Abril 18, 2022 #Life & Culture

10 Contemporary Chilean artists that have conquered the world’s most important galleries and museums

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In conjunction with Fundación AMA (which aims to internationalize Chilean art by sponsoring exhibitions abroad through loans and/or artwork donations), we want to highlight ten contemporary Chilean artists who have broken through to the world’s tops museums and art galleries and are here to stay.

It was in 1964 when Violeta Parra got to display a solo exhibition in the Pavilion de Marsan at the Louvre Museum of Decorative Arts; it consisted of 23 arpilleras (a Chilean textile art form), 20 oil paintings (on canvas and wood) and 13 wire sculptures. Violeta was not only the first Chilean artist to achieve such a feat, but also the first person to do so in all of Latin America.

As time has gone by, more and more Chilean artists have been finding their way into important museums and galleries around the world; they are reaching new heights which had previously only been attained by a select few, like Roberto Matta (considered the last representative of surrealism).

Cecilia Vicuña 

Cecilia is both a poet and a visual artist who studied at the Universidad de Chile as well as  the University College’s Slade School of Fine Arts in London. She is one of the most iconic contemporary artists in Chile with multiple awards and projects in important museums and cultural spaces all over the globe.

Her work addresses a range of topics such as the native people of Latin America and the world, the ecological crisis, human rights and the modern world. She has created multiple variants of “Quipu” (notation using knots) since the 1960s. Her visual art is part of a variety of collections of well-known museums around the world. These include: the Guggenheim in New York, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

In April, she will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 59th Venice Biennale, which is the highest prize awarded at one of the most prestigious international art events.

Some of her most prominent work:

Guggenheim, New York: Spin Spin Triangulene

Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, London: Hyundai Commission Cecilia Vicuña

Collaboration between Fundación AMA and Caribbean Acquisitions Committee for the donation of Quipu Womb to the TATE collection

Witte de Witte Rotterdam: Seehearing the Enlightened Failure 

MUAC, Mexico: Seehearing the Enlightened Failure 

CA2M Madrid 2021 :  Seehearing the Enlightened Failure 

Alfredo Jaar

This Chilean visual artist is most famous for his installations where he combines elements of photography, architecture and theater. Since settling in New York in 1982, Alfredo Jaar has traveled the world with his work which reflects politics, natural disasters and social conflicts.

His best-known production is a series of works grouped together to form the “Rwanda Project” (1994-2000), which reflect on the genocide in that country. His interventions in big cities are also widely recognized. This includes works such as “A Logo for America” (1987), a pioneering intervention done on an electronic screen in New York’s Times Square; and “The Cloud” (2000) – a performative project set on both sides of the border between Mexico and the United States.

His work has been exhibited in various biennales and museums around the world, such as the Modern Museet in Stockholm, Sweden (1994); the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (1992); and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1992). His works form part of museums such as the MoMA and Guggenheim in New York, the São Paulo Museum of Art and the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris. In addition to this, he has participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale (1987, 1989, 2010) and Venice Biennale (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), where he was awarded the 2013 National Prize for the Arts.

Some of his most prominent work:

53rd Venice Biennale 2013: Pabellón de Chile por Alfredo Jaar

Guggenheim, New York: Alfredo Jaar: A Logo for America
MoMA, New York: Alfredo Jaar

Centre Pompidou, Paris: Frame of Mind (Etat d’esprit)

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire: Alfredo Jaar: The Garden of Good and Evil

MCA Chicago: Alfredo Jaar: The Structure of Images

Francisco Copello

Engraver, installer, performer, mime artist and dancer. Most of his artistic career was spent abroad, mainly in Italy (where he studied painting) and New York (where he took various dance, pantomime and printmaking classes and participated in the underground scene, collaborating with artists such as Andy Warhol). He has exhibited his art throughout the world and won important awards such as the New York Council on the Arts (1971) and the Nicolaus Copernicus in Krakow, Poland (1972).

Among his best-known performances are: The Last Supper (1971); The Mime and the Flag (1975-1976); Arauco (1977); Omaggio to Neruda (1978); Lana Turner (1983) and Misa Negra (1998). He passed away in 2006.

Some of his most prominent work:

Hayward Gallery, London: DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics

TATE, London: A Year in Art 1973

11th Berlin Biennale 2020: The Crack Begins Within

Americas Society NYC 2021- 2022: This Must Be the Place: Latin American Artists in New York, 1965–1975

Voluspa Jarpa 

She has become one of the most important names in Chilean art and has the greatest presence on international circuits.

Voluspa Jarpa’s work mixes together painting and installations. Her works aim to reflect on the construction of a collective history, identity and memory through historical documents. She has exhibited in museums and art centers all over Latin America and Europe, and has participated in several international biennales, including: Havana (1997), Istanbul (2011), Porto Alegre (2011), Sao Paulo (2014), Shanghai (2018) and Venice (2019).

Several of her solo exhibitions stand out, like the one held at the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires (MALBA). Others include “Solo Projects: Focus Latin America” section of the ARCO Fair in Madrid and “Waking State” at the Mor Charpentier gallery. In 2019, she represented Chile at the Venice Pavilion with her work “Altered Views,” where she challenges European colonialism and hegemony.

Some of her most prominent work:

Museo MALBA, Buenos Aires: En Nuestra Pequeña Región de por Acá

Mor Charpentier, Paris.

58th Venice Biennale 2019: Pabellón de Chile por Voluspa Jarpa

Nicolás Franco 

His work utilizes painting, photography and sculpture, and touches on themes such as memory, perception and representation with a great power of association that moves from the visual to the conceptual and vice versa. Nicolás Franco studied at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Chile, the Complutense University of Madrid and at De Ateliers in Amsterdam.

