The National Council of Culture and Arts Chile has announced that Bernardo Oyarzún has been selected to represent the country at the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26, 2017. Ticio Escobar, founder and director of Museo del Barro, will curate the pavilion.
Born in 1963 in the southern province of Los Muermos, Chile, the Santiago-based artist often examines Chilean culture through an anthropological, social, historical, and ethnical lens. Titled “Werken,” Oyarzún’s exhibition will feature an installation of more than fifteen hundred ceremonial masks made by the indigenous Mapuche peoples and red LED lights displaying 6,907 Mapuche surnames.
Minister of culture Ernesto Ottone said, “We are extremely happy with the decision made by the jury. I have admired the work of Bernardo Oyarzún for many years and am very excited about this project. Oyarzún explores the relationship between contemporary art and indigenous peoples, and I think this project will offer an important insight into the subject.”
The project was chosen from a pool of twenty proposals by a jury including Cuachtémoc Medina, chief curator at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo;
Ivo Mesquita, curator of the Twenty-Eighth São Paulo Biennale; Monica Bengoa, Chilean artist and academic; Gonzalo Díaz, Chilean artist and academic; Nelly Richard, curator of the Chilean Pavilion at the Fifty-Fifth Venice Biennale; Emilio Lamarca, the diplomat who spearheaded the first pavilion for Chile at the Venice Biennale; and Gaspar Galáz, artist, academic, and theorist.