top of page

Red veil / silk cords / glass containers / oil

Cameras: Josefina Bardi / Eduardo Quitral /

Sebastian Mahaluf

Patricia Ready Gallery / Santiago / Chile

March-April 2020

Desplome (2020), despite being framed within the paradoxical ongoing critique of the artist/spectator role in Sebastián Mahaluf’s gallery works nonetheless shows us something new. In it, we see the possibly exceeded drama of the body, without the active or performatic presence of the artist. Desplome is an installation which, through the incorporation of new materials whose elemental features result in the idea of fragility. The artist has displayed a large format translucid red cloth in the manner of a net made of fine threads, displayed at the four extremes of the main hall of the gallery. The great weft hangs from the roof of the hall affixed by fine laces, relatively at the same height than the eyes of the spectators. But other materials are also incorporated. Hanging from various points of the great and fragile weft, we find approximately three hundred small glass recipients storing a viscous content. They hang a few centimeters from the ground. The spectators carefully wander around having to incline their heads in order to tour the work and pass through the different points in the hall the recipients mark, tensing downwards under the great and fragile weft with the weight of the viscous content. In fact, the spectator must incline even further if he wishes to scrutinize the jars. Given (1946-66) by Marcel Duchamp is a work that conditions the spectator to bow in order to peek through the peephole of a door and watch the piece in question. The modification of the bodily nature of the spectator conditioned by the piece is precisely one of the critical moments of the history of the spectator. Allan Kaprow on his part puts the spectator’s passivity into play in Yard (1961), turning the material piece, a large amount of old car tires scattered on the floor, into the irregular surface on which the spectators have to walk with great difficulty, turning into performers while they pass from one end to the other of the patio. Following that path, Mahaluf proposes a work that changes the passive attitude of the spectator. In fact, at a first moment we spectators interact with the great weft hung in the gallery grazing our heads during the tour of the work. There is also the difficulty of avoiding the small recipients hanging from all over the weft. Only as the spectator exits his passivity, he has the opportunity of scrutinizing the work, the recipients hanging close to the floor become quite important.

*Extract text from "From Social Art to the Ontology of Art" by Juan Francisco Garate

bottom of page