Critics’ Picks

View of “Los Hiperbóreos.”

View of “Los Hiperbóreos.”


León & Cociña

Centro Cultural Matucana
Matucana 100
November 16, 2022–January 22, 2023

Inside M100, fifteen large paintings cover the walls like fantasy movie posters, each featuring a mixed cast of actors and puppets. When seen together, these images suggest an experimental screenplay blurring the lines between reality and fiction. They set the stage for “Los Hiperbóreos” (The Hyperboreans, 2022-), the most recent film-shoot-as-exhibition by the artist duo León & Cociña. The title nods to the mythical peoples whom the ancient Greeks imagined living beyond the reaches of Boreas, the North Wind. In keeping with the mystery of these unknown lands, the artists have transformed the gallery space into a film set where everything is in grayscale. The props are aggressively handmade; the artists painted the walls, sculpted stalactites out of cardboard, and made “snow” from a mix of salt and shiny materials. Within this landscape of possibility, the scenography is the true substance, a means of animating what otherwise has no life.

Once inside the exhibition, the spectator is incorporated into the ongoing performative shooting of the film that will eventually be Los Hiperbóreos. Spoiler alert: During my visit, I watched the main actress, dressed as a police officer, trying to solve a mystery. Suddenly, she disappeared from her office and reappeared with her computer in a snowy landscape, while flying saucers branded with Nazi symbols darkened the horizon. Through these vivid gestures, León & Cociña reimagine the past to reach beyond a terra cognita, reclaiming both the political potential of science fiction and the craft of cinema itself.