Perrera Arte, Creation of Originality

Perrera Arte (Dog Pound Art) is the site of a unique, experimental kind of art which is sure to captivate you.

Photo by Jorge Aceituno
Photo by Jorge Aceituno

A major theme in Perrera Arte exhibits is the use of corpses of dogs which have died on the highway. While this may be a bit shocking to viewers, this is typical of Perrera Arte, an organization which strives to create unique and surprising art and is definitely worth checking out.

Photo by Jorge Aceituno
Photo by Jorge Aceituno

The director of Perrera Arte is Antonio Becerro, a visual artist and taxidermist. These images from his project, Óleos Sobre Perro (Oils on dog) (2002), depict dogs which look alive, yet are trapped as if in a moment of stasis. For the viewer, it may be hard to come to terms with looking at a permanently unmoving, dead animal as a piece of art.

Again in 2008 Becerro created another series of works in Óleos Sobre Perro with the subject, the dog, set inside a display case. With blank white walls in the background and nothing to distract the eye, the viewer is forced to look only at the dogs. The exhibit looks isolated and cold, as though these were live dogs permanently trapped. Becerro described this type of setting as a purgatory-like state imprisoning the animals.

Photo by Jorge Aceituno
Photo by Jorge Aceituno

When asked why it is valuable to make such shocking art, Becerro explained that he was bored of making conventional art. In his words, "[Es] otro lenguaje que se tuercen de los lenguajes tradicionales de leer arte" (It's another language that twists the way people traditionally read art).

Photo by Jorge Aceituno
Photo by Jorge Aceituno

The shock factor of this art comes from seeing humans and animals in unnatural situations. One piece, for example, features a woman breastfeeding a dog. This sort of scene provokes the viewer into questioning the differences between humans and animals.

In another photo, there is a naked woman wearing an animal mask, blurring the line between human and animal and creating some confusion about how to feel when looking at the scene.

You can find art anywhere, but what makes Perrera Arte so interesting is that they strive to be very original and different, and to create art that is as far removed from current art trends as possible.

Becerro's mission is to find talented artists to be a part of this distinct vision of experimental art. He requires the artists he selects to exhibit at Perrera Arte to create works which feature dogs. He feels that dogs are necessary to his and the other artists' work because they symbolize the "badly treated dog." This "badly treated dog" not only represents those dogs who have been abused or who live on the streets, but also humans who have been badly treated: the poor, the indigenous people and those without a home.

 Photo by Sonia Garay Daza
Photo by Sonia Garay Daza

According to Becerro, the building that currently houses Perrera Arte was once a dog pound where dogs who had been put down were incinerated (as well as a place used to burn trash). Some people say that the dogs were sent down a chute and dropped into an oven to be burned alive. While it is difficult to verify these stories, the building definitely has a bizarre, tragic feeling.

Perrera Arte has exhibited everything from interpretive dance to painting to live acts. Becerro hand picks the wild array of talented artists, many of whom are foreigners traveling and living in Chile for a small amount of time. Perrera Arte is also used for dance groups to practice choreography before a show, for performances or exhibitions or even to host parties such as Perrera Arte's 20 year anniversary party.

An attendee at Perrera Arte's twentieth anniversary party had a chance to witness strange, dramatic, intense, and shocking pieces of art. In one performance a man, dressed in a top hat wearing unusual pants which left only his butt exposed, danced with a stuffed dog.

Photo by Sonia Garay Daza
Photo by Sonia Garay Daza

During the course of his performance, (easily grossed-out readers should stop reading now) he inserted a microphone into his anus, then faced the audience while slapping his buttocks to make noise. While definitely one of the most shocking events of the evening, it does give the art-lover an idea of what to expect from Perrera Arte.

While the 20th anniversary celebration has come and gone, there are always different exhibits and special events taking place. Check out their Facebook page for dates and details.

 Photo by Sonia Garay Daza
Photo by Sonia Garay Daza

o Perrera Arte
+ Parque de Los Reyes
+ Address (and cross street): Av. Presidente Balmaceda, between Bulnes and Cueto
+ Phone Number: 02-682-1092
+ Hours of Operation: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
+ Bus stop: PJ1566 - Cueto / Av. Presidente Balmaceda
+ Website Link: http://www.perrerarte.cl/
+ Facebook Link: https://es-es.facebook.com/Perrera.Arte

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