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Alfredo Jaar (Santiago, February 5, 1956) is a Chilean visual artist based in New York, famous mainly for his installations in which he combines elements of photography, architecture and theater He obtained the National Prize of Plastic Arts of Chile in 2013.
Born in a family of doctors, Jaar studied filmmaking at the Instituto Chileno Norteamericano de Cultura in 1979, and architecture at the University of Chile, until 1981. In this period he began his plastic production and became known in the circuit Chilean art with works such as Studies on happiness (1979-1981).
Jaar was not part of the artistic elite of Chile, led by the artists of the Advanced Scene. According to his own words, Estudios sobre la felicidad was a rejected work in the artistic milieu, and this rejection by his colleagues prompted him to leave the country; in 1982 he won the Fundación del Pacífico Scholarship and was able to leave for New York, “where he began to develop a solid and recognized international career”.
He achieved world fame by exhibiting at the 1986 Venice Biennial Gold in the Morning, a series of photographs he had taken the previous year on a visit to a deep gold mine in Serra Pelada, Brazil. Hard work shows the abyss between the underdeveloped world and emerging economies.
However, its most famous production is the series of works grouped in the Rwanda Project (1994-2000), which reflect on the genocide that took place in that Central African country in 1994 and the implications of a disaster like this one. in the field of representation.
One of his best-known works is La lamento de las imágenes, an installation with which he participates in documenta 11, consisting of a dark corridor where he initially installed three texts related to the administration of images, and end of the corridor a room with a screen that emits a white light.
His art of criticism has been exhibited in a large number of museums, including the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1994), the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1992) ), or the Art Room of the Fundación Telefónica in Santiago de Chile (2006), among many others.
In addition, he is recognized for intervening in public space: he has created more than 60 public interventions in large cities around the world, and in Luces en la ciudad (1999), a work based in Montreal, he connected about 100,000 watts of red lights installed in the dome of a building visible from much of that Canadian city to a switch installed in several hostels for homeless, where each person who entered and operated the switch turned on the lights for a few seconds. Another work of these characteristics is The Skoghall Konsthall (2000) in the city of Skoghall, in the Swedish province of Värmland; there he builds a paper museum and invites young local artists to exhibit, for 24 hours after the exhibition was inaugurated, to burn down the museum.
Based in New York, he has a workshop in the neighborhood of Chelsea, Manhattan, famous for its contemporary art galleries and artist studios.
He is the father of DJ Nicolas Jaar
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