Luis Hernández Mellizo [Bogotá, Colombia, 1978] is the new artist in residence at the BijlmAIR studio, the residency program of CBK Zuidoost in collaboration with Bradwolff Projects and Stedelijk Museum. Artists in the residency must integrate ‘Amsterdam Zuidoost’ into their art project in some shape or form, thereby building a relationship with the area.
Mellizo has chosen to reflect on the backgrounds and places that the people in the Bijlmer neighbourhood come from. This appropriately follows on from his on-going project about cultural identities and social discourses within various cities, aiming to establish connections between the work of the artist and the working class.
The title of the artist’s solo exhibition at Bradwolff Projects, ‘The Place Between Words’, refers to his exploration of cultural identities within the Bijlmer and his endeavour to distinguish something that cannot in fact be written, spoken or translated. Mellizo’s project seeks to portray a social landscape through his own experience of coexisting in the midst of the multicultural area, where he is caught between being a tourist and a newcomer.
By asking a series of questions about places, languages and words, Mellizo attempts to find a common ground in the middle of a diversity of experiences, memories and coexistences within the Bijlmer. With these questions, he encourages people in the Bijlmer to contemplate on their position in society and their own background. The artist takes this exploration of identities further by searching inside dictionaries and atlases for the words that have been written, either highlighting or physically removing material from the books, and as a result, creating another kind of language. His meticulousness in deconstructing these ‘books’ accentuates this ‘place’ that lies between the words.
The work of Mellizo is moulded around experiences and understandings of different cultures. He examines, researches and compiles information, whilst reflecting on his own situation as an artist in society. The artist’s projects tend to be characterized through the use of simple materials, such as books, newspapers, souvenirs and other mundane objects, in order to explore the meanings around cultures, societies, languages and arts. For this specific exhibition, Mellizo searches for meanings of the value of words, using books in relation to his own experience of living in Amsterdam and the diverse cultural identities that surround him.