Young Chilean Photographers: the New Generation Takes Over

The young photography scene in Chile is buzzing. Antologia visual de jovenes fotografos, Chile, 2010-2011 currently on display at the MAC in Parque Forestal introduces its newest and freshest protagonists in a varied and original exhibition.
 Courtesy of Alejandro Olivares
Courtesy of Alejandro Olivares
This show is the final stage of a project organised by the online portal Fotoespacio. Behind the anthology lies the ambition to present this new generation of photographers and the issues that move them. As the curator Montserrat Rojas Corradi explains in the exhibition’s press release, these young practitioners are heir to an older generation who, in the 1980s, developed a documentary style linked to the climate of repression instilled by the Pinochet dictatorship. Likewise, the young photographers featured in this exhibition tackle serious issues such as politics and identity but they do so by scanning their diffused presence in daily contemporary society; its politics of sex, gender and urban violence.
 Courtesy of Macarena Peñazola
Courtesy of Macarena Peñazola
The quality of the exhibition and of the artists selected is undeniable but some works stand out in particular. The photographs of Alejandro Olivares in a series entitled Living Periferia documents the life of young people in a deprived neighbourhood of Santiago. There, drugs, teenage pregnancy and kids playing with firearms interact in an urban landscape ornate with baroque frescoes in which imagery of the Colo Colo football team meets religious aesthetics to celebrate the memory of the barrio’s fallen youths. In another room, the Eves of Macarena Peñaloza provide a biting criticism of the domestic clichés surrounding the issue of gender in contemporary Chile. In Eva Carnicera, a glamorous woman in a dress and stilettos strikes a proud and provoking pose in the middle of a market, a necklace of sausages wrapped around her. The picture ironically plays with the codes of seduction; opposing them with the Chilean housewife's mundane reality of grocery shopping. Similarly Segunda Identidad, a series of two diptychs by Nicole Albornoz, deconstructs codes of femininity that tend to confine women to the domestic sphere. A little girl wearing a pink apron and make-up à la Frida Kahlo poses in front of floral wallpaper. Once again, the theme of gender stereotypes is put into question, just as it also is in the recreation of women portraits taken from the History of Art by photographer Antonia Cruz.
 Courtesy of Nicole Albornoz
Courtesy of Nicole Albornoz
Elsewhere, the legacy of the former military dictatorship is addressed in many works such as Mariana Gallardo’s photographs where an erotic session of S&M fails to conceal the morbid undertone of torture that the military gear of the protagonists brings to mind.
 Courtesy of Mariana Gallardo
Courtesy of Mariana Gallardo
From room to room, the styles and techniques differ, showing that the breadth of these young photographers' creativity lies as much in the content as in the form. However, what seems to unite the works in this exhibition is their ability to address in a bold, frank way, the questions and debates that animate contemporary Chilean society. Be it gender stereotypes, the tyranny of appearance, social exclusion or the place of religion, the acidic portraits drawn by this younger generation leave no stone unturned and testify to young Chileans’ eagerness to deal with their country’s recent past in order to negotiate their own future. Antología Visual de Jóvenes Fotógrafos, Chile 2010-2011 31 marzo-26 junio MAC Parque Forestal Second Floor In front of calle Mosqueto (behind the museum of Bellas Artes) Metro Bellas Artes Opened Tuesday – Saturday 11.00-19.00, Sunday 11.00-18.00 Entrance fee: Donations to go towards the post-earthquake renovation of the building. More information on http://www.mac.uchile.cl/ http://www.fotoespacio.cl/
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