Visible/invisible: an illustrative insight into Chile’s military rule

Three different women with three different perspectives of Chile’s military rule used their lenses to either provoke historical memories, share personal accounts or teach with factual images.

Photo courtesy Kena Lorenzini
Photo courtesy Kena Lorenzini

Whether they call it a dictatorship, a military government or the Pinochet era, Chileans and extranjeros living in Chile all seem to have their own spin on the happenings in the country between 1973 and 1990. The exhibit, Visible/Invisible – Hughes – Lorenzini – Vicuña: Three Photographers during the Military Dictatorship in Chile, reflected this culture of conflicting attitudes by presenting the diverse visual perspectives of three female photographers on those times.

Photo courtesy Helen Hughes
Photo courtesy Helen Hughes

The principally black-and-white collection of works took on this grey issue with each of the photographers’ pieces juxtaposed to form a multi-faceted observation of the era.

Photographs by Helen Hughes concentrated on the personal stories and everyday moments during the military dictatorship in Chile. Subjects ranged from a woman washing clothes by hand to the powerful portrait of a young girl with bruised eyes.

Kena Lorenzini’s works took on more journalistic aesthetics and themes. Scenes captured included a pro-Pinochet gathering in 1983 and a police-protestors confrontation leading up to the death of martyr-priest Andre Jarlan of La Victoria.

Photo courtesy Leonora Vicuña
Photo courtesy Leonora Vicuña

Leonora Vicuña’s photos mixed city and family settings. Her photos maintained a bit of color such as the vibrant colored Chilean flags hanging in the photographically desaturated venue of the classic La Piojera bar.

Along with the photography exhibit, two correlating documentaries were played in the gallery. Imaginario Inconcluso (“Inconclusive Imaginary”, 1990) by Pablo Basulto told the story of the escape of political prisoners in January 1990 through a tunnel that took over a year to complete. Pablo Lavín’s Vereda Tropical (“Tropical Sidewalk”, 1990) interpreted the pre- and post-dictatorship Chile through the story of a woman growing up from a safe childhood to a harsh old age.

Curated by Montserrat Rojas Corradi and Mario Fonseca, the exhibit offered photographs, some of which were previously unseen by the public, of these three photographers at the Goethe Insitiut of Santiago. The exhibit was the winner of this year's Altazor Awards in the Visual Arts - Photography category. Additional showings are planned this year so stay tuned.

Visible/Invisible – Hughes – Lorenz - Vicuña: Tres Fotógrafas Durante la Dictadura Militar en Chile
Goethe Institut
Esmeralda 650, Santiago Centro

Participating photographers:
Helen Hughes
Kena Lorenzini
Leonora Vicuña

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