The works of Miguel Ángel Cárdenas often deal with the concept of human warmth: the idea of being able to transform the rationalist and cold culture he encountered when he arrived as an expat in Holland in 1962. With his early abstract paintings, Cárdenas entered into institutional collections and achieved recognition within the Dutch art circuit. The director of the Stedelijk at the time said of his influence, ‘The Netherlands had barely heard of Pop Art, New Realism or Duchamp when Cárdenas came from Colombia to our country with a huge baggage of knowledge about the new developments in art.’
And yet his creativity was contained. Reading Jean Genet opened up other avenues and social mores, stimulating him to create performances and video art. Beyond the academy, he came to realize that daily life played an essential role in artistic experience. For this reason, the presentation here recreates a living room inspired by his so-called Calentamientos happenings (literally, ‘warming up happenings’) where he created a space for conversations to warm-up the Dutch scene.
Miguel Ángel Cárdenas (born 1934 in El Espinal, Colombia) was a pioneer of electronic media, performance, and installation, and was also known under his pseudonym, ‘Cardena Warming up etc. etc. etc. Company’. His practice raised bold issues in the 1960s touching upon sexuality and eroticism in contraposition to the paradigms and cultural models of his native country. At his legendary In and Out art space, he hosted some of the most intriguing happenings and performances of the European counter-culture of the time. Radical until his death, Cárdenas decided to undergo euthanasia in Amsterdam in 2015.