Art takes many forms and a positive appreciation of art is something that resides at a deep personal level within the observer. Most will admire the ability of the Great Masters to portray people, events and situations for generations to enjoy. But it is also clear that many forms of what has become to be classed as modern Art, with its more abstract roots, also touch an admiring audience.
The attraction of several of these modern art forms is that they can more easily be accessible to a much larger and appreciative audience through street exhibition. Two categories that are ideally suited to street exhibition are works of sculpture and of course the iconic street art of mural painting. As a capital city, Santiago embraces the exhibition of art forms for public enjoyment. A brisk walk through many neighbourhoods will reveal sculptures and/or murals aplenty.
The neighbourhood of Las Condes can be counted among those most appreciative of street displays of art and in particular the sculptures that can be found in many areas. One such collection can be seen in the shopping area called sub.centro which is a ‘below street level’ gallery of retail shops which in addition provide a pedestrian connection for Apoquindo street where it crosses the ring road of Avenida Americo Vespucio. Vehicular traffic crosses the ring road over a brightly-coloured bridge and pedestrians can cross under the busy street using the shopping gallery.
Its location as an exhibition site is further enhanced by the fact that it is also adjacent to the major transport hub of Metro Escuela Militar on Line 1. It is estimated that approximately 3 million travellers traverse the sub.centro each month. Since its inception in 2008, the sub.centro has featured a permanent exhibition of the works of the Chilean sculptor and painter Palolo Valdes. Not widely known outside Chile despite exhibits in several countries, Palolo Valdes is a prominent sculptor within Chile and his works have previously been gifted by the Chilean government to several visiting Heads of State and dignitaries, including the King of Spain.
The method used by Palolo Valdes in his works of sculpture is quite unique. In many of his pieces he constructs a metal frame which holds rock pieces in place to portray an overall form, such as a horse or bull, both of which are very characteristic of his work. In some cases he also embellishes the overall form with clay and a ceramic material. In the sub.centro there are over 20 pieces by Palolo Valdes on permanent display. They are located at different points throughout the two underground galleries with the largest cluster forming a fountain effect near the entrance to the Metro station and are free for harried commuters to enjoy.
There are several iconic pieces featuring recognisable animal forms but many of the pieces are from the artist’s theme ‘through the eyes of a child’ usually featuring life-like forms normally associated with the drawings of small children.
After admiring the diversity of the pieces by Palolo Valdes on display in the sub.centro, spend a little extra time to also appreciate some examples of the other street art available at this Escuela Militar traffic hub. The main supports of the multi-coloured bridge have been used as canvases for brightly painted abstract murals which, for the many over stressed commuters that use this transfer hub every day, must surely create a more uplifting alternative to the original grey concrete.
If you are not rushing from one place to another you can leisurely admire the works of sculpture and mural art in about one hour and it won’t cost you a peso.
Note: This story was accurate when published. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the sites in question.
Article written by Keith Singer, to learn more about Keith, read his bio!