Twenty years after the end of the Pinochet dictatorship, the Chilean art world is experiencing a renaissance, with a new generation of artists expressing a new generation’s concerns.
Rather than the highly politicized work that has long dominated the world of Chilean self-expression, these new artists are turning to self-expression as the means for pinpointing the challenges that face a newly stable and increasingly emancipated Chilean public.
Influential Chilean photographer and political activist Kena Lorenzini is quoted in La Tercera: “We live in different times and young people are inclined toward microproblems rather macro.
“Post-dictatorship photographers focus on other themes and are not as inclined toward the evolution of political eventualities as we used to be. In addition to this change of focus, there is now more experimentation with new technologies and they are making the most of these advantages.”
With an eye toward these emergent trends in Chilean photography, the Universidad de Chile’s Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC) in downtown Santiago’s Bellas Artes district, will be launching its first exhibition of contemporary photographers under the age of 33 on April 1.
The images on view will be largely introspective and closely related to personal experience, as Lorenzini points out. The result will be a diverse array of work dealing with the body, sexuality, autobiography and other topics that would have been taboo less than two decades ago.
Francisco Donoso will be among the exhibition’s featured photographers. Hailing from the small southern town of Puerto Varas – a historically German settlement near the indigenous Mapuche heartland – his work deals with the problem of roots. According to the exhibition’s curator, Monserrat Rojas, Donoso’s work “addresses the issue of geography from a more intimate perspective. It is very intense work.”
The exhibition also specifically highlights the work of young women photographers, among them the Zaida Gonzalez, whose gold-trimmed, brilliantly-hued miniature images approach topics of femininity in Latin America from an eccentric perspective that has earned her portion of the exhibition the label “kitsch photography.”
The work of these artists will appear among a total of nearly 90 images, making this the largest exhibition of young photographers ever seen in Chile.
Exhibition starts April 1 at MAC Parque Forestal. Opening hours of the museum are Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 – 19:00, and Sundays, 11:00 – 18:00. Visit the museum’s website for a map and more information.