It may have been Nicanor Parra (1914–2018) who introduced an “objectual alternative” to Chilean poetry with his so-called “trabajos prácticos” [practical works]. In fact, whatever relationships Chilean experimental poetry has created have almost always been with visual arts, specifically in the field of collage, the use of written quotes, and poetic action.
According to Justo Pastor Mellado (b. 1949), the objectual tradition has taken root in the visual arts discipline rather than in literature. For that very reason Parra’s work is twice as valuable because it introduced what had, until then, been an “absent niche” in Chilean poetry.
All of the above helps to reconstruct a genealogical history of both the poetry and the visual arts in Chile, above all with respect to objectual practices, whose archeology leads us back to the member of the La Mandrágora group, Jorge Cáceres. Indeed, Cáceres was already exhibiting some of his objects at Soirée Surrealista, an exhibition held in Santiago in 1943. Pastor Mellado also documents the objectual aspect of the visual work created by Juan Luis Martínez and Cecilia Vicuña in the mid-1960s. He thus shows that the objectual work produced in Chilean literary circles was different from what appeared in the mid-1970s, particularly as regards the visual arts produced by Juan Pablo Langlois and Gonzalo Díaz.
[For other texts written by Parra, see the following in the ICAA digital archive: “Artefactos” (753705); “Chistes parra (para) desorientar a la policía (poesía)” (753714); and “El quebrantahuesos” (752517)].
[For more information about anti-poetry, see “Nicanor Parra: La escritura antipoética” (753723); “Poemas concretos” (753749); “El proyecto del texto absoluto en la antipoesía” (753760) by Iván Carrasco M.; and “Del vanguardismo a la antipoesía” (753734), written by Federico Schopf].