He has had twelve individual exhibitions in museums around the world and has been displayed in Latin America, Europe and the United States. This includes the Tate Modern (London), Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Zurich), MEIAC – Extremeño Iberoamerican Museum of Contemporary Art (Badajoz), Stroom Deh Haag (The Hague) and De Ateliers (Amsterdam).

Some of his most prominent work:

TATE, London 2019-2020: A Year in Art 1973

TATE Modern, London 2020: Yesterday and Today

Paz Errázuriz

Paz Errázuriz is one of the most prominent and significant photographers in Chile. She first studied education at the Cambridge Institute of Education (UK) in 1966 and later completed her training as a self-taught photographer at the International Center of Photography (New York) in 1993.

Her videos and photographs are mainly centered around documenting marginalized communities. Her work has been exhibited both in Chile and around the world, with exhibitions like “Poetics of Dissent” at the 2015 Venice Biennale and “Retrospective” at the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid (2015-2016).

She has published over a dozen books and has had several exhibitions in museums such as the Guggenheim and the MoMA in New York. Her work “Adam’s Apple” (where she portrayed brothers Evelyn and Pilar, two transvestites from the La Jaula de Talca brothel) is part of the permanent collection at the Tate in London.

In 2014, Paz received the Pablo Neruda Order of Artistic and Cultural Merit. She was given the PhotoEspaña award in 2015 for her series “Luchadores” (boxers from Club Mexico). She was also awarded the II Madame Figaro-Rencontres de’Arles for her exhibition “A Poetics of the Human” (a compilation of 150 images that make up her work) organized by the Jeu De Paume de Paris.

Some of her most prominent work:

Venice Biennale 2015: Pabellón de Chile by Paz Errázuriz

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles: Radical Women

Barbican Gallery, London: Another Kind of Life

MoMA, New York: Paz Errázuriz (Work donated to the collection by Fundación AMA in 2017)

Guggenheim, New York: Paz Errázuriz (Work donated to the collection by Fundación AMA in 2016)

 Enrique Ramírez 

His work combines video, photography, installations and poetic narratives. Strongly influenced by Chilean history and geography, Enrique Ramírez expresses the idea of geography as a bearer of historical memory. With images of the sea, he uses his work to reflect on international migration, the discontinuity of memory and the landscape.

He has exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Center Pompidou, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, as well as in other places in France such as Le Grand Café in Saint-Nazaire. He was nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2020, one of the most important prizes in the art world, and is part of the MoMA collection in New York.

Some of his most prominent work:

MoMA, New York: Ocean 33 ° 02’47 “S / 51 ° 04’00” N

Centre Pompidou, Paris: Incertains

MACBA, Barcelona: Cruzar un muro

Javier Toro Blum 

With a degree in art from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a master’s in sculpture from the Royal College of Art in London, Javier Toro Blum’s work focuses on visual perception and phenomenology of space as well as its subsequent emotional and psychological implications.

His collective exhibitions include 21st Century Art and Design – RCA 2013 (Christie’s London), Muse (Lempertz Berlin), RCA Show 2013 (Royal College of Art), Paradise (Salon del Mobile in Milan), Luz Sur (Museum of Contemporary Art in Valdivia) and Fisura (Museum of Solidarity Salvador Allende), among others. His work is part of the collection at the Royal College of Art and the Chilean Transparency Council, as well as in private collections in Chile, Germany, England and Peru.

Some of his most prominent work:

Lempert, Berlin: “Muse”

Sobering Galerie, Paris: Tout Ce Qui Est Droit Ment

Am Bjiere Gallery, New York: Transitions

193 Gallerie, Paris: Oeuvres de Javier Toro Blum

Patricia Domínguez 

A born artist and naturalist, Patricia Domínguez got her master’s in studio art from Hunter College in New York and a Botanical Art & Illustration Certificate from the New York Botanical Garden. Her work focuses on examining the relationships of work, affection, obligation and emancipation between living species. Today, she is the director of Studio Vegetalista, a platform that seeks to produce experimental ethnobotanical knowledge and research through the combination of art, ethnobotany and healing cosmologies. In 2020, she was chosen to participate in the international Symmetry program, an interdisciplinary exchange between artists and scientists at CERN (Switzerland) and the ALMA and Paranal observatories (Chile). She also contributed to the book “Whitechapel: Documents for Contemporary Arts” (Health edition; from MIT Press).

Her main works have been exhibited throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, including the New Museum (New York),  Wellcome Collection (London, 2022), Gwangju Biennale (South Korea), Transmediale (Berlin), La Casa Encendida (Madrid, all through 2021), Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Madrid), CentroCentro (Madrid) and Yeh Art Gallery (New York, all through 2020).

Some of her most prominent work:

Wellcome Collection, London: Rooted Beings 

Twin Gallery, Madrid: Llanto Cósmico

Gasworks, London: Green Irises

CentroCentro, Madrid: There is nothing in the Middle.

Jorge Tacla

After studying art at the University of Chile, Jorge Tacla moved to New York in the 1980s where he has spent a large portion of his career. His artistic production, based on his own plastic language, has made him one of the Chilean contemporary artists with the greatest international presence. His work has evolved from painting images that reference Afro-Latino and American Indian music and culture, to creating predominantly urban neo-expressionist and landscape art.

Jorge Tacla has received many honors and awards, and his work belongs to several well-known public and private collections. His art has been exhibited at the MoMa (New York), the Seibu Art Forum (Tokyo), the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art (New York), the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Seoul), the Dublin Contemporary, the Bronx Museum (New York), the Venice Biennale and the Art Museum of the Americas (Washington DC).

Some of his most prominent work:

MoMA, New York: The New Portrait

Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art: Jorge Tacla papers

Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid


Imagen de Chile