Claudio Pérez

Claudio Pérez
Claudio Pérez 3

Claudio Pérez has deployed documentary photography in a variety of ways, in the struggle against the violent military dictatorship of Chile. Following the fall of Augusto Pinochet, Pérez photographed Security Police and Military Police holding cells, where political prisoners had been interned and tortured – many of them ultimately losing their lives. By documenting the existence of those places before their use was changed, he also salvaged the messages written on the cells' walls, which often amounted to a desperate attempt to communicate.

He then started collecting photographs of missing persons, assisted by state archives, organizations and the missing persons' families. They were often formal ID photos or depicted carefree moments from their everyday and family life. His research produced an archive containing 967 photos out of a total of 1,197 missing persons. The portraits are presented in the exhibition behind a curtain, acting as a spectral suspension, as a poignant symbolism of the defectiveness of memory, given that the clarity of the form depends –both literally and metaphorically– on the viewing distance. At a later stage, Pérez printed the portraits on sensitized ceramic tiles, which were then attached to the side of the Bulnés bridge in southern Santiago, the site of execution of 20 citizens between September and October 1973. This resulted in the permanent installation The Wall of Memory (2001), implemented with the support of Chile's Ministry of Culture. Here, the bridge, being a structure meant to link two previously inaccessible parts, symbolically connects the past with the present, the question mark of life with the irreversibility of death. The installation also raises questions concerning the nature of photography and the extent in which it ultimately depends on each specific use and context.

The photographer, in service of his work, acts here as a researcher and curator, structuring himself the painful archive he is working on, focused on Chile's contemporary political history. This permanent installation in public space acts as an open invitation –especially at a time when extreme political factions are again making gains in societies and parliaments– to resist oblivion and actively seek to restore the cracks in democracy.

Hercules Papaioannou

12|10|2019 - 16|02|2020
Tue-Wed-Thu-Sat-Sun 11:00–19:00, Fri 11:00–22:00 Monday closed
2€ full admission. Available reduced admission. Admission free for certain groups with a valid ID.


Funding Authority

ΕΣΠΑ 2014-2020

Organising Institution