Pablo Ferrer at Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI UC)

The first thing we see upon entering Pablo Ferrer’s exhibition of paintings “Repetitions” is a text by the artist in which he reflects on the value of repetition as reiteration and rehearsal. What follows are an assortment of the same scenes depicted in different formats with only small variations. And yet, even when you look multiple times at very similar images, it’s never quite clear what has transpired; instead, the artist immerses his viewers in a distinctively suburban interplay of memory and mystery.

Ferrer’s paintings are figurative but not naturalistic. Shadows seep into the light, and faces are never detailed enough to be recognized. The most intriguing tableaux include a figure falling from a tree; people staring down into a hole, the contents of which we cannot see; a man threatening another with a brick; and vacant lots and streets where the pouring rain clues us in to the winter setting. Taken together, the daily life of a typical middle-class neighborhood in Santiago appears to have been disturbed by some kind of criminal act: Did the brick find a victim, and is the hole meant for burying the body? Is the falling man a horrified witness? Will those hibernal landscapes be affected by what has transpired, or will they remain cold and passive? Perhaps there is no mystery here, and all of this is nothing more than an excuse to exhibit Ferrer’s skill. In one of the larger paintings, the artist is depicted fleeing the scene, bathed in a light that threatens to dissolve him.

Translated from Spanish by Michele Faguet.

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