“Women to Watch” (WTW) is a biannual program organized by our home office in Washington D.C. An initiative that emerged in 2008, it strives to visibilize women artists by selecting a work by each of the organization´s 24 national and international committees. This year’s international exhibit, “Paper Routes”, will be launched October 7 in the United States.
Each edition of WTW centers on a specific medium or theme, chosen by the home office curatorial staff. For 2020, the curators chose paper as the primary medium with which artists created complex works of art.
MAVI (Museum of Visual Arts) director and curator María Irene Alcalde was designated by Washington D.C. to curate the selection of artwork by Chilean artists to be presented to the program’s team of experts in the United States. The curatorial team chose “Cornisa Palacio Vergara” (Vergara Palace Cornice) by the Chilean artist Paola Podestá, to represent our country in “Paper Routes.”
The Local Experience
NMWA Chile not only participates in the program’s international version; since 2018 it has developed a challenging local version of the “Women to Watch” project. This year’s exhibit, titled “Acid-Free”, will be held thanks to collaboration with the MAVI Museum. The show will bring together the works of 11 Chilean women artists who represent different generations: Julen Birke, Amelia Campino, Teresa Gazitúa, Carolina Illanes, Ximena Izquierdo, Carolina Larrea, Pilar Mackenna, Rosario Perriello, Pilar Quinteros, Patricia Vogel and Paola Podestá.
Each of these artists employed different perspectives and techniques to create from paper. However, as the curator María Irene Alcalde explains, the unifying element of the exhibit is the concept that paper is a material “democratic, vulnerable, versatile, elegant, contemporary, flexible, non-substantial, fragile, and light material […] that enables the materialization of heterogeneous and powerful projects”.
The “Acid-Free” project is supported by the Mustakis Foundation, the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, and the Tax Exemption Bill. Collaboration from Scotiabank, Cimagen y Julius Bär has also been important to make the exhibit possible.
Acid-Free Gallery photos
ACID-FREE: JULEN BIRKE
From the PANAL (Beehive) Series by JULEN BIRKE
Gauffering on Tiziano paper (2011)
The artist Julen Birke noted: “In my creative processes, I tension the properties and characteristics of paper as a material. Paper is not simply a medium; rather, it becomes transformed into a volumetric reflection that allows me to visually install the imaginaries I work with”.
ACID-FREE: AMELIA CAMPINO
SIN PAUSA…UN TODO (Non-stop…All is one) by AMELIA CAMPINO
Three ink and pencil drawings on cotton paper (2019)
Every line is thought out as a continuum of points. In order to unite, these static points need a trajectory. Repetitive lines, originating from constantly reiterated movement, extend over the surface to create the work. In its execution, the successive repetition of a motion brings its relation closer to something mechanical. The idea transforms into a machine, which then makes the production time fundamental. Direction lines and points, when performed on a space, become a registry of an imprint in motion.
“Through the appropriation of abstract elements such as lines, rhythm, and motion, I explore the sensitive side of a drawing, in which the hand moves intuitively, with no pre-conceived plan other than to draw, influenced by both rhythm and air,” said the artist Amelia Campino. “My intention is to generate micro universes of experimentation and energy motion, that, consequently, leave traces of their trajectories and collision points”.
ACID-FREE: TERESA GAZITÚA
MURAL by Teresa Gazitúa
Molds of handcrafted cotton paper pulp, shaped over rocks engraved with cross-shaped marks (2007).
“This work is a derivation of traditional printmaking, in which [lithographic] stones can be used as plates to produce a high-volume of copies. For this work I looked for a certain type of stone. As I collected them, I would mark each stone with a cross in chalk. Crosses or lines were executed by an incision on the body of the stone. Then, I hand-produced paper with white embossing that resembles skin. These austere, essential molds interact with the stone of which they are the inverted image, and are reproduced on vertical support material, suggesting the metaphor of an altar, that requires time for contemplation”, explains the artist Teresa Gazitúa.
ACID-FREE: CAROLINA ILLANES
GRILLA LOCAL by CAROLINA ILLANES Mixed technique, sheets of white die-cut letter-sized paper (2010)
This work is comprised of 30 units of different heights, produced by reams of while paper. Each unit is die-cut with a different design, based on the facades of houses of two neighborhoods, Yungay and Matta. Since molds were used to cut the sheets of paper, this work has the attribute of being easily reproduced. Every time the work is exhibited, characteristics such as the quantity, weight, and design of each unit on a given surface, change. Grilla Local adapts to each specific space.
These geometric structures are isolated from their physical and urban contexts.
“I develop certain fragility strategies through ephemeral and light materials, such as cardboard and paper. The models and patterns I use are based on houses in Santiago, which I first register photographically. The objective is to show the formal meticulous nature of rectangularity as a formal category and a specific construction model for the volume of the plane and space”, observed artist Carolina Illanes.
Santiago’s urban imaginary is translated as a parameter that defines not only the strategies described earlier but also unveils the power of obsolesence behind its organization and composition, considering the city’s plans of constant renewal.
The regularity with which the objects are organized tends to erase the fact that these are undertaken on the urban fabric itself.
ACID-FREE: XIMENA IZQUIERDO
INDIGO by XIMENA IZQUIERDO.
Blue carbon paper. Inkless pen drawing (2010)
Carbon paper is a light, fragile material of insubstantial weight but it can retain much information. This is not about the object or drawing to be traced, or what has been traced. It is a process that captures what is in between, in other words, between what one wants to trace and what has already been traced.
