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Maria Jose Mir, "Anatomía", 2015, Light and seam on canvas, 63 x 48 in. Photo by G.Lowry and courtesy of Carolina Oltra

Carolina Barros. Red de alerta, 2017. Xilograph on wood and acrylic. 47.2 x 31.5 in. 6 modules of 15.8 x 15.8 in. Photo taken by UCA photographer, Gustavo Lowry on the day of the inauguration

Maria Elena Covarrubias. Mapas, 2018. Mixed media on paper. 59 x 67 in. Photo: Alvaro Mardones

Catalina Mena. Confiar (Trust), 2017. Ink and graphite pencil on paper. 59.8 x 37.8 in.

Art Notes
UCA Fine Arts Pavilion


Buenos Aires, Argentina
Victoria Verlichak

The works by the twenty Chilean contemporary artists of this "Improbable Collection" had a long and difficult journey but finally made it to safe harbor. After traveling from Paris to Chile and surviving a wreck in the area of Chiloe, the pieces were displayed in the Fine Arts Pavilion located in Puerto Madero, from where it is possible to observe the waters of the channels.

As pointed out by curator Ernesto Muñoz in the fiction that he imagined, the works in the exhibition were gathered by collector Olena Sewick during the tumultuous 1920s and 1930s, after fleeing her homeland of Ukraine with her family. During her exile in Paris, Sewick met her husband, a Chilean landowner. There, she entered into contact with and acquired works by many Latin American vanguardist artists. As result of an initiative by her grandchildren, the collection arrived to the Southern Hemisphere and to the art space of the Universidad Católica Argentina; it is not known how many works were lost during the journey.

The works emphasize the use of materials like textiles (some reused), rocks and metals, as well as water. They impress for the strength of their instability (the portrait by Francisco Peró and the watercolors by Glavia Rebori, for instance), as well as for the coherence of their diversity (the geopolitical conflicts and domestic universes by Catalina Mena and Tereza Ortúzar).

Paintings, engravings, objects, collages, and drawings attest to the passing of time, mankind's actions on the environment (xylographs by María Elena Vial, kinetic work by Carolina Barros, oil paintings by Hernán Gana), as well as to the presence of the natural world (oil paintings by Lorenzo Moya and Devenir, pieces by Guadalupe Valdés that showcase remnants, fragments of memory).

The textiles appear in the maps, "borders and boundaries" hand-stitched by Martín Eluchans; in the "pond" rendered on a veil with watercolors and in a digital print by Angela Wilson; in the tar felt that Paz Lira immerses in the ocean and in the installation by Maite Izquierdo, whose title could very well summarize the spirit of the exhibition: La belleza de la fragilidad (The Beauty of Fragility). María José Mir relies on light over ethereal silhouettes made of fabric while Carlos Edwards reflects it on marble.

While María Elena Covarrubias outlines abstract maps with small pieces of glued paper, Amelia Errázuriz poses existential questions using wood remnants and plastic thread. The conceptually and visually compelling intervened photographic print on copper plate by Carolina Oltra combines the toughness of copper with the effectiveness of digital technology and the historical significance of the Mapocho River—located on the edge of the ever-expanding city of Santiago, it is where many people met their deaths during the Pinochet dictatorship. Wood, and also metal, where used in the Libro de ejercicios (Book of Exercises) by Benjamín Guzmán—a piece that, through the absence of text, becomes pure materiality. Among the artist participating in the exhibition, Pedro Tyler is perhaps the best known to the people of Río de la Plata. He knows the strength of the metals well and for many years has been working with metal measuring tapes made in China—in this instance, turned into a recurrent mathematic symbol of the infinite—which he ascends and descends to create beautiful forms that predict all kinds of fortunes.




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