CIRCLES WITHOUT DIAMETER AND FANTASIES WITHOUT HISTORY
17 MAY - 10 JUNE 2018
Summer evenings in Santiago, Chile, are very nice. The hot day finally cools off and one can relax with friends, outdoors, under a tree, and if you are lucky there is a cool breeze. You get some beers, some improvised snacks, and chat and laugh like it was 1996. This happened to me recently when I was spending some time with family around the Christmas holidays and also preparing a show. That night my friend X and my friend Y disappeared into the house for about 10 minutes to later rejoin the party but with a handmade note, a drawing, which was also a formal proposition for the title of the show that X and Y, together with Z and V and A and B and myself were planning. Now, this planning was never a real plan, yet more a communion of intentions, of energies, of a specific shared history that at the same time is constantly trying to project itself into the future. The title then: Circles Without Diameter and Fantasies Without History. It convinced me on the spot. It was geometrical and personal, somehow pessimistic yet funny and absurd, a poetic statement that made no sense, or better said, just confused me, and I like confusion, I think it's a very productive method.
X, Y, Z, V, A, B and myself could be characters of a short story by Roberto Bolaño, but no, in this case we are just artists that share a specific history of the 1990's in Chile: The post-dictatorship generation, who was there - far away behind the Andes Mountains - at the birth of The Internet, who learned art through photocopying books and magazines, and who shared musical and pop-cultural interests. I would love for us to be characters of a Bolaño short story but our lives are not that interesting or wired. Some of us did travel, explored new contexts, specifically New York City, and that is how A, B and myself live there and X, Y, Z, and V live in Santiago. We inform each other about local stuff. We process locally and from the other part, yet at one point the origin and the destination get confused. We also make long and short-term alliances... It is not perfect. Some of us live in small apartments and others at the edge of a mountain, in ex-hippie communities, some are intrepid nomads and others finally settled nicely and wake up looking at the Empire State Building every morning.
The works of X, Y, Z, V, A, B and myself really do not have much in common but somehow they get along. Its like they share a dark strategy, or maybe just a directness and simplicity that have not been affected by the production schemes of the mega art world. Each one contains its own poetic intentions and is happy to share space with his/her peers, to be contaminated by them, their meanings affected, slightly different when singing together.
For the exhibition at ANNAELLEGALLERY, V, B and myself will be present. I would like us to make Pisco Sour for the opening. Long live our Peruvian friends! Vivan Los Incas! Vivan los pueblos originarios de America!
Felipe Mujica (Santiago, Chile, 1974) organized this exhibition with the help and input of the whole group of artists. He studied art at the Universidad Católica de Chile between 1992-1997. Just out of art school he co-founds with Diego Fernández and José Luis Villablanca the artist-run space Galería Chilena (GCH), which operated between 1999 and 2005, first as a nomadic and commercial art gallery and later as a collaborative art project, a curatorial "experiment". In early 2000 Mujica moved to New York City where he currently lives and works. Parallel and interrelated to his work Mujica has organized and produced many collaborative projects and exhibitions. Since 2008 he has frequently collaborated with Johanna Unzueta in the editing, design, and publishing of artist-books.
Cristóbal Lehyt (Santiago, Chile, 1973) is a Chilean born New York-based artist that works in different media. He studied at Universidad Católica de Chile, Hunter College, and the Whitney Independent Study Program. His work has been shown at the Carpenter Center, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Fundación Telefonica Chile, Or Gallery, Kunsthaus Dresden, Artists Space, The Shanghai Biennale, The Mercosul Biennial, The Whitney Museum of American Art and Queens Museum among others. In addition, he has produced works responding to specific contexts, in cities that include Bogotá, Caracas, Mexico City, Berlin, Vienna, Barcelona, Madrid, Beijing, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro. He has been awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the Art Forum Fellowship, Harvard University. His work is in numerous collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art Santiago, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He is represented by Die Ecke Santiago, Cecilia Brunson Project London, and Johannes Vogt Gallery New York.
