One of Colombia’s most promising artists, Mateo López, 33, has caught the attention of leading curators in the Americas and Europe with his innovative drawings and installations.  López is interested in expanding the scope of drawing.  His early studies in architecture equipped him to consider the medium in terms of time and space, and three rather than two dimensions. The portability of López’s methods, along with his personal approach to collecting information from his personal journeys, has become a trademark of his installations.  His exhibition Topografía anecdótica (2008) was a narrative built on drawings, objects and photographs from his 2,153 km motorcycle trip through Colombia.

In 2009, he published Deriva (Adrift), a book commissioned for the Trienal Poli/gráfica de San Juan. The installation Viaje sin movimiento (Travelling Without Movement, 2008-2010) was acquired by New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). In 2010, the project Ping Pong, a visual dialogue – 31 topics through 62 images – with artist José Antonio Suárez, was presented at Art Basel.

Mateo López and Maria-Jose Arjona stayed at the JCVA in October 2012, for a residency and exhibition, both of which were supported by the Colombian Embassy, as well as the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.  They came as part of a program designed by José Roca, a curator based in Bogotá, Colombia who himself came to the JCVA in 2008. 

The opening of the exhibition at the BAAD Gallery at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, (20.10.12) was attended by dozens of guests and honored by the presence of the Colombian ambassador.  Arjona staged a performance of "The Simple Balance of Things" during the opening.  The following day, Arjona and López gave a lecture and workshop at the MFA program of Bezalel academy and a few days later they also gave gallery talk at their exhibition at BAAD gallery.

In addition, over their residency, which included a stay in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem, they met with local artists, curators and art collectors, and visited many exhibitions and museums.  Architect Liya Kohavi gave them an International style tour in Tel Aviv; In Jaffa Lopez visited product designer Yaacov Kaufman studio, and their tour of the Galilee was led by renowned printmaker Orit Hofshi.

Their visit was part of the Irregular Hexagon program, wherein six Colombian artists are hosted by six institutions in Morocco, Israel, Australia, Turkey, Singapore and Vietnam, and produce an exhibition related to their stay.  The exhibitions, which follow three-week residencies (each participating institution hosts two artists every year), gives the artists a unique opportunity to engage with the local context, its cultural particularities, its language and its images.  López and Arjona, who had previously stayed in Singapore, said that traveling together gave them a rich opportunity to process their impressions with someone who comes from a shared context, and significantly deepened their experience.