This enables the possibility for comparison with memorialization processes, in which the storage of experiences and what we learn lie between the memory of the past the visual trigger of the present. The association to the present activates memory.
Carbon paper permits drawing with inkless pens with a hard, fine point, to rip the surface to be traced, producing an absence of color, to which one may add lines or figures one over the other, as superimposed planes and layers.
The ensuing light visibilizes this work of art, as in a mosaic. A very thin layer of paper particles activate color, illuminating the paper from behind. The light causes the drawing on the paper to become visible.
ACID-FREE: CAROLINA LARREA
IMPERMANENCIA by CAROLINA LARREA
16 art pieces from handcrafted Japanese paper, lithographs (2011)
This work speaks of the quest for photographic language, through images that are both absent and present. An image of a woman fades in physical volume, submerging into emptiness that little by little becomes increasingly attractive, like a type of vessel of meanings that are not evident at first glance. Rather, the meaning become clear as the viewer submerges into the work.
It alludes to the Buddhist concept of impermanence, present in our daily lives, regarding the constant change that surrounds us. The constantly renewed present, without past or future, only exists in the present moment.
The work invokes the unique, ephemeral moment, the profound meaning of a remarkable instant, in which the wake of a second endures like a remnant in the air, charged with its latent presence, suggesting an absence.
ACID-FREE: PILAR MACKENNA
WATERFALL II by PILAR MACKENNA
Colored paper on mdf base on medium density fiber panel (2019)
Pilar Mackenna’s work seeks to describe the relation between human beings and the environment. From a focus centered on macro to micro observation, she generates continual relationships, either conceptual or formal, in which the figurative and the abstract are in transit from a bi-dimensional to tri-dimensional state.
Before Mackenna’s eyes, diagrams, graphics, and taxonomies appear as distant ways for regarding nature, which is her passion. Her choice is for partial topographical cuttings. The artist depicts nature as an object of scientific understanding through drawings, watercolors, and sculpture made from materials such as paper, cardboard and pieces of wood she finds.
ACID-FREE: ROSARIO PERRIELLO
PAISAJE ARTIFICIAL (Artificial Landscape) by ROSARIO PERRIELLO Waste paper, porcelain, polyurethane (2019)
“For quite some time now, I have observed how natural disasters caused by climate change are transforming the landscape.
Between 2016 and 2017, in Chile’s central zone, mono-cultivation of pine and eucalyptus trees has eroded the soil, destroyed nutrients of the land, and altered hydrological cycles, resulting in mega-fires that devastated countless acres of forest. After these catastrophic events, fires, Adesmia bijuga, an endemic flowering plant of the Maule Region discovered by naturalist Rudolfo Philippi in 1884, whose seeds had been dormant more than 100 years, sprouted again.
Through paper cut-outs, containers, plastic, and other elements, the work portrays the Adesmia bijuga in different ways. Large smears are drawn on the wall and the floor, simulating a landscape after the immense fires.
These smears depict a small artificial landscape that varies from black to green and white, in addition to an intervention in pink that alters the monochromatic tone, a reference to the pollution of the Trainel River in Chonchi,” Rosario Perriello explained.
ACID-FREE: PAOLA PODESTÁ
VENTANA BABURIZZA Y BAHIA DE VALPARAÍSO (Baburizza Palace window and Valparaiso Bay) by PAOLA PODESTÁ.
Rolls of 300-gram cold-pressed watercolor paper, 9 x 1.1 meters wide, 100% acid-free, painted with acrylic paint achieved with soluble anti UV pigments and distilled water (2010)
“The operation I use is the displacement of photography; more specifically, the photographic registry of ornamental mouldings of Region Five heritage palatial buildings. I transfer this to material precarity suggested by paper dies pinned onto a polyurethane foam sheet. I begin by producing handcrafted colored paper, combined with computer drawings of the signs I chose: bugs that inhabit a human’s home when we stop maintaining it, and make their home in our space – ants, spiders, cockroaches, flies and moths, all on a scale visible to the naked eye. Then, I produce a laser cut and serial production by hand that includes the pin in the middle of each figure. These are technological delays and advances at the same time, all of which are commentaries on the era when the ornaments were designed,” the artist Paola Podestá explains.
ACID-FREE: PILAR QUINTEROS
RESTAURACION I (Restoration I) by PILAR QUINTEROS
Video and objects made from lined cardboard (2010)
“I work with delicate, non-durable materials, which means that practically nothing of what I have created physically exists today. I use cheap construction material or things I find that allow me to construct a body in a space. For me it is important to personally materialize my ideas. The moment an idea arises, in my entire body I feel an absolute urgency to see what did not even exist before then. Over time, I began to experiment more with video, moving on from using it to document a concrete action to playing with documentary and fiction formats”.
“In May 2010 I did a transitory lined-cardboard restoration of the facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of Chile, in light of the pressing need to repair one of the most emblematic buildings of the early 20th century modernization project of the city of Santiago, with limited resources. The action was recorded on video with the title Restauración I (14:33 min.), an allegory of the act of reparation, always left half finished, of national buildings, or as a gesture that shows a sincere interest of someone with no direct relation to the institution”, explains Pilar Quinteros.
ACID-FREE: PATRICIA VOGEL
SLOW by PATRICIA VOGEL. Collage, series of magazine clippings glued on Arches paper (2019)
This series is part of an exercise that proposes we look for spaces, lines, shapes and colors in documental magazine images, isolating them from their editorial narrative to create a new graphic narrative base on what the original photograph “is not.” Through a process that is quite intuitive and random, the final result of these images shows a subconscious impulse to re-interpret everything we see, demanding a new meaning for itself.