Broadway 1602

Manuela Viera Gallo

05 - 30 Apr 2007

Free Fall

Opening Reception, Saturday, April 7, 3-6 PM

“Chile is a small country traumatized by a long dictatorship with an island mentality and powerful natural barriers: a high mountain range blocks us off the East while the country ends with the Pacific in the West.”
(Catalina Mena)

Born in Rome, Italy, in 1977 where her family lived in exile, MANUELA VIERA GALLO came back to Santiago Chile in 1984 when the military regime was strong in power.

„The armed fraction of the Communist party (Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez) were preparing an (unsuccessful) assault to kill Pinochet and the situation was tense. I had mixed feelings because Italy was my childhood country and my parents were political figures. They were still frightened but happy to come back to their country, even though Pinochet was still in power.“ (MVG)

In 1989 Chile had its first democratic election since the putsch and a coalition of center left wing formed the government.

„It was a slow and complex transition process where Pinochet and the conservatives still had a lot of control over the country. I finished high school in a liberal English institution. When the dictatorship ended, it felt like a great time, where Chile was changing, and all the young people stormed the streets and a
cultural breach was possible. Then I studied art in college, and all the critics and curators called us the ‚post-dictatorship generation from 2000‘. We were the first
generation with internet access, digital art and multi-media languages, and the feeling of a future, of globalization, of ‚looking over the mountain‘. But we also did not forget the recent past and quite some of us refer to it in our works and theorization.“ (MVG)

Manuela Viera Gallo’s recent video works Caida Libre (Free Fall 2006) and Unfinished Business (2006) are uncannily aestheticized images of destruction.

„UNFINISHED BUSINESS was made for a show called „Contragolpe“ (back strike) for the anniversary of the failed assault to kill Pinochet. I also made it coincidentally the year Pinochet died, in 2006. The video is an expression of the latest feeling of the Chilean public about the dictator’s immunity and the victims’ impotency until he died. It is a domestic action, a somehow raw but essential revenge to his portrait that where everywhere as an official representation during the times of fake glory of his regime. The Clorox, a suitable cleaning appliance, dissolves portraits downloaded from the website of Pinochet’s still current foundation. It also works reversing the photographic concept of emulsion, where the image appears, making the picture actually disappear.“ (MVG)

„In the tense convergence of Socialism and Neo-Liberalism in Chile, both programs failed in vast areas of their purpose. The decline and destruction of symbols in FREE FALL contain all the concrete falls, from the last decades until today, where systems still prove to be weak or too isolated. (Paz Aburto)
The symbols fall in a cadence again and again, as stubborn as the recurrence of ideologies, revealing that there are no other new replacements coming or falling, but only the same fragile traditional icons that shape our society which is shown in the video as an empty, vast and cold environment, dispersed by the ruins of past ideological icons. The ambient music is a key element that creates an alienated feeling of monotone, almost soothing decay.“ (MVG)

Tags: Manuela Viera-Gallo