Chilean Myths Revisited with Subtle Violence

If you’ve ever wondered what a modern-day version of the old troll rapist El Trauco of Chilean mythology would look like,* Doife Videla offers his artistic musings on the question in Mitologías Chilensis--but with a twist.

Mitologias Chilenis Sutil Violento

The intriguing photographic series of Chilean myths in contemporary settings is open for your interpretation this month at the National Museum of Bellas Artes. In addition to El Trauco, a forest troll who impregnates young girls, and La Calchona, a traditional housewife whose nightly drug indulgences condemn her to life as a sheep, the exhibit features several other Chilean myths with their photos recast in today’s society.

Mitologias Chilenis Sutil Violento Santiago Chile

The contemporary setting, along with the stark mechanical medium of the digital camera used to depict the fantasies and nightmares that only existed in our gauzy subconscience until now, create an interesting (and frankly, funny) contrast. The modern-day Calchona is a businesswoman in a black suit who looks longingly from outside at her two children and her husband, asleep among Lego toys in front of the TV. The mises-en-scène is both fascinating and challenging to interpret.

Mitologias Chilenis Sutil Violento Santiago Chile

Also at Bellas Artes is Sutil Violento, a collaboration between various Latin American photographers asked to examine the theme of “subtle violence” in their society. There are predictable photos of dilapidated buildings and Rio de Janeiro’s overpopulated favelas, as well as photos of the gorier steps of meat production along with other not-so-subtle images of big rusty knives.

A personal favorite was the series of photographs of “before and after” piñata pictures, showing paper “My Little Ponies” smashed and covered in their own newspaper guts, and The Hulk’s tattered remains sloppily stuffed into the trunk of a car. While the photos are expertly done, the theme may be a bit heavy-handed for weaker stomachs.

* Imagine Jack Nicholson’s character from The Shining on late-night TV.

Mitologías Chilensis
Closes December 31, 2008
CP$600 (US$.95)

Sutil Violento
Closes January 18, 2009
CP$600 (US$.95)

National Museum of Bellas Artes
Parque Forestal
Casilla 3209
Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:50 pm
(562) 633 4472
Metro: Bellas Artes

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