biography/CV




A blank canvas can strike fear into an artist, its emptiness and sterility producing creative block, whereas a pre-existing surface or readymade already has a character or history, which can itself present new possibilities. Chilean artist Carlos Zuniga is a perfect example of someone who takes an existing object as a starting point to create something new and extraordinary. His materials are the pages of selected books and directories, which through a meticulous process of deletion are transformed into the remarkable portraits and landscapes that have become his signature style. Zuniga is trained architect and photographer and also worked in editorial and graphic design before finally settling on art. These multiple disciplines have naturally informed his aesthetic approach and, in case of his editorial experience, given him an insight into the practice of edition - the selection process that determines what is made public and what is omitted or suppressed. His early works have a political edge, reflecting the recent history of Chile, which after many years of dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet's regime has been coming to terms with those lost decades of repression and censorship. This is particularly apparent in his video artwork The Origin of Species (2006), which depicts a hand crossing out line by line, page by page, almost ritualistically, the text of Charles Darwin's iconic and once highly controversial book. The piece, which anticipates Zuniga's later work, is clear reference both political and intellectual freedom and its denial. The artist subsequently adapted the method of deleting texts to create pictorial images. The inspiration for his debut portrait series, Next (2007) - for which he created 135 portraits of young people from his town of Santiago de Chile - stemmed from sight of Chilean taking to streets following Pinochet's death: specifically, the families of those who had disappeared under the regime marching beneath a curtain of pictured of their loved ones. On a grid of pages taken from local telephone books, each portrait is revealed by systematically ruling out words, which creates a lifelike but broken effect. 'Using a pencil to cross out or correct our mistakes is a mechanism we all use,' the artists explains. 'It is a form of self-censorship that leaves a subconscious trail that is a gateway to our painful feelings.' The act of deleting names provides a stark visual reminder of censorship and missing victims of the regime. Zuniga continued to develop this method with a new series produced at a larger scale, featuring unnamed floating figures submerged under water. Its title, Detained in Apnea (2007), is a reference not only to the human condition leading to the temporary cessation of breathing, but also to the dictatorship's practice of disposing of bodies in the ocean. This project was followed by a series of large-scale portraits in colour on a grid of telephone directory pages (Beginning of the Aura, 2010), in which red, green and blue were used to cross out text instead of black. Recently Zuniga has also been drawn towards landscapes. For Imperial Poem (2010), he photographed the rugged scenery of the Falkland Islands as well as local people, using his technique of deleting lines on a grid of Buenos Aires phonebook pages to reinterpret the results: the landscapes take on a new textural quality, the lines emulating scratches and cross-hatching on the rocks, sea and other surfaces. While there is no direct reference to Falkland war, something in the starkness of the images, and the process of erasing names of people to create them, evokes memories of those lost on both sides of the conflict. CV CARLOS ZUNIGA ANDRIGHETTI Chile, 1972, Lives in works in Barcelona, Spain. EDUCATION 2003-06 FINE ARTS, Universidad de Chile. 1993-96 DESIGN, Instituto Profesional de Providencia. 1991-92 ARCHITECTURE, Universidad Nacional Andres Bello. SOLO SHOW 2010 - Edel Assanti Gallery, London, UK, Imperial Poem. - Galeria AMS Marlborough, Santiago, Chile, Beginning of the Aura. 2008 - Galeria Florencia Loewenthal, Santiago, Chile, Detained in Apnea. GROUP SHOW / ART FAIR 2014 - Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK, Artist Selected John Moores Painting Prize. 2012 - Shizaru, London, UK, This is London. 2011 - Pinta Art Fair, London, UK. - Feria de Arte Chaco, Santiago, Chile. - Galeria XS, Santiago, Chile, Colectiva 1. - Edel Assanti Gallery, London, UK, = 1. 2010 - Azerty Gallery, Paris, France, Replica. - Feria de Arte Chaco, Santiago, Chile. 2009 - Sala de Arte CCU, Santiago, Chile, Clasico Universitario. - Feria de Arte Chaco, Santiago, Chile. - Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile, Young Artist Show 2009. 2008 - The Brick Lane Gallery, London, UK, Free For Wall! part 2. - Fundacion Corpartes, Santiago, Brief overview of Contemporary Art in Chile. - Santiago de Museo Queretaro, Queretaro, Mexico, Full Image. 2007 - Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago, MAVI, Chile, Bicentenary Young Artist Show. - Galeria Balmaceda, Santiago, Chile, Next. 2006 - Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile, Young Artist Show 2006. GRANTS & AWARDS 2007 - Grant Fondart, Ministry of Culture, Government of Chile. - Bicentenary Young Artist Exhibition Prize, MAVI, Santiago, Chile. PERMANENT COLLECTIONS Minera Escondida BHP Billiton Compania de Cervecerias Unidas CCU