Portrait of Sandra Llano-Mejía

The Colombian multimedia artist Sandra Llano-Mejía was born in Cali in 1951. She studied art at the Instituto de Bellas Artes de Cali in 1968 before moving in 1972 to Mexico City, where she continued her education at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, Colegio de Artes Visuales, in 1976; the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where she studied with the Argentine thinker Néstor García Canclini; and at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Xochimilco in 1978. She lived and worked in Mexico for more than twenty years before moving to New York, where she continues to reside.

The work of Llano-Mejía stands out for her innovative use of technology, including computers and medical equipment. For instance, her In pulso (In pulse, 1978) was the first video installation in Colombia, presented at the 4th Salón Atenas in Bogotá, curated by Eduardo Serrano. For this work Llano- Mejía went to the physics department of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and had medical sensors attached to her body, which sent signals to a machine that recorded her heartbeat. In essence this was a self-portrait of the artist made by employing equipment that was atypical in the realm of art. This work solidly put Llano-Mejía at the forefront of conceptual, video, and performance art in Colombia.

In addition to her artistic career, she has been a professor at several universities: in Mexico she taught at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana for twelve years, and in New York she gave classes at the City University of New York. She has also published essays and art criticism. Llano-Mejía is a member of the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas. She has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá; and Museo de Arte y Diseño, San José, Costa Rica. She has also participated in National Poetry Month (Washington, DC, 2005), Inquieta Imagen V Bienal Iberoamericana de Videocreación y Arte Digital (San José, Costa Rica, 2007–8), 5th Bienal de Arte Electrónico, Videoarte y Arte Experimental (Tijuana y Ensenada, 2008), and CortoCircuito Latino Short Film Festival of New York University (New York, 2009). Her videos In pulso and Acting Out (1981) are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is recognized today as a pioneer of video art in Latin America.

—Marcela Guerrero

Selected Exhibitions

1978 De lo vital a lo sensible, Casa del Lago, Mexico City

1978 4th Salón Atenas, Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá

1978 Intérvalo ritual, Casa del Lago, Mexico City

1979 Vidarte (un suceso), Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

2012–13 Danza compendio: Instalación, ambientación, proceso; Arte del siglo XXI, Biblioteca Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Bogotá 

Selected Bibliography

Acha, Juan. Sandra Isabel Llano García. Bogotá: Salón Atenas, 1978.

"Artistas Colombianos." Artes visuales, no. 26 (1980): 33–46.

Charalambos, Gilles. "Aproximación a una historia del videoarte en colombia." http://bitio.net/vac/contenido/historia/index.html.

"Colombiana pionera del video arte en el mundo regresa al país para realizar seis exhibiciones simultáneas en Bogotá." Colombia nos une, November 30, 2012. http://www.colombianosune.com/noticia/ColombianapioneradeVideoArterealiza exhibicionesenBogot%C3%A1.

Henaro, Sol. No Grupo: Un zangoloteo al corsartstico. Mexico City: Museo de Arte Moderno, 2011.