Javier Tapia // “A Time for Seeds” // August-September 2017


During his two-month residency, Javier Tapia (*1976, Chile) developed a walkable, mazelike installation at CAT Cologne. Transparable boards are backdrops for collages of images and photographs. These partitions give multiple views to potential relations between the imagery, allowing space for personal associations.

The arbitrariness of interconnected fragments and a number of possibe links towards the layers in the back becomes apparent when taking different angles and perspectives. The installation looks at the history of CAT’s neighbourhood as it is has been transmitted by word of mouth and as it has been retained by means of imagery.

The starting point for Tapia’s project were conversations and informal interviews with neighbours, passerbys or local shopkeepers. From these he let himself navigate through the city, granting every hint the potential to reveal some tradition or cultural heritage of Cologne and its people. Every stop, every conversation and every site provided some material which consequently became part of a notable collection of images and materials. In a next stage these materials were classified and set in relation, thus generating large collages of cognated elements. Being placed in a spacial, or rather environmental installation, the collages institute a reality of its own. Just like Tapia, the visitor is invited to navigate through this setting.

Although the links between the individual fragments of each collage are obvious, there are moments of wondering, amusement or irritation. On the one hand they reveal Tapia’s criteria of classification for which the definition of right or wrong do not apply. Since, on the other hand, one feels absorbed by this alternative reality, which is not quite the same as ours but also not really different. The installation spins around a notion of insider and outsider. Cologne looked at with an objective view, or maybe just with the eyes of someone else, becomes an exotic arena of characters, rituals and culture. This alternative puzzle of information demonstrates that everyday fragments can build up to a different image, depending which someone grants meaning and which are simply overlooked.

“A Time for Seeds“ takes us on a trip and gives a taste of how different our worlds can look like depending on how we shape them. There are always seeds, but only the ones we feed will grow.

The project is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation and takes place in cooperation with City Leaks Urban Art Festival.



Open Air Dinner Party: Wednesday, August 30th and Wednesday, September 13th, 7-10 pm

artist talk on Friday: September 1st, 6-10 pm

opening: Friday, 15th September, 6-10 pm

exhibition: September 16th– October 8th, Thur-Sat, 4-7 pm



Javier Tapia (*1976, Chile) has studied Fine Arts at PUC in Chile, Universidad de Barcelona, UCLA in Los Angeles and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark. He lives and works in Copenhagen.

With recent projects in the US, Denmark and Chile, his focus is on the geopolitical situation and history of the respective sites. Working mainly with multi-media installations, film and collages, Tapia refers to aspects of cultural adaption, identity and analyzes postcolonial effects. Besides this examination of certain topics, elements of Tapia’s work can be interpreted as temporary styles which are substantially determined by instinct. Individual projects therefore are at the same time metaphors for more complex issues and build up to an overall language like work in process. Works in collaboration can also be interpreted as a form of dialogue.

His work has been shown internationally, including the Vincent Price Art Museum, 18th Street Arts Center and The Mistake Room in Los Angeles, the National Museum of Fine Arts, Chile, the Charlottenborg Kunsthal, Copenhagen, the 9th Biennal of Art of Istanbul, the Nordic Embassies in Berlin, SALT, Istanbul and “OFF” Biennale in Cairo.

Javier Tapia has been awarded several grants and distinctions internationally, including the Danish Arts Foundation.

supported by: