Chilean Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale
“Poéticas de la disidencia | Poetics of Dissent”
Artists: Paz Errázuriz, Lotty Rosenfeld
Curator: Nelly Richard
Deputy Commissioner: Juan Pablo Vergara
Venue: Pavilion at Arsenale—Artiglierie
A quarter century after the end of Chile’s military dictatorship, the repressive legacy of Augusto Pinochet lingers in Chilean consciousness. For the first time this year, the theme behind the nation’s Venice Biennale pavilion exhibition, titled “Poetics of Dissent,” was selected through public competition. The decision of modern Chileans to send two female artists who came of age during Pinochet’s dictatorship—and who make politically charged work—indicates a continued interest in questions raised by authoritarian rule: those of power, wealth, gender, and freedom.
Lotty Rosenfeld came to prominence as a member of the collective CADA (Colectivo de Acciones de Arte) at the close of the violent 1970s. Seeking to transgress the rigid stagnation of life under the Junta, Rosenfeld staged and filmed direct urban interventions against social restrictions, most famously in the enduring project Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento (1979), in which white tape transformed the dividing lines of Santiago’s highways from dashes into crosses.
Photographer Paz Errázuriz navigated 1980s Santiago to capture lives at the margins of Pinochet’s strict society. Her epic photo essay La manzana de Adán (1982–87) presented portraits and biographies of underground transvestite, male prostitutes—a community facing existential pressure from official disregard and state violence.
The pavilion’s curator, Nelly Richard, is a prominent cultural critic of the same generation; the shared focus of these three thinkers indicates Chile’s commitment to tackling the problems posed by its recent history.