Two months ago, a phone call from Grupo Patio organization to Sofía Edwards and Francisco Yavar, creators of 13 Jardines -platform that aims to bring contemporary art to new audiences-, put at their disposal a space of 500 square meter at Vitacura neighborhood of Santiago de Chile (Alonso de Córdova 3788). The proposal was simple: during three months Edwards and Yavar would have absolute freedom to make a cultural activation within the space. This gift produced a greater one: Patio de Luz Contemporary Art.

By Matías Helbig
Obras de Catalina Andonie, Iván Navarro y Coutney Smith, Benjamín Ossa y Hugo Leonello en Patio de Luz Arte Contemporáneo.

"There is a kind of solemnity that characterizes traditional spaces and institutions within the world of art," argues Francisco Yavar. In contrast to this, the itinerant space that was born three weeks ago in the Chilean capital aims to display local art production in a more intelligible and accessible way. Paintings, installations, sculptures, audiovisual pieces, photographs and every form of imaginable artistic expression coexist within the space called Patio de Luz. "We did not want to opt for the merely feasible route," explains Yavar, "we set out to explore the deepest possibilities that allow us to maximize the understanding of the artworks, not only within the reduced circuit of it, but bringing it closer to a historically distant audience. " Excluded, I would add.

Two key elements define the space conceived by the founders of 13 Jardines. On the one hand, the democratization of the room in terms of the representation of the artists. Works by figures with an international career such as Paula de Solminihac, German Tagle, Francisca Sánchez and Alejandro Quiroga coexist with works produced by more recent artists in the Chilean scene such as Paula Godoy, Magdalena Contreras, Fernando Peñaloza and Roció Guerrero Marin. This premise, in addition to producing a polyphony -both stylistic and technical as well as generational- and a new perspective regarding curatorial work, puts those who mark the path of contemporary art to those who will take that post over the next twenty, thirty or forty years.

On the other hand, Patio de Luz simulates through its eclectic furniture a timeless domestic space. The origin of the furniture, mainly produced at the beginning of the 20th century for family homes, contrasts brutally with the minimalist architecture of the place, which was originally destined to commercial exploitation. This initiative is based on the intention that Sofía Edwards and Francisco Yavar give to each one of their projects. "Putting historical heritage in dialogue with contemporary art enables the possibility of new readings. The history is read backwards. Already happened ", argues Yavar and adds:" Art allows, through its future will, to understand the past from new hypotheses. This time we left the heritage and the domestic thing, but we simulated it. " Those who remember Húsares Trágicos (Tragic Hussars), understand what Francisco is talking about.

From this perspective, Patio de Luz is introduced to the contemporary Chilean scene as an alternative to institutions that trace the usual circuit. A small but sharp annoