Hot! Contemporary art from Chile

Mónica Bengoa

Monica Bengoa - contemporary Latin American art from Chile

Frequently combining the immediacy of photographic image with the labour-intensivity of traditional crafts and handiwork, Mónica Bengoa confounds expectations associated with both disciplines.

Her four murals for the installation algunos aspectos del color en general y del rojo y negro en particular (some aspects of color in general and red and black in particular, 2007, left) consist, for example, of thousands of dyed thistles used to create vastly enlarged, close-up images of insects.

Monica Bengoa

The site-specific work Chateau de Tours, France (2007, left) is far more intimate in scale.

Consisting of tiny, framed embroideries on photographic transfers, each piece is designed to mimic the surface over which it is hung, provoking an interplay between hidden reality, photographic veracity and the trompe l'oeil effects of intricately embroidered scratches, grouting and stonework.

Dialogue between the seen and unseen is also a feature of Box in a Valise (2010, below), a large, intricately pierced length of deep-red felt.

Hung or draped like a mural, the piece acts as an instant abstraction, simultaneously masking yet partially revealing the surfaces over which it is placed.

Monica Bengoa - contemporary artists from Chile


Ignacio Gumucio

Contemporary art from Chile - Ignacio Gumucio

Chilean painter Ignacio Gumucio is well-known in his home country, but far less so abroad - a pity, because his works are both accomplished and compelling.

Regarding his own practice as "a space for negotiation between the anecdotal and the abstract" ("un campo de negociación entre lo anecdótico y lo abstracto"), Gumucio is clearly more concerned with the formal qualities of painting than any underlying agenda or message.

More decorative in essence, then, than the pithier production of many of his compatriots, his architecturally-tinged compositions are nevertheless chacterised by an earnestness and sobriety that moves far beyond mere gesture.

And while various borrowings and stylistic allegiances can, inevitably, be located in his work, there's a singularity to Gumucio's dourly level-headed style that becomes increasingly more enticing.

Ignacio Gumucio: contemporary South American painting
Ignacio Gumucio: contemporary Latin American painting

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