Opening night for Chile’s art museum at the bottom of the world

Chiloé’s Modern Art Museum aims to show that the remote island’s famed culture and mythology is alive and well in the 21st century.  

On Saturday, January 14 the Modern Art Museum of Chiloé (MAM) will celebrate its 24th year with the opening night of its annual show – an exhibition that promises to offer a new sensory and conceptual experience to its audience.
The country’s largest island, Chiloé is renowned in Chile and around the world for its culture, which is entirely distinct from the rest of the country.
Its rainy and atmospheric climate, rugged natural beauty, unique flora and fauna and geographic isolation have fostered a rich folkloric tradition, full of tales of witchcraft and strange creatures that haunt the lakes and damp forests of island.
Built of wood in the traditional style of Chiloé, MAM combines that insular cultural heritage with the outward-looking and progressive vision of fostering local artists and bringing international contemporary art to the country, in an environment free from ideology and dogma.
The 2012 annual show will be held in homage to recently deceased local artist, Patricia Israel, who was closely associated with the museum ever since its inception.
Israel’s work, Mascarón de proa encuentra mascarón de popa (“Figurehead on the bow meets figurehead on the stern”), a composition of two canvas oil-paintings that capture the moody, nautical spirit of Chiloé, will be the “figurehead” of the exhibition.
Other local artists on display will include Beatrice di Girolamo, whose installations use the oaken planks of wine barrels to create an “abstract language” inspired by nature.
The foreign presence at the exhibition will comprise Canadian artist Dianne Pearce, whose installations combine photos with a diverse range of objects to “transform language and space” and “dismantle the official culture of the mainstream,” as well as Canadian-Chilean multidisciplinary artist Claudio Rivera-Seguel, whose will contribute a public project designed to “create a network of civil artistic collaboration” across Latin America.
The inauguration of the show will be held on Saturday, January 14 at 12:00 pmin the city of Castro, and the exhibition will run until Saturday, March 17.
For a full list of artists and more details on the exhibition, see MAM’s website (in Spanish).