The explosive burst of colors and textures that greets your first steps inside Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho transports you out of the commotion of downtown Santiago and into a playground of the unknown. This is Ch.ACO – Chile’s fourth annual contemporary art fair – and every corner of this expansive space is pulsing with creative energy.
Ch.ACO, or Feria Chile Arte Compemporáneo (Chilean Contemporary Art Fair), is Chile’s annual showcase of the world of modern art. Now in its fourth year, the 2012 festival brings 30 different art galleries from 11 countries together under the wrought iron roof of Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho (Mapocho Station Cultural Center), the former central train station of Santiago.
More than 50,000 visitors are expected to attend over the course of the four day event, according to fair director Elodie Fulton.
Visitors to Ch.ACO can explore corridors of open galleries, watch films from Chilean artists in a special auditorium called Project Room, and hear roundtable discussions on contemporary art themes from leaders in the field. Topics include “Politics in the formation of art collections, education, and access” or “Collaborative networks and productions in contemporary art.”
Ch.ACO’s success represents Chile’s rising profile on the international art scene, according to José Pablo Stange, the fair’s manager of public relations.
“Every year the value of the works and the reputation of this fair grows,” Stange told This is Chile. “This is a great example of how the Chilean art market is growing. From Chile, we are able to influence the trends and markets in the contemporary art world.”
Ch.ACO is open to the public through Monday, October 1, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. General admission is US$8.50 (CLP4,000) and US$2.50 (CLP2,000) for students and senior citizens. A pass for the full week can be purchased for US$25.50 (CLP12,000).
Photos from the inaugural evening are posted on This is Chile’s Facebook page, featuring many of the artworks on display.
For more information, head to the Ch.ACO webpage.
By Liz Rickles