony in order to explore the possibility of decolonizing our relationship with objects that carry cultural value. Growing up in a country which has obliterated its layered identities by focusing exclusively on its European heritage, led me to explore a more complex understanding of culture and ultimately my own identity. Through the use of strategies such as fictioning, contradiction and humor, I am interested in questioning historicism, colonial residue and notions of patrimony and national identity. My research focus has gravitated around the act of unveiling subjectivities within historical narratives to understand the manifestation of power structures within objects that can function as triggers for transformative dialogue.

The works with ceramic feet and hands on iron or copper limbs, take from neoclassical notions of sculpture that refer to monumental statues portraying historical events. In an attempt to expose the subjectivities of these portrayals, I experiment with disrupting the anthropomorphic scale and form, using cartoon drawing techniques to convert these body parts into playful and dynamic interactions. 

Appropriating characteristics of classical sculptures, initiated while researching Ancient Greek ruins in historical sites and museums. Sculptures that became a foundation for the Western ideal of beauty led to question  the relationship I had established with these portrayals. The concept of patrimony which is sustained by the preservation of ruins also came into my work after tracing the process of categorization of ruins in the region of the River Plate.

While studying in The Netherlands I started working with blue and white tiles. In appropriating a traditional craft that has transmuted through centuries and continents (Chinese porcelain, Delftware, Portuguese azulejo), I seek to revise its connection to early global trade and the subsequent value systems it generated in cultural identity. I am interested in juxtaposing notions of high and low culture, for instance in drawing with airbrush, using the language of graffiti on white tiles by adding Delft blue glaze. 

A recurring exploration in my artistic practice has been with languages of the oppressed, assimilating how dissidents manifest and survive marginalization. What interests me about irreverent ways of expression is the agency that surfaces from precariousness. As a female artist in a peripheral country in Latin-America, I reflect upon the adversities that condition my practice- to quote Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica, “from adversity we live ”.

By working with ceramics I have attempted to re-envision traditional materials and techniques beyond established paradigms. I am drawn to the contradictory nature of objects, for example the possibility of being simultaneously fragile and strong. By building ceramic flags and chains the material has guided my process and informed its conceptual framework, confirming that the work can pose essential questions developed during experimentation.