artist / participant


press release

This project at MALBA is the first exhibition of work by Voluspa Jarpa (Rancagua, Chile, 1971) ever held in Argentina. The individuals portrayed in the project—a gallery of portraits—are victims of murders or of unsolved crimes; they are public figures who had held administrative posts in the public sector or in civic organizations in the region. The project makes use of the media of photography, paintings, sound, video, and installation.

The show formulates a contrast between the two historical situations implicit in these biographies: the portraits (the stills) of the person versus the brutal register of violent deaths (the paintings). The layout of the exhibition gives shape to a kind of historical chronology and regional genealogy. The images are accompanied by audio tracks of speeches by the individuals portrayed. Thus, the exhibition brings together utopian public speeches, on the one hand, and dystopian secret information about historical events contained in a set of declassified files, on the other.

The third component of the project is Translation Lessons, a multichannel video projected on five screens that reflects on the language barriers faced in attempting to gain access to the documentary material used for the project, much of which was produced by English-language intelligence agencies. This work considers the ideological and symbolic dimensions of the English language insofar as hegemonic.

The exhibition also questions North American Minimalism, opposing that movement’s austerity and formal asceticism with the political violence that took place at its height.


Voluspa Jarpa (Rancagua, Chile, 1971) studied under Gonzalo Díaz at the Universidad de Chile School of Art, receiving a master’s in the visual arts in 1996. His work addresses history and its representations, especially individual experiences and their relationship to public discourses. Solo shows of his work have been held at the Universidad Católica de Temuco, Chile; Sala Gasco Santiago, Chile; the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile; and the Maison de l'Amérique Latine, Paris, France. Recent group shows featuring his work include Desde Otro Sitio/Lugar, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; Escenario, Galería Pancho Fierro, Lima, Peru; Táctica, Sala de Exposición CCU, Santiago, Chile; Sin Título, Centro Cultural Matucana, Santiago, Chile; the VI Havana Biennial; the III Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil; the Shanghai Biennial, China; and the Istanbul Biennial. His work forms part of public and institutional collections such as the Colección Galería Gabriela Mistral del Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes de Chile; the Canvas International Art Collection in Amsterdam; the Haagse Hogeschool in the Hague; the Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI) in Santiago, Chile; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago, Chile.