Untimely Archeologies at the Gabriela Mistral Gallery

In an exhibition at the Galeria Gabriel Mistral, curator Rodrigo Alonso combines the works of three young Chilean artists. Camila Ramirez, Raimundo Edwards and Andres Vial express their opinions of archaeology and its commentary on the present, rather than the past. The aptly titled Arqueología a Destiempo (Untimely Archaeology) envisions the gallery as an archeological dig site, with viewers trying to piece together our present history. Each artist touches on different artifacts or mediums in order to catalog an experience of the present moment and its constant conversion into the past.

A piece by Raimundo Edwards (photo by Cat Allen)
A piece by Raimundo Edwards (photo by Cat Allen)

Raimundo Edwards uses a design language taken directly from the streets of Santiago. Neon yellow, silver and black, familiar colors to any commuter at street level, come to the forefront of his presentation. In one particular piece he uses parts of cars, bones, neon vests, side mirrors and old tree roots, all connected with neon string, as if trying to piece together a larger picture of our present from the discarded rubble. The work suggests some order, but also tension between the study of archaeology and its presentation. One can piece together a version of the truth based on the artifacts of an event but that version pales in comparison to witnessing an event unfold in the present.

GAM skin mosaic by Andrés Vial (photo by Cat Allen)
GAM skin mosaic by Andrés Vial (photo by Cat Allen)

Andrés Vial provides a fascinating study of a complex Chilean ethnicity. One piece exemplifies the varying skin colors in Chile. Vial takes 1” by 1” photo samples of skin and presents them together, categorizing their colors according to tone, as paint swatches. He then takes these same samples of skin color to form a pixelated image of Centro Gabriela Mistral. Another piece, a collection of velum line drawings, show faces layered on top of one another on a light table. The heavy consistency of the lines, with light shining through, suggests a more unified Chilean ethnicity as the lines of individual faces blend together.

Socialist tools by Camila Ramírez (photo by Cat Allen)
Socialist tools by Camila Ramírez (photo by Cat Allen)

Camila Ramírez investigates socialist narratives and expresses these through altered objects of labor and education such as desks, hammers and trowels. The somewhat ironic objects are awkward but they divulge a more serious commentary on how socialism renders the tools of society useless.

Arqueología a Destiempo seeds powerful questions about our collective present and its interpretation. In the short description of the exhibit, Curator Rodrigo Alonso provides this quote from Fredric Jameson, "Ontologies of the present demand archeologies of the future, not forecasts of the past." More archaeology of the present can deepen our questions of reality and its potential presentation in the future.

Arqueología a Destiempo will be at Galeria Gabriela Mistral through October 20th. The gallery is located at 1381 Alameda near La Moneda. More information can be found on the gallery's website.

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