François Bucher

François Bucher, from the series: “Onda Corta (Short Wave)”, 2007, b/w prints Courtesy of Galeria Alcuadrado, Bogotá

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There is an old house in ruins in the north of Bogotá. A visitor can still see some remnants of its lost splendor: a disappeared lake, covered by grass, whose existence is suggested by some forlorn singing frogs, and an irrational bridge leading nowhere, half engulfed by foliage. The house was acquired by El Mexicano (one of Colombia’s most ruthless mafia bosses in the 80’s) and later confiscated by drug enforcement authorities; the property was gradually destroyed by the incessant rummages of gold diggers seeking the mafia’s hidden treasures; and by the wild fires of the homeless who crept in to spend the night undercover.

Amidst the dereliction you may find a 4-wheel drive Land Cruiser ridden with bullets, from a wrong turn, that patiently awaits the interminable bureaucratic process of ownership foreclosure. There’s also a fleet of confiscated taxis and moving trucks that are slowly sinking in the grass. Security guards are fond of retelling urban myths: “here, above the Turkish bathroom beauty queens were paraded and picked by the boss; in the wall a girl was plastered who didn’t cater to his desires.” At night the ghosts appear, all of the tortured souls, forgotten murders and decades of scourge and decadence. It is as if a short wave radio were picking up lost sound bites from the air, like specters that drift along, like images that have lost their destiny.