Juan Manuel Echavarría

Flower cut vase


It was when I was a child in Medellín, Colombia, when I heard about those “cuts”: “necktie cut,” “t-shirt cut”—mutilations that were made to the human body. I sometimes heard about these mutilations on the radio, or perhaps in some of my family conversations.

Those “cuts” were practiced in the 1950s, when the violence between conservatives and liberals exploded in the rural areas of Colombia—a time that is nowadays known as “La Violencia” (The Violence). Years later, when I was doing research about it, I read about another cut that I didn’t know about: “Vase cut.” The victims of this mutilations got their throats cut and their limbs cut off, then they were inserted into the torso as if it was a vase.

It was in early 1997 when I decided to work with human bones, and reorganize them in “flowers” that could be a metaphor of those “cuts.”


Installation view

Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM, 2007