Rafael Gómezbarros (b. 1972)
Casa Tomada (House Taken Over)
resin, fibreglass, screen cotton, wood, rope and Cerrejón coal, in five parts
each: 32 x 28 x 6 ¾in. (81.3 x 71.1 x 17.1cm.)
installation dimensions variable
Executed in 2013
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2013.
Santa Marta, Altar de la Patria, Casa Tomada, 2008 (another example exhibited).
Barranquilla, Aduana, Casa Tomada, 2008 (another example exhibited).
Bogota, Galeria Alonso Garces, Casa Tomada, 2009 (another example exhibited).
Bogota, Capitolio Nacional de Colombia, Casa Tomada, 2010 (another example exhibited).
Santo Domingo, Museo de Arte Moderno, Trienal del Caribe, 2010 (another example exhibited).
Havana, Teatro Fausto, 11th Havana Biennial, 2012 (another example exhibited).
Linz, OK Offenes Kulturhaus, Biennale Couvee 13, 2013 (another example exhibited).
London, Saatchi Gallery, Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, 2014, p. 47 (various installation views illustrated in colour, pp. 48-53).
London, Saatchi Gallery, DEAD: A Celebration of Mortality, 2015.
Manchester, The Lowry Centre, Casa Tomada, 2015 (another example exhibited).
Knislinge, Wanas Konst Foundation, 2016 (another example exhibited).
Watou, Kunstenfestival Watou, 2016 (another example exhibited).
New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Naturalia, 2017 (another example exhibited).
Gangwon, Gangwon International Biennial, 2018 (another example exhibited).
Istanbul, Sevil Dolmaci Gallery, We Forget to Think We Are Born, 2019 (another example exhibited).
Special notice
VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buyer's premium
Please refer to the storage and collection terms as set out in the terms and conditions.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

A swarm of gigantic sculptural ants, Rafael Gómezbarros’ Casa Tomada belongs to the artist’s celebrated project of the same title. These installations, which have been shown across the world since 2007, represent the displacement of people from his native Columbia due to violence and conflict over the last fifty years. Crafted from tree branches, fibreglass and fabric, the ants’ bodies were made by assembling two polyester casts of human skulls. The creatures, normally associated with labour and complex social organisation, thus become ciphers for death, suffering and upheaval. The work’s title references a short story by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar, in which a large mansion is invaded by elusive beings who announce their presence through muted sounds. This metaphor, read in conjunction with the present work, invokes a pronouncement made by Cortázar shortly before he passed away: that unless a country buries its dead, their ghosts will remain. Adorning the exterior of the Saatchi Gallery in its original Pangaea exhibition at Duke of York Square in 2014, variations of Casa Tomada have been installed at locations including Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino – the hacienda where Simón Bolívar spent his final days – as well as Barranquilla’s customs building and the National Congress in Bogotá.

Related Articles

More from
Handpicked: 100 Works Selected by the Saatchi Gallery
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report