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IGNACIO GATICA: STONES ABOVE DIAMONDS

Chilean artist Ignacio Gatica’s investigations focus on the parallel economic restructuring in the United States and Chile. Gatica’s generation is a product of a major political shift, in which the Chilean socialist government was overthrown by a US-backed coup, after which a group of Chilean economists were flown to Chicago to learn about neoliberal economic models. Funded by the CIA, they then brought these ideologies back to Chile, in a move that Milton Freeman called the ‘Chilean miracle.’ The experience of growing up in the aftershocks of this rupture, followed by his move to the US, informs Gatica’s understanding of the social landscapes he examines.

Gatica began this new body of work in the winter of 2020 when he traveled to Chile to renew his US visa. As the early stages of the pandemic set in, Gatica waited and watched as banks began to board up their facades. This was in the context of Chilean protests initiated by the increasing of subway fares in 2019. He photographed the banks, eventually amassing hundreds of images. When he returned to the US, Gatica found resonance in the shuttered shops of New York’s SoHo district, and documented this temporary architecture, as well. Gatica later printed his photographs onto ‘credit cards’ with magnetic strips that, when swiped, transcribe phrases written by unknown citizens on public walls near each site.

Installation view of the exhibition “Stones above diamonds”, by Ignacio Gatica, at Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery
Installation view of the exhibition “Stones above diamonds”, by Ignacio Gatica, at Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery
Installation view of the exhibition “Stones above diamonds”, by Ignacio Gatica, at Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery

This interactive project centralizes the credit card as an object that builds ideologies attached to market nihilism. Gatica repurposes the swipe gesture into emancipatory action, creating a channel to the voices of local people, and pointing to the precarious nature of the value systems that objects are entangled in. In the face of boarded up banks and empty SoHo storefronts, the credit card became an artifact of a cyclically failing system of relations. Through this work, Gatica positions capital as dysfunctional and abstract, and community voices—both through language and at large—as enduring.

Ignacio Gatica (born 1988, Santiago, Chile) works in installation, sculpture, video, and text to question the systems of knowledge that configure personal experience in the urban and historical context. Concerned from an analytical standpoint with the experience of urban living, Gatica’s work modifies the elements that construct these socio-political spaces, merging data, materials, and theoretical frameworks to reconfigure particular views, making unexpected connections.

Installation view of the exhibition “Stones above diamonds”, by Ignacio Gatica, at Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery
Installation view of the exhibition “Stones above diamonds”, by Ignacio Gatica, at Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and the gallery

Gatica received his BFA at Finis Terrae University in Santiago, Chile, and has exhibited internationally at Interstate Projects, New York (2019); Fundación Marso, Mexico City (2019); Jeffrey Deitch, New York (2018); Museo del Barrio, New York (2018); Gallería Die Ecke, Santiago (2017, 2014); Fondation Hippocrène, Paris (2017); Casa Nova Arte e Cultura Contemporânea, Sao Paulo (2016); among others. Gatica currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA.


Ignacio Gatica’s Stones Above Diamonds will be on view through November 6, 2021 at Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada

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