Michelle-Marie Letelier in ‘Magic Block
Contemporary Art from Chile’


17th Jan – 2nd Mar 2014

Magic Block seeks to explore these relations, specifically highlighting artists working in Chile over the last 35 years. The example of Chile offers a compelling view onto the power plays of visibility and disappearance. The dictatorship of Pinochet, from 1973 to 1989, brought forward a difficult structure under which many artists struggled. And even now, in recalling its current traces. In doing so, questions of what was permissible or not lent to experimental approaches, and often the issue of what can be shown, and how or what can be seen, provided a challenging backdrop to the arts. This led to performative, ephemeral and conceptual approaches, inspiring artists to work directly in public space, while also turning inward to the experiences of private life, to gauge the politics of silence and silencing.


Examining these methods and histories, the exhibition focuses on aspects of magic, the phantasmic and the imaginary, drawing these out through works that often search for ways around the weight of history and its forgetting. Currently, these issues have led to an incessant revisit by artists onto historical matters, often relating these to individual memories, or those still not fully recalled or recovered. Explored through a constellation of issues that span from the unperceived and the missing, the life of the secret and the hidden, or towards their fantasy presence, and the impossibility to fully grasp or tell, currents in contemporary Chilean art may be appreciated as pointing toward new forms of poetic and political agency.


Michelle-Marie Letelier will be showing a piece titled ‘The Prediction of Tarapacá’. ”Possibly the biggest and oldest anthropomorphic geoglyph in the world, The Giant of Tarapacá is an approx. 115m-high human figure created on the west slope of an isolated hill in the middle of the Atacama Desert, in Chile. The exact origin and representation of this creation is still unknown, but it is believed to be Tunupa, an ancient deity known for arranging the upper and lower worlds and to have power to fertilize the arid land. It is also estimated to be an early astronomical calendar that indicated the rainy seasons.

In one way or the other, this figure—as all of the many Andean geoglyphs—was created to sacralise the landscape on which caravan rituality took place, from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, before the European invasion.

Situated in a land where copper exploitation stemmed since before the influence of the Incan empire, the figure of the Giant of Tarapacá will be honoured here by using its geometric paths to carry a burst of electricity generated by a solar-engine circuit. By placing a compass in its hand, the circuit, when triggered will slightly and momentarily deviate the magnetic field of the compass. Copper will be then orchestrating a re-enacted rituality in time and space.”

For more info, please visit Stiftelsen 3,14 Bergen, Norway