The recent drawings of Colombian artist, Yosman Botero (b. 1983) from the series A better world in ink and charcoal on paper and canvas, turn our attention back to a certain period of USA history, when, because of the sinister and absurd situation in the cold war, we could witness the rehearsals for doomsday.
With Botero, we look at an audiance watching the atomic test bombs explode in the desert of Nevada. The disastrous spectacle itself is not shown, it is only a reflection on the protection glasses of the army members sitting in seats that look like taken from a cinema. Botero underlines the creepy and eerie atmosphere of those tests by his way of composition and mise-en-scene. Sometimes the figures appear like cut out disintergrated and isolated or they turn the back to us. In another work a group of men wearing coats and hats are in a conversation and watching again a scene that we are uncertain about. It could be newspaper photograph or another historical source material, that was used for the drawing, however, something tells us, that the moment is not one of pure leisure or innocent joy, like watching a baseball game. The evocation of a hidden drama lies underneath the surface. Robert Longo’s charcoal drawings come to mind – he actually depicted the horrific atomic mushroom – as well as the work of the Belgian painters Luc Tuymans and Michael Borremans, whose sense of historical and surreal images seem to have invaded Botero’s atmospheric and technically brilliant drawings.
Top image: YOSMAN BOTERO. A better world #35, 2020. Charcoal on canvas, 46×71 cm (detail). ENQUIRY