Johanna Unzueta (Santiago, Chile, 1974) studied art at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago and lives in New York City since early 2000. She has exhibited widely through Europe, North America and South America, having solo exhibitions and projects at Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City, the Jewett Art Gallery, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Galería Gabriela Mistral, Santiago de Chile, Galeria Die Ecke, Santiago de Chile, Proyectos Ultravioleta, Guatemala City, Queens Museum of Art, New York and Or Gallery, Vancouver. She has participated at group exhibitions at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, CRAC Alsace, Altkirch, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Universidad de Chile, Santiago, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, Museu de Arte Contemporãnea da Universidade de São Paulo and A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro. Unzueta is currently preparing work to be presented at We Do Not Need Another Hero, the X Berlin Biennale, to open in June 2018.
Cristián Silva (Santiago, Chile, 1969) is an artist, professor, and independent curator. Trained in the field of printmaking in the late 1980s and part of the first generation of artists from Chile's post-dictatorship era, Silva has cultivated an artistic language that draws inspiration from history, mythology, social critique, and psychology. Moved by a wide range of subjects that are on one level deeply personal as well as part of the general culture, Silva creates wall pieces, sculptures, objects, videos and drawings that build together an allegorical environment embedded with socio-political quotes. His work inhabits a sphere where the political meets the existential; by displaying this disparate collection of elements -that he sometimes refers to as Subjects in Suspension- the artist delivers a complex yet unassuming chronicle of his own experience in the so-called periphery: golf balls, plastic bottles, peach pits, chocolate bars, an oversized machete, discarded tartan blankets, potatoes or an old window blind, all become part of Silva's symbolic flotsam alphabet.
Joe Villablanca (Santiago, Chile, 1971) is an artist and musician (a real artist-artist). He studied architecture to later transfer to art at the Universidad Católica de Chile in the mid 90's. During this period he was a member of both the cult band Maestro and the nomadic artist-run space Galeria Chilena, as well as the assistant of the influential Chilean artist Eugenio Dittborn. A prolific character, his work has used mediums such as sculpture, installation, collage, video, drawing, yet in the last 10 years, he has mostly focused on painting. His work has been exhibited and screened in venues such as Galería Die Ecke, Santiago, Elektrohaus, Hamburg, Hinterconti, Hamburg, Espacio La Rebeca, Bogotá, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Chile, Santiago, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Valdivia, Galería Gabriela Mistral, Santiago, Galería Posada del Corregidor, Santiago, Swiss Institute, New York, Temporary Gallery, Cologne, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna and Anthology Film Archives, New York.
Juan Céspedes (Arica, Chile, 1972) work has been exploring many types of making art since 1998. video, animation, object, sculptures, painting, and site-specific installation. since 10 years ago he's more focused on painting, moving from some kind of cartoon iconographic or referential images to abstraction. Now he is more interested in how system and process can make a painting. Céspedes exhibited his work internationally from 2002 to 2006 (with notable exhibitions at La Panadería, Mexico City, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, Maze Gallery, Turin, Or Gallery, Vancouver, Casino 2001 Quadrennial-SMAK Gent, and 4ta Biennal Mercosur, Porto Alegre), but then settled in Chile and has been teaching art at Universidad de Chile until today. Céspedes decided to, in his own words: "become more chill about making art, maybe in a slacker way". On top of his dedication to teaching he also works for an architect studio which has numerous buildings and designs throughout Chile, he has designed numerous mural paintings, floor and mural patterns, all of them in public hospitals and educational institutions. This work - partly on view at the exhibition as a slideshow - merges his longtime graphic imaginary with a social and educational function, nonetheless keeping its partly ironic/partly childish attitude.
Milena Gröpper (Madrid, Spain, 1984, lives and works in Santiago de Chile) is Céspedes partner and they collaborated in the making of the large silkscreen piece on plastic currently on view. She moved to Chile as a child and studied art at the Universidad de Chile, completing a degree in painting and later a Master Program in Art at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
Her work has always focused on painting, and has been developed from realism to abstract but always with an interest in perception phenomena's.