The Colombian painter and critic Clemencia Lucena was born in Bogotá in 1945 and died in the city of Cali in 1983. She studied sculpture with the Colombian artist Edgar Negret (b. 1920) at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. Her career has been divided into two phases: the first from 1967 to 1971 and the second from 1971 until her last solo exhibition in 1979. The paintings from the first phase mimic press announcements about recently crowned beauty queens or single women that, by mocking the platitudes commonly attributed to some of these women, signal a feminist stance to which Lucena and other women artists subscribed. For these paintings she referenced photography by choosing a section of a newspaper, enlarging the fragment, and then cropping the news clipping in such a way as to decontex-tualize the note by removing part of the headline and the content around it.
In 1971 Lucena joined the Movimiento Obrero Independiente Revolucionario (MOIR), a Maoist group founded in 1969. The works she painted after 1971 have a markedly socialist realist tone that carried a concern for representing the struggles of peasants and union workers. Critics pointed out the seeming serenity of her scenes in which labor strikes and the struggle of the left were represented with innocence and naïveté. With this shift—from an artist with a feminist agenda to a painter committed to fighting for human rights—came an interesting ideological break. Some critics, however, do not see a contradiction between her earlier and later series and choose to read her work as an ongoing effort to give a voice to women within male-dominated spheres. Her participation in MOIR influenced her to publish essays on art in newspapers from 1972 to 1975, which eventually would become part of her first anthology, Anotaciones políticas sobre pintura colombiana (1975). Her work was regularly included in solo and group shows, including the 21st Salón de Artistas Nacionales (1970) at the Museo Nacional in Bogotá; Exhibición de arte contemporáneo de Colombia (1971) in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and 3rd Bienal de arte de Coltejer (1972) in Medellín, Colombia. Her work is held in private and public collections in Colombia, including the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Banco de la República.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
1967 Gente común y corriente, Galería el Grifo Negro, Bogotá
1968 Galería Madriguera, Caracas
1968 Galería UD, Bogotá
1970 Galería Belarca, Bogotá
1979 Clemencia Lucena: Pinturas, Galería Garcés Velásquez, Colombia
Antivilo, Julia. "Clemencia Lucena y la fealdad como subversión de la prensa escrita." In Entre lo sagrado y lo profano se tejen rebeldías: Arte feminista nuestroamericano, unpaged. Bogotá: Desde Abajo, 2015.
Barón Pino, María Sol. "Pekín Informa: Feminismos y militancias en Clemencia Lucena." Revista Vozal 1 (September 2011). http://revistavozal.com/vozal/files/Lucena-Texto-con-Imagenes.pdf [PDF, 17 pp., 4.6 MB]
Giunta, Andrea. "Mujeres entre activismos: Una aproximación comparativa al feminismo artístico en Argentina y Colombia." Caiana 4 (2014). http://caiana.caia.org.ar/template/caiana.php?pag=articles/article_2.php&obj=149&vol=4.
Jaramillo, Carmen María. Mujeres entre líneas: Una historia en clave de educación, arte y género. Bogotá: Museo Nacional de Colombia, 2015
Lucena, Clemencia. La revolución, el arte, la mujer. Bogotá: Bandera Roja, 1984.