Paintings by Pablo Jansan from Chile

Paintings by Pablo Jansan from Chile

Paintings by Pablo Jansan on the political-cultural and emotional history of Chile


Through his recent paintings, Pablo Jansana (1976) offers us a journey and a story of the last 30 years of the political-cultural and emotional history of Chile. Thus, through polyphonic visual grammars he recreates, with a complex method, a story full of characters that interact in a diffuse space and time, sometimes even ghostly, which enhances the novelistic character of his pictorial work.

We say this because it is precisely the construction of a fiction that largely motivates and drives the appearance of its images. Images that are otherwise discovered in a complexity of layers that the artist works on, painting and erasing several times, until the definitive image emerges, but which is never completely final.

This sum of layers undoubtedly densifies, on the one hand, the layers of materialities and the pictorial gesture and, on the other, the layers of time of what is narrated. They are images that present themselves as portals, as transitions from one time to another. Hence the semantic game with the transitory and with the transition as a political period of return to democracy in Chile.

His paintings reveal to us, in a subtle way, some of those events that erupted in the transition phase, but at the same time are observed with a certain suspicion. We are not referring to the political criticisms that we can make of an agreed and perhaps insufficient transition, but rather, to recovering some cultural aspects that allow us a certain critical distance from what happened.

An event is not in itself the creation of a reality; It is the creation of a possibility, of something that opens a possibility. Can we think of the fiction that Jansana invites us to as the possibility of something that disrupts a given situation? One of the aspects, in my opinion, richest and perhaps least obvious of Pablo Jansana's work, is related to the conceptual construction that gives way to the construction of his paintings.

Pablo is an artist who writes, therefore, the conceptual construction of his work begins with the construction of a story, a fiction. Thus, he defines characters, scenarios and tensions that intersect in a game of complex temporal spaces. Inspired by the way in which the Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz creates his fiction, Jansana ventures into a poetics that insists on the polysemic capacity of images to narrate.
His paintings exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Santiago have their origin in a permanent reflection on the language and narrative forms of cinema and novels, especially crime and crime novels, as well as his taste for experimentation with materials, surfaces and textures; In short, materialities and visualities that allow you to better tell the desired story.

These stories are reflected in a constellation of works related to violence, crimes and murders. Both colonial and political violence, perpetrated during the military dictatorship. In addition, works are presented that focus on the figure of the iceberg of Seville, which articulate an entire memory of the ice that is also the cultural and political memory of the transition, to finally focus on the idea of ​​transition itself, understood as the transit from one period to another, or from one time to another.

In this way, bordering on the biographical, his memories and his ability to fictionalize reality, he gives life to images that intertwine the aforementioned aspects and that are inscribed in a present that invites us to take leaps in time: to remember and rethink the past with elements of the present.

Jansana's paintings function as a round-trip portal that can bring together on the same plane, for example, a mural by Ramona Parra (which takes us to the effervescence of the 60s and a whole revolutionary project that was taking shape) with the events of the October 2019 uprising, as we see in his 2022 work Ramona.

Another example is Gabriela (2022), where the artist portrays the poet alongside the snakes Kai Kai and Treng Treng, which, in the Mapuche myth of creation, gave rise to the Earth. Both Gabriela Mistral and the snakes have a strong disruptive character, and in the work they are claimed as constitutive pillars of the layers of our national cultural imagination.

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