Press Release


FEBRUARY 25 - JULY 26 2020

Curator: Christián Viveros-Fauné

From February 25 to July 26 of 2020, Madrid’s Sala Alcalá 31 will present Gran Sur: Chilean Contemporary Art From the Engel Collection, a selection of artworks from the Engel Collection, one of the most complete private collections of contemporary art from Chile. Organized by Christian Viveros-Fauné, Curator-at-large at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Gran Sur presents eighty-nine works created by thirty-six of Chile’s most important contemporary artists, based in cities such as Santiago, London, Madrid, Barcelona, New York, and Los Angeles. Opening during the week of Madrid’s ARCO art fair, the exhibition represents the largest and most comprehensive survey of contemporary Chilean art seen outside of that South American country in decades.

The artworks that make up Gran Sur display a fundamental commitment to formal experimentation as well as thematic exploration; a dedication to conceptual analysis along with a thoroughgoing investigation of some of the most important issues of our time.Gran Sur showcases a number of influential works that have debuted at major international biennials, such as Venice, Sao Paulo and Havana. Among the exhibition’s more emblematic artworks are NO+ (1983-present), To Not to Die of Hunger in Art (1979) and ¡Ay Sudamérica! (1981), by the group Colectivo de Acciones de Arte (C.A.D.A.); Juan Downey’s legendary video The Laughing Alligator (1979), which he filmed in the Venezuelan Amazon; Paz Errázuriz’s photographic series Adam’s Apple (1982-1987) and Heart Attack of the Soul (1992-1994); Alfredo Jaar’s A Logo for America (1987); Patrick Hamilton’s Santiago Derivé Project (2006-2008); Voluspa Jarpa’s The Garden of Delights (1995); and Fernando Prats’s Gran Sur (2011), which lends its title to the exhibition and was first displayed at the 54th Venice Biennale. Along with the work of these and other established and mid-career artists, Gran Sur will also include the work of notable younger creators such as Pilar Quinteros, Rodrigo Valenzuela, and Francisco Rodríguez.

Gran Sur brings together painting, sculpture, photography, installation, video, textile works and works on paper, along with hybrid projects and multidisciplinary presentations. Inspired by the idea that Chile has served as a social laboratory for the global North from the 1960s until today, the exhibition explores themes such as the origins of the information revolution, political repression and its impact on the social body, the legacy of authoritarianism, the effects of neoliberal economics, the local impact of the global culture industry, and the challenges brought about by new modes of communication and representation.

Taking partial stock of an evolving social revolt that began in October of 2019 in Chile, Gran Sur presents a story of Chilean art and a history of Chile that are far from finished. Nevertheless, Gran Surproposes one possible example of how to assemble a nationally-minded exhibition during an era characterized by xenophobia, chauvinism and bigotry—that is, chiefly, by emphasizing cultural difference and artistic diversity as, paradoxically, both points of excellence and unity.

Additionally, Gran Sur takes the form of a XX-page exhibition catalogue, to be published in February of 2020. The catalog includes essays by Christian Viveros-Fauné and Spanish critic and curator Juan José Santos.

Exhibition artists
Elías Adasme, Francisca Aninat, Natalia Babarovic, Mónica Bengoa, Francisca Benítez, Adolfo Bimer, C.A.D.A. (Colectivo Acciones de Arte), Cristóbal Cea, Magdalena Correa, Juan Downey, Arturo Duclos, Andrés Durán, Paz Errázuriz, Gianfranco Foschino, Nicolás Franco, Catalina González, Josefina Guilisasti, Patrick Hamilton, Hoffmann's House (José Pablo Díaz y Rodrigo Vergara), Alfredo Jaar, Voluspa Jarpa, Juan Pablo Langlois, Felipe Mujica, Museo de Historia Natural Río Seco, Iván Navarro, Mario Navarro, Álvaro Oyarzún, Fernando Prats, Alejandra Prieto, Pilar Quinteros, Camila Ramírez, Enrique Ramírez, Francisco Rodríguez, Lotty Rosenfeld, Jorge Tacla, Rodrigo Valenzuela y Camilo Yáñez.

Engel Collection
An initiative of Claudio Engel and his children Lucas, Nicolás, Benjamín, and Francisca, the Engel Collection aims to create a world-class collection and museum to donate to Chile and the global community. Consequently, the Engel Collection has established itself as one of the most important private collections of contemporary art in that country. The Collection currently consists of more than eight hundred works of art created by over a hundred artists in different media—among them, painting, sculpture, video art, photography, large-scale installation and performance—produced largely between 1975 and today.

Christian Viveros-Fauné
Christian Viveros-Fauné is Curator-at-large at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum as well as writer and critic. Based in New York, he has curated numerous exhibitions at various international museums, among them the Pérez Art Museum Miami (Miami), the Bronx Museum of the Arts (New York), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima (Lima), the National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin), the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (Canary Islands) and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Santiago de Chile). He has written extensively about art and culture for publications around the world. His most recent books are Greatest Hits II: Arte en Nueva York, 2001-2015 (CENDEAC, 2018) and Social Forms: A Short History of Political Art (David Zwirner Books, 2018).

Alcalá 31
The Comunidad de Madrid’s Sala Alcalá 31 is a point of reference for the visual arts that retains a fundamental focus on the diversity that characterizes the art of today. The institution specializes in solo and group shows by mid-career Spanish artists and in surveys of established artists whose careers have recently been overlooked. Sala Alcalá 31 has also played host to major art collections from Latin America, such as the Collection of the Banco de la Republica de Colombia, Peru’s Hochschild Collection and the collection of Madrid’s CA2M or Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo.
Fundación Engel © 2020

Fundación Engel © 2020