“Los Ríos: visual territory”: an artist residency in the deep south

Art residencies in Chile have become a relevant activity, with an emphasis on the territorial aspect, and to understand its dimensions it is necessary to go back to its historical origins, which we can relate to the emergence of the first academy of art itself.

This event took place in the second half of the sixteenth century, precisely in the year 1563, when the Duke of Florence Cosimo de’ Medici and the Tuscan painter Giorgio Vasari jointly founded the Accademia del Disegno, thus providing optimal conditions for the development of the artistic discipline.

It is the same academy that in the 17th century will welcome the French fellows of the Prix de Rome, who were able to absorb artistic, technical, conceptual and theoretical practices that they could then replicate in their places of origin, an experience also adopted during the 17th, 18th and following centuries in the rest of Europe, arriving in the twentieth century to be promoted by various public and private institutions, associations, groups and patrons throughout the West.

In the case of Chile there have been and still are experiences of residences of great importance, among which we can mention one of great power that we find in the “Open City” located on the dunes of Ritoque, born under the principles of “Amereida”, the colossal poetic project of continental scope: combining life, work and study from the encounter between poetry and crafts, which was founded in the 1970s by poets, architects, designers, sculptors, philosophers and artists, many of whom came from the Faculty of Architecture of the ‘Catholic University of Valparaíso and others from different parts of the country and from abroad.

At present we can easily detect the existence of at least fifty art residencies in the national territory created in the last ten years, georeferenced from Arica in the north to Punta Arenas in the south, which indicates an exponential growth of this type of collective activity of professionals belonging to different areas of the arts, creative economies and other disciplines such as science and technology, among others.

It is at this level that we look forward to the third version of “Los Ríos: Visual Territory”, an artist residency program jointly organized by the Galería Barrios Bajos and the Seremi de las Artes, las Culturas y el Patrimonio de la Región de Los Ríos , with the participation of the Institute of Visual Arts of the Austral University of Chile, the School of Arts and Crafts of the Cultural Unit of the Municipality of Corral and the Panguipulli Cultural House.

The artistic creation and research residency featured ten artists from the Los Ríos region, which consisted of outreach activities that developed over three days, with resident artists and students who met at the Ex Club de Box de Barrios Bajos to talk about their artistic processes and collectively carry out creative exercises conceived by them and by themselves, from which the idea of ​​creating an activity open to the community was born.

This was done last December and consisted of a collective exhibition of works and interactive proposals, in different formats such as video, installation and painting, among others, counting on the visit of neighbors in the sector together with the general public and artists ; creative experimentation exercises, where different artistic fields and languages ​​meet; visits to various municipalities in the Los Ríos region and workshops led by highly experienced artists, such as the one held by the Spanish artist and researcher María Ruido entitled “Construction of memories and archives in the time of neoliberal capitalism”, who also presented her new audiovisual material called “The rules of the game”.

Thus, we could approach “Los Ríos: visual territory” to describe it as an artistic residency in the deep south belonging to Valdivia and the Los Ríos region, where factors related to art education and knowledge transfer stand out. .

There Elisa Figueroa-Leigh, one of the directors of Galería Barrios Bajos together with Kütral Huaiquimilla, points out that “the experiences of horizontal exchange between artists who already consider themselves as such and students are of great value for everyone, since it is an opportunity for students to do hears the impressions of those who are regularly engaged in artistic practice and invites artists to refresh their concerns and tackle new questions… and remember that, regardless of our trajectory, we are all in constant training”.

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