Orientation trips
The Mondriaan Fund organises orientation trips for visual artists and mediators to Asia, Latin America and Africa since 2004. The trips are aimed at exchange and cooperation between visual art professionals.

“What an idea: to create a museum with art for the people, and then even abstract art?” The initiative Action Verdad was launched by Salvador Allende and invited intellectuals from all over the world: important works of abstract art where to be donated to create a national collection for Chile. And it was successful: from the beginning artists donated about 670 works which where exhibited. This was 1972. In 1973 everything was interrupted by the military coup and it would take 40 years for the museum to open for good. The Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende opened in 1991 in the Palacio dellas Bellas Artes.

The director Claudia Zaldivar and head of the collection Caroll Yasky explain the most important task they have right now: after finding the whereabouts of all the donated art works (some were shipped back to Europe after the coup, some were in storage at the Museum of Bellas Artes and some got lost), the archiving information, a catalogue raisonné was published with a first show 2012. Works from many countries and I was surprised to hear also from Switzerland. The works were expected to be important within the oeuvre of the artist and all over the world this task was fulfilled in different ways: some countries chose not via professional committees but via embassies. Later on the collecting was expanded to all kind of works and certainly to politically engaged ones. Apart from organizing and researching the collection 3 exhibitions are set up per year. In the meantime, the curatorial team of the museum is working on the next step of the collection, the “Catalogue of Resistencia”.

At the moment an exhibition about ephemeral works is set up: many artists worked in the name of collectives and produced non material works of the 70’s – interest, cost and politics… mixed. I found it interesting to see that a curator from the US, Liz Munsell, took up this task. There is a lot of oral history still to adventure, a close dialogue also with the heirs of the artists and to find the right context for the works also in art history.

The history of the building itself is very intriguing: in 1925 it was the seat of a Belgian business man, then it became the houde of the embassy of Spain, and later it was part of the University of Chile (department of History of Literature and Art). In 1976 it became the secret intelligence office of the government took it over.

The restoration of democracy in Chile, the second phase, as a coming from abroad to join the original background, providing in September 1991, the reopening of the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende held at the Museum Nacional de Bellas Artes.

Galeria Metropolitana

The Galeria Metropolitana is a private run exhibition space located in a garage, in the periphery of Santiago. We were welcomed by Ana María Saavedra and Luis Alarcón, the founding directors of the space. All their activities are somehow connected to their house and their own lives. Usually guest artists work with the context of the place, and connect to the every day life in the neighborhood. They look for curatorial themes, such as art and global, art and market, but also borders, limits, walls – anything expressing their interest in a specific moment.

In 2010 they hosted a work in the context of the exhibition “Dislocacion” curated by Ingrid Wildi, a Swiss and Chilean artist. The work was by Thomas Hirschhorn – which was later shown in the Art Museum of Berne. I was happy to see the venue as ProHelvetia was very much involved with the project.

Four artists introduced their work – all of them work very closely with the community and the specific context of Galeria Metropolitana. Alicia Villareal worked with schoolchildren around an hospital, left an unfinished ruin after the coup – an unfulfilled promise and through slow change of perspective the children developed proposals for what the building could be: a boat, a museum, a place to meet. In reality a real estate agent bought the hospital and turned it into a huge warehouse. Sebastian Salfate founded the Galeria de Arte Daniel Moron. Daniel Moron is a well known football star. Sebastian develops projects, which outside the gallery system, combines nostalgy and football. Even Daniel Moron himself joined into the artistic context. Bernardo Oyarzùn produced a kind of soap opera, with actors and neighbours from the neigbourhood. The garage was used as the stage. Cristián Inostroza started out as an activist during the student movements in 2011. He works with strong symbols and objects of revolt, like pans used to make noise. Or with traces left by demonstrations, like the burning of tires on the road. For another project he asked all the neighbours what they would like to say to everybody, recorded it and created a sound carpet of dense messages.

A phantastic insight into very different specific works, all very connected to the context of Galeria Metropolitana (which in our case was also connected to surprisingly cold and wet weather!)

Marianne Burki