The Bahía Utopica art gallery in Valparaíso (Chile) settles for a few weeks in the center of Paris, in the Marais, where it presents the work of nine contemporary Chilean artists. They are the singer and visual artist Mon Laferte, the drawing master Luis Martínez, the sculptor Pablo Villegas, the painter Juan Pablo Neira, the engraver Cristian Castillo, the graffiti artists Unkolordistinto, the painter Martín Riveros, Lobsang Durney and Gonzalo Ilabaca.
Nancy Arancibia and Bertrand Coustou are the soul of the Bahía Utopica gallery in Valparaíso, a port city and artistic pole par excellence in Chile. When the Les Galéristes fair scheduled for these dates at the Carreau du Temple was suspended, the two gallery owners decided to continue their trip to Paris, rent a ground floor in the center of the capital and set up an ephemeral gallery with the works of the nine selected Chilean artists. so that Parisians could also discover, admire and buy them. The result is the exhibition “Latin American Utopias”.
Faced with the profusion of contemporary art in France, Coustou and Arancibia decided to make a selection of works that “surprised, colorful and with a discourse” to distinguish themselves from the offer of the French capital. “There is so much art in Paris that to exist we have to surprise, so we go with a lot of color, but also with a speech, a content related to the current circumstances of changes in Chile, to the contingency; and also with a lot of humor and sarcasm ”, explains Coustou. “It is having a good reception, the Parisians come in and recognize the level of the artists, this is what we wanted, that the works could be read by anyone who passed by, that was achieved,” says Arancibia.
The main attraction of this exhibition is Mon Laferte, a Chilean multi-faceted singer who currently lives in Mexico. And whose musical work is recognized and has been awarded three Latin Grammys and two MTV Europe Music Awards. Laferte has always painted, although he has been doing it more frequently for ten years, says Costou. “When she goes on tour, she always goes with a lectern, painting and painting,” add the gallery owners and recall that her gallery in Valparaíso was the first to offer a solo exhibition with the artist.
Riveros Baxter or the bet to paint the psyche
There are established artists like Luis Martínez, master of drawing, and other younger ones like Martín Riveros with a very disturbing bet that represents the psyche. “He is studying with psychiatrists, taking classes like the old masters of painting, and he expresses on his canvas what he understands about the psyche. It is disturbing because he is a hyper-realistic artist, at 15 he was a teacher, but he changed because he no longer wanted to work from photography, ”explains Nancy Arancibia.
Along with the work of Riveros are the engravings of Cristian Castillo inspired by the Mapuche culture and that are made with a spoon, not with a press. Graffiti is an essential element of art in Valparaíso and in the ephemeral gallery it is present through the small-format paintings of acrylic and pencil on canvas by the couple of urban artists Unkolordistinto authors of several large-format graffiti in Valparaíso.
One of the paintings that attract the most attention is that of a group of Moaïs sailing through the sea in an inflatable boat, they are fleeing from Easter Island before it is flooded. The work is by Juan Pablo Neira and it aims to denounce climate change and highlight climate refugees.
Neira, who in her compositions recovers scenes or skies from classical painters and then gives them a new interpretation with new elements. In that sense of composition of different elements that come no longer, perhaps, from different times, but from different places, there is the dystopia of Lobsang Durney’s colorful paintings. And in the midst of this profusion of colors, the unmistakable expressionist stroke of Gonzalo Ilabaca.
The influence of the Chilean political situation in the creation
The works are very universal, but they also account for the processes of change that have been taking place in Chile since October 2019, since the social outbreak that has led to the constitutional change. This is the axis of Pablo Villegas’s sculptures. A sculpture of denunciation in which he uses bullet shells as elements for his creations
The exhibition can be seen in the Marais district in Paris until November 21, then it is moved to a private showroom also in Paris hoping to participate in mid-January 2022 in the Street Art fair in the French capital.