This article appeared in the catalogue for SEMI YA [a phonetic pun on the Spanish word for ‘seed’], the exhibition of works by the Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948) that was held at the Galería Gabriela Mistral from March 14 to April 12, 2000. Vicuña worked in several fields, including poetry, painting, installation, performance, and textiles. She was also involved in political and feminist activism. The Galería Gabriela Mistral was located in downtown Santiago. It launched its season for the year 2000 with this exhibition, which had traveled abroad and was incomplete during this showing in Chile. The Galería Gabriela Mistral version consisted of two spaces. One was a day room arranged as a lab devoted to the study and observation of seeds. In the adjoining room was hung a textile installation made of very fine threads interwoven with seeds: the “quipu semi yo.” The fabric, which viewers could, to some extent, examine and pass through, was too fragile. This installation was created several years earlier, using seeds that Vicuña had collected. On this occasion, the process had run its course and the seeds were decomposing and disintegrating, thereby creating an authentic “living work of art.”
Justo Pastor Mellado (b. 1949) is an independent curator and art critic. He has held the position of director of the Escuela de Arte de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Escuela de Artes Visuales y Fotografía de la Universidad UNIACC. He has authored a number of texts, essays, and monographs, including the following books: La novela chilena del grabado [The Chilean Printmaking Novel] (1998), Textos estratégicos [Strategic Texts] (2001), Textos de batalla [Battle Texts] (2009), and Escritura Funcionaria [Functionary Writing] (2013).