Usually when visiting a museum, one does not expect to hear much noise other than the steps of other attendees taking in the exhibit. However, the Chilean visual artist and designer Yael Rosenblut, breaks this sacred silence by using videos to present a fresh vision of three classic Chilean oil paintings from the XIX Century.
Everything starts upon approaching the room. A hoarse voice escapes from a narrow threshold, getting louder as one ventures further into the dark room. Suspense is then built when the visitor hears a hieratical song in Spanish, bringing to mind early Chilean history. The three videos are displayed next to the corresponding painting that each reinterprets, creating a dialogue between the motionless painting and the audiovisual, based on Rosenblut’s vision.
It also forms a bond between the present and the past and a mental compare-and-contrast exercise for the viewer. Furthermore, through the audiovisual devices, it is possible to draw an imaginary background for the painted pieces.
The first video of the trilogy is stunning. The video version of the painting “Ramón Martínez de Luco y su hijo” (Ramón Martínez de Luco and his son) by José Gil de Castro resembles the oil original with great accuracy. As spectators, our initial reaction is to compare painting and video rapidly, gathering clues of similarity and obsessively looking for differences. But there’s no way to find a divergent detail.
The second display is of “La Carta” (The Letter), a painting by Pedro Lira. In Rosenblut’s interpretation of the painting, she reincarnates the woman who holds the letter in Lira’s work. In this case, Rosenblut immerses herself in the world of the classic painting and becomes the woman portrayed in the video. The dress she uses in the video and the hairstyle are identical to the ones used in the painting. This closeness to the real painting explores the unknown territory beyond the original’s frame, and creates a narrative that forges the past with the present.
At the end of the gallery we find the third and final piece, “La Perla del Mercader” (The Merchant’s Pearl) by Alfredo Valenzuela Palma. This video does not represent the oil as the others have. Three girls are in a room exchanging belongings; clothes, jewelry and other girly objects, which present attractive colors and textures. The scene continues with a procession of events that casually lead us to discover the image of the “La Perla del Mercader” painting within the video, appearing suddenly and being carried by a keyring.
Rosenblut’s work is highly narrative, deeply meaningful and loyally supportive to the paintings. It develops a contemporary revision of the XIX original works and functions as a link to emphasize Chilean artistic development throughout time.
Trilogía del Arte Chileno – Yael Rosenblut
Ends June 28
Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:50 pm
CP$600, free on Sundays
Museo Bellas Artes
Metro: Bellas Artes