La Cueva del Conejo: an Artist's Wonderland

Perhaps there was a time when you spotted a giant rabbit on the side of a warehouse, just south of the intersection at Santa Isabel and San Isidro, and thought it was an interesting piece of street art. But it’s more than just street art: it marks the entrance to Galeria Conejo, the public showroom for the larger project that is La Cueva del Conejo.

Galeria Conejo (photo courtesy of La Cueva del Conejo)
Galeria Conejo (photo courtesy of La Cueva del Conejo)

Upon entering the large blue metal doors, a narrow hall opens up to a medium sized white cube of a room on the right - this is the gallery space where various shows and performances are held. At the end of the hallway there is a small courtyard which accesses several studio spaces beyond.

First created in July of 2010, La Cueva del Conejo (The Rabbit Hole) was initially just a shared space between the artist friends of 27 year old Chilean native Constanza Cox. Since then, the project has expanded to include two more ‘rabbit holes’- one located near Parque Bustamante and one near Avenida Matta. I sat down with Constanza, or Coti as she is more commonly known, to find out more about the creative collective which now houses the studios of more than twenty artists altogether.

Coti, left (photo courtesy of La Cueva del Conejo)
Coti, left (photo courtesy of La Cueva del Conejo)

There are all different kinds of artists, or ‘rabbits,’ holing up at La Cueva- designers, photographers, sculptors. They are all young, averaging 26 or 27 years old, Coti tells me. There is no particular style in common, but rather more of a social experiment to see how different tastes and personalities create a dialogue. “La Cueva has a big statement,” she says, “All types of art are welcome.”

There are definite perks to being a part of the group- being a member of La Cueva means that you can organize your own events in the gallery space, and you can sell your own pieces, unlike other galleries which often take a substantial commission. “As an artist, I have a thing about that - I don’t like commercial galleries.” Coti explains, “Here, it's like the way I want other galleries to be. That’s why I do other events to make money, so I don't have to do ‘art prostitution.’”

The gallery is currently offering figure drawing classes and will soon begin Latin rhythm dance classes. The fourth installment of Feria Conejo, an art and design fair, will be held on April 13th from 11am to 6pm at the General Jofré location near Parque Bustamante. And for those who prefer events of the aural kind, the second cycle of free weekly musical performances will be starting up again on April 5th with musician Javier Barria.

One of the 'rabbit holes' (photo courtesy of La Cueva del Conejo)
One of the 'rabbit holes' (photo courtesy of La Cueva del Conejo)

Artists from outside La Cueva are also welcome to participate and are often featured in Galeria Conejo’s more official expositions, which are curated by a committee. There will be four expositions in 2013, with the first being held on April 26th.

Currently, spaces only become available occasionally and there is a waiting list of interested residents, so Coti is considering opening a fourth location to meet the growing demand. She’s surprised at how successful the project has been, and grateful to have been able to quit her previous job as a teacher in order to work full time on the gallery. “The best part of it all was that it wasn’t a decision, it happened organically,” she says, referring to the evolution of the initial house into what is now La Cueva del Conejo.

As a final question, I ask her where she got the name from. She explains that it’s a reference to her father and the cave-like house he used to live in with friends. “Even though it was spooky it made an intimate atmosphere, like a refuge. The shelter concept is very important here.” She says, “And I’ve come to realize that the name makes people curious- it's like Alice in Wonderland! It's a place people want to explore.”

More information about La Cueva del Conejo and upcoming events can be found at
www.facebook.com/GaleriaConejo and www.cuevadelconejo.cl

Locations: San Isidro #604, General Jofre #125, and Juan Vicuna #1592

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