This text was published in the catalogue for Museo Abierto, the exhibition curated by Nemesio Antúnez and organized by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) in Santiago. The title, an attempt to conceptualize the exhibition, sought to shed light on works that were created during the years prior to the return to democracy in 1990 and tended not to be shown in more traditional exhibition spaces such as the MNBA. In this section of the catalogue Gaspar Galaz, an art historian and teacher at the Universidad Católica de Chile, provides a brief overview of the years during which the country transitioned from the dictatorship back to democracy. Galaz’s main point addresses the shift in art production from a sociopolitical focus to one of greater introspection.
The first part of this dichotomy—focused on art spaces and artists’ subject matter—is extensively addressed in “Arte en Chile desde 1973. Escena de avanzada y sociedad” (Art in Chile since 1973. Advanced Scene and Society) by Nelly Richard (see ICAA digital archive 731905). The book describes the art and cultural realm that was affected by the coup d’état, which was obviously deeply concerned with the sociopolitical problems that were impacting their immediate reality. A key work in this context is the CADA group’s action titled Para no morir de hambre en el arte (To Avoid Starving to Death in Art, see the reference to this work in the text “No es una aldea” [It Is Not a Village], 731913).
During the transition period, major experimental works were created by Carlos Leppe, Eugenio Dittborn, Francisco Brugnoli, Juan Castillo, Lotty Rosenfeld, and Carlos Gallardo, among others. As regards the return to painting that happened in the mid-1980s, Galaz’s essay refers to Jorge Tacla, Bororo, Ismael Frigerio, and Samy Benmayor, among others. They were joined in the early 1990s by, among others, Gonzalo Cienfuegos, Patricio de la O, and Ernesto Barreda.