Now in its third edition, Chile’s Contemporary Art Fair (Ch.ACO) is taking place in Santiago’s Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho between 8 and 13 September.
Contemporary art fairs constitute the backbone of the contemporary art world economy. They are the events not to be missed by many galleries and an occasion for many artists to get more widely seen. It is no surprise then to watch them grow like mushrooms in any world capital eager to boost its attractive capital in the creative industries. Side by side with the most established art fairs that are Frieze in London and Art Basel in Basel and Miami, almost each Latin and Central American country has been coming up with its own art fair as a wager to firmly put its name on the art world map. This ambition comes with a flurry of acronyms: Buenos Aires has its arteBA, Bogota artBO, Mexico the Zone MACO and Brazil the huge SP Arte.
Bearing in mind the kind of calendar that art collectors have to juggle with, one would be forgiven for initially thinking that creating yet another contemporary art fair is, at the very least, a risky investment. This is further reinforced when one thinks that, although things are starting to change, there is no tradition of contemporary art collection in Chile. In a nutshell, a huge regional competition, a geographical position of isolation and a quasi-absence of local collectors are only some of the challenges that the young Ch.ACO has had to face over the past three years and it is fair to say that the results are very impressive.
The 2011 edition of the art fair will contain the booths of 35 galleries coming from ten different countries. While most of them are Chilean and South American, international dealers are starting to make the trip from as far as the United States, England or Spain. 400 works of art will be on display. Two young curators, Chilean Gonzalo Pedraza (curator of the centro cultural Matucana 100) and Mexican Úrsula Dávila-Villa have been invited to select works dealing with the theme of Pacific journeys and the cultural and historical routes that have linked South American and Asia. These works will be on display for the duration of the fair at Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho.
A series of activities have also been organized in and around the center for the four day period of the fair. For those interested in knowing more about Latin American contemporary art and the concrete advantages of investing in contemporary art, a series of fascinating talks will take place every afternoon by various international art experts like the Cuban Gerardo Mosquera or Dolors Sala Fenés, curator at Tate Modern in London. For the more hands-on, painting workshops will be proposed by the art shop Color Animal and a series of activities have also been tailored for children. Finally, on the evenings of the weekend, artistic performances led by the collective Graffiti Research Lab will be taking place on Plaza de la Cultura, in front of the centro cultural Estación Mapocho.
If after all this, your thirst for art has still not been quenched, you can leave the centro cultural and walk through the city on the hunt for the myriad of satellite projects organized by Ch.ACO Movíl. Throughout your journey, you will bump into a group of eccentrics dressed in naked suits, part of the Sake Naked Project, and vending machine-looking art installations scattered across the city, be it a game arcade, a post office or the entrance of the municipality of Santiago.
This overview of the type of activities that have been developed by Ch.ACO bear testimony to the organisers’ dual ambition: to affirm Chile’s place as a serious destination for international art collectors while developing a solid communication and education program aimed at bringing contemporary art to all inhabitants of the capital.
This should be enough to convince the most sceptical of what has come to been seen as Chile’s artistic revival, a topic to be discussed at length around a cocktail especially designed for Ch.ACO by the bar of The Clinic. Meanwhile, if contemporary art does not quite rock your boat, you may find exactly what you want at the Museo de Bellas Artes’ new show on the French sculptor Edgar Degas "Degas Escultor: Impresiones de la vida moderna".
Centro cultural Estación Mapocho
Plaza de la Cultura
Friday 9 September: 13.00-21.00
Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September: 12.00-20.00
Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 September: 13.00-21.00
Metro Puente Cal y Canto
Admission fee: General CL$5,000 (US$ 6.8), Concessions $2,500 (US$ 3.4), Weekly Pass CL$ 15,000, Student Weekly Pass $8,000
Free entrance for children under 8.
Museo de Bellas Artes
Parque Forestal S/N. - Casilla 3209
Metro Bellas Artes
Degas Escultor: Impresiones de la vida moderna
1st September – 30 October 2011