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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.

© 2007