FRANCISCO NAVARRETE SITJA (CL, 1987)
Residency period: July-September 2019
This artistic project addresses one of the most provocative notions in the configuration of socio-territorial imaginaries which is the duplication of landscape scenarios in Chile, i.e. the concept of “the Chilean Switzerland” or “the Switzerland of Chile”.
This denomination was used to redefine the Araucanian territory (Araucanian jungle), as well as to highlight the territory’s frontier and to hide the Mapuche culture in the lake district. The denomination – articulated by the self-serving Chilean State – redefined the region as well as its collective memory.
The concept was based on the notion of “pristine nature”, although “civilised” and “modern”, that was propagated through diverse graphic and literary representations. In this sense, with this “Swiss landscape” homologation of the lakes and mountains in the south of Chile, I wondered what the impact of this denomination was and how it contributed to “nationalise nature” in the national imaginary and “naturalise the idea of nation” in a Europeanising perspective.
Combining fieldwork with moving image, graphics and sounds, I was able to explore and experience the alpine landscape. In this regard, I worked with Lake Geneva’s materials (driftwood, water reflections, extracted rocks, fog and clouds), exploring these non-human elements which coexist and which offered me other possible narratives and bifurcations to reflect on the stereotyping of landscapes and the analogy of Chile’s geography with Switzerland’s.
After obtaining his Bachelor of Arts and Master in Visual Arts from the University of Chile, Francisco Navarrete Sitja started to exhibit individually or collectively his work in many countries. The artistic practice of Navarrete reflects on the contemplation, temporality and subjectivity of the image and representation of the territory. Hence-superimposing reality and fiction, the material and immaterial, the local and global- he speculates on certain narratives associated with the construction and performativity of the landscape view; interpellates the symbolic dimension of certain material expressions of certain contexts as enabling new horizons of meaning; and addresses various technical devices as configurators of our way of seeing, understanding and situating in the world.