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Claudia del Fierro
From September 6th 2008 to October 11th 2008
Exposition solo

Documenting actions carried out in public spaces, the videos that Claudia del Fierro is presenting at OPTICA might first seem to recall the video work done in Quebec in the 1980s as they fudge the border line between fiction and documentary. Del Fierro favours live recording and places much less emphasis on touching up or aestheticizing the image. Social or feminist content is her main concern, imbuing all her work with a strong sense of commitment—and a touch of humour. Her videos combine visual and audio elements to delineate a social critique focusing on the climate of uncertainty, surveillance in public spaces, the vulnerability of existence, the status of women in Chile, class relationships, the media, and the role of the artist in society.

Identica (2000) is the candid illustration of an American-styled televised contest. Broadcast nationally, the contest and the fate of its winner cannot leave us unmoved. In a chaotic montage that suggests a fiction, del Fierro plays a secretary, the tragicomic heroine of the evening. This video casts a raw, unfiltered gaze on the media, especially on the stereotypes conveyed by the small screen’s Hollywoodian imitations.

Politicamente Correcto (2001) documents an action that was performed in an industrial neighbourhood of Santiago. Every day, for several weeks, del Fierro snuck into a textile factory when its many female workers were taking their break. On every visit, she wore a dress of the same colour as that worn by the workers. With little time for conversation, the women didn’t notice the artist’s presence. Imitating others’ dress code and infiltrating their space, del Fierro raises ethical and political questions on the role of the artist and the limits of art.

The gallery exhibition documenting the action includes both the video and the dresses worn by the artist. The dresses are stacked to form a column that reaches to the height of the average Chilean woman. This installation was presented at Santiago’s Museum of Contemporary Art some time after the artist’s action and the closing of the factory. This is the first time it is shown in its entirety outside Chile.

Del Fierro has since gone behind the camera to observe the environments and conditions of others: those of immigrants in The Sweet Promise (2006), and of people choosing to live in natural self-sufficiency in Wild Life (2008).
- Marie-Josée Lafortune

Works in the gallery:
Identica (2000) – DVD 3:57 min
Politicamente Correcto (2001) – DVD 3:15 min, dresses

Claudia del Fierro lives and works in Santiago, Chile, where she received a master’s in visual arts from the University of Chile. She has exhibited in Chile and participated in many exhibitions abroad—Göteborg (Sweden), Melbourne (Australia), Rotterdam (Netherlands), New York (U.S.)—, taking part in the Novena Bienal de Arte de la Habana, in Cuba, and the IV Bienal Mercosul, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In 2008, she was artist in residence at IASPIS, in Stockholm.