An on-line news service devoted to museums and exhibitions in New York City and vicinity. John Hammond, Editor Emeritus • Jonathan Slaff, Publisher

The Gallery Gazetteer


Meet Clandestinos Puppets at La MaMa Galleria.


"Circumpstance" and "9 Windows." Latex, Cotton Foam Acrylic. Federico Restepo, 2009. Photo by Suzanne Trouve Feff.

If you walk between First Street and Bowery, you should stop and have a look at those huge impressive puppets hanging from La MaMa Galleria's ceiling. This is the new mix-media installation by Federico Restepo, "Clandestine/Clandestino," to be exhibited until April 26.

Federico Restepo. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Through a video installation combined with plastic and metal puppets, the Colombian artist Federico Restepo expresses himself about immigration nowadays. The exhibit deals with the difficulty in adapting to a new culture and protecting your own cultural identity. According to Respeto, the exhibit is a dream that your former world, your homeland, is drifting away. This provokes anguish that is the immigrant’s mental state.

It may be what Restepo felt in 1985, when he left Bogota to move to New York. Originally a dancer for the Ballet National de Colombia, he started dance career in New York. In 1985, he created his company, Loco7, dedicated to the development of puppetry in dance and theater. His goal was to create a unique relationship between the dancers and the puppets. His choreography, lighting design and stage design use puppetry in order to offer a new vision of dance.

Aluminum static sculptures at the entrance seem to be trying to get away.

Restrepo's marionettes have not much in common with usual marionettes. First, they are three times bigger than human size. One is flying, the second one is staring at you with threatening eyes, others are performing acrobatics all over the gallery while aluminum static sculptures at the entrance seem to be trying to get away from the exhibit.

Some puppets are composed of latex and some are only aluminum. The most impressive work was, for me, the installation "Circumstance" in the right-rear of the room, where three delirious puppets are hanging from the ceiling in strange positions, as if they were carried away and controlled by a big hand.
Latex, Cotton, Foam, Acrylic. Federico Restepo 2009. Photo by Suzanne Feff Trouve.

Facing them, three skinny woman puppets of different ethnic origins stare at you with their sad eyes, as if they were trying to tell you how difficult it is to be a Clandestino these days. [Suzanne Trouve Feff.]




La MaMa Galleria
La MaMa Galleria during the exhibit Clandestine/Clandestino by Federico Restrepo.

Adress: 6 East First Street 1003 New York (between Bowery and 2nd Avenue)

Opening Hours: April 3-26 2009, Thursday - Sunday 1PM 6PM
Price: Free
Official website:

View Larger Map