There is no doubt that Montoya is an
eclectic en versatile colombian-dutch artist. Born in Medellìn
he grew up among mountains and exuberant tropical environments,
whereas during his life in The Netherlands, he has been surrounded
bij canals, polders, cold weather, grey long winters, extensive green
fields with cows and sheeps and picturesque wind mills. His artistic
work has been inspired by both.
His professional carrer started as
Administrative Engineer graduated at the National University of
Colombia. Parallel to his activities as student and teacher of
applied mathematics at different universities in his hometown,
Montoya was an actieve driving force behind the national theatrical
movement of the sixties in Colombia. He was founder and director of
different theater groups and performed as well as successful actor.
At the same time between 1963-1971 Montoya dedicated himself to
follow the development of contemporary art along the first half of
the twentieth century, investigating the different options for his
own artistic purposes. Painting, sculpture and performing art
fascinated him en encouraged his long kept aspirations to become, in
the future, a full time plastic artist. In 1971 Montoya moved to
Europe in order to expand his knowledges and experiences in
administration science and in the world of art. First, in London, he
studied theater, radio and televison techniques. In The Hague he
joined the Institute of Social Studies in order to finish a
postgraduate course in Development Administration. In 1975 The ISS
granted him the title of “Master In Social Sciences”.
There, in The Hague, he atended different courses at the Vrij
Academie of Modern Art and participated as wel in a film experience.
From 1975 till 1984 Montoya Velàsquez was member of the
multimedia group TALLER, whose first experience in The Netherlands
was shown at the “Stedelijk Museum”, the Amsterdam museum
for modern art; one of the most renowned columns of twentieth century
contemporary art. TALLER was an experimental collectieve entity that
combined all artistic media such as painting, sculpture, dance,
music, space, installation, opera, acting, film, arquitecture and
light in order to produce eclectic performances that were shown in
many countries like The Netherlands, England, France, Germany, Italy,
old Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico, among others. His
experinces with TALLER motivated him to begin his carrer as a plastic
artist. Between 1979 en 1982 he realized two great installations
PEOPLE en THE PATRIARCH. The first one, created for the public space,
was a street happening, set up in diferent places of the city of
Amsterdam. Montoya’s purpose was to disrupt the daily monotony
of a public space with the presence of art, inspiring the pedestrian
to relate the artistic object with the surrounding environmet. One
hundred cut out human silhouettes, made of pressed wood, were
decorated with strategic perforated holes in the surface and painted
with acrylic white. With this technique the installation acquired
transparence and unity. The silhouets, were placed strategically on
the street in such a way that people were challenged to moved them
according to own aesthetic criteria, achieving then interesting
visual compositions. The reactions were astonishingly positive.
The second installation THE
PATRIARCH, created to be placed at the main hall of The Dutch Royal
Institute for the Tropics, was inspired by the novel “The
Autumn of the Patriach”, written bij Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Big dummies, excessively dressed up in black and white garments and
accessories were placed around an exqusitely dressed in black and
white banquet table. The installation was like a funeral supper
happening that through decadent background waltz music, could
produced a sober gloomy atmosphere. The visitors experienced the
sentiments and feelings of a symbolic representation of dictatorship.The visual documentation of both
experiences were for Montoya the foundation of his future artistic
productions: reliefs, objects and paintings on canvas.
Two-dimensional and three-diemnsional reliefs have been the result of
assembling with screws painted pressed-wood cut outs, first
figurative and afterwards abstract. Sinds ten years ago paintings on
canvas, rusted iron objects and mosaics have completed his large
collection of art.
It is not easy to classify Montoya’s
work within the traditional canons of modern art. Eventhough his
imagery has a clearly abstract, expresionist character his work has a
strong figurative influence. His bold management of colour and
materials reflects a concious use of the space, the one he builds up
with an organized world of chaotic forms and rebellius figures.
Mental control combined with explosive forms and joyful splashes of
colour do typify his work. His freedom is unquestionable, he is an
independent visual artist. Organization and chaos, thoughful
endeavior and uncontrolled expresion of tropical exhuberance are the
driving elements of his production, determined by the influences dat
Montoya’s life has received inside two opposite cultures, as it
has been said at the beginning of this summary. Only for those who
have experienced the confrontation with his works can comprehend such
complex of interacting artistic factors.
The artist has taken part in
countless individual and collectieve exhibitions, in Colombia and
Europe. Montoya’s art have been included in different
collections in The Netherlands and in Colombia.
Latetly, he has projected his
professionalism towards the cultural education of primary, secondary
and universitary students. His new specialization is oriented to
prepare children, jong kids and adults in the apreciation of art in
all its expresions: painting, sculpture, music, opera, dance, museum
visits, theatre and motion pictures. Through didactic techniques
people learn to build up their own criteria in order to participate
actively in the proces of art.