The Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen is presenting two exhibitions in two different venues in Santiago.
My first encounter with her art was seeing “Traces”, featured on one of the staircases at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. Here through the display of garments discarded by anonymous people, she redefines this space. “Traces” consists of more than eight hundred and fifty second-hand men’s jackets which belonged mainly to anonymous men, connected by thin ropes and covering one of the two large outdoor staircases leading to the grand esplanade of the MMHR.
“Traces” attempts to leave a trace that will inevitably disappear and immediately carries us back to the past and reminds us of the events that took place during the military dictatorship. It was a very good way to remind us that what this museum commemorates does get lost and forgotten in as time goes on.
The second exhibition named “Dialogues” I encountered while visiting the National Museum of Fine Arts. This is one of the main centers of visual arts in Chile and hold works of art from various time periods starting with the colonial Era. This beautiful museum lies in Park Forestal right next to the river.
The second art work by Kaarina Kaikkonen “Dialogues” is the first thing I saw when I entered this museum. It featured close to two thousand shirts and blouses that cascade down from the edges of the high walls under the cupola of the NMFA to the floor of the Central Hall. I was quite glad that I caught this exhibition as “Dialogues” was on exhibit only until May 26, 2013. This shirt exhibit fascinated me and it was hard to take my eyes off it. As the shirt ascend towards the cupola, their color becomes lighter and reaches pastel tones at the top. According to the artist this color shift emphasizes the perception of roundness of the structure created by the garments, intensifying the impression of its being an inverted cupola. I ascended to the second story of the museum and got to walk through the tunnel that these hanging shirts create.
This exhibit was impressive but did not make the other exhibits in the museum less so. My favourite exhibit was the engravings of the artist Loro Coiron. Wood engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The artist then uses relief printing, where he applies ink to the face of the block and prints onto paper using relatively low pressure.
Loro Coiron is a Frenchman who has lived in Valparaíso for the last 16 years now, uses this exquisite city as the subject for most of his print work. The scenes portray the marketplaces, bars and streets of Valparaíso. Each piece depicts the local community and daily life of this port city in incredible details.
As part of this lovely exhibit they had a film on which I could actually watch the artist create one of these art works. It was very interesting to watch how he carved out the images and how they ended up as the printed artwork that was exhibited here.
I ended up purchasing a couple of postcards of these prints in the hope to frame them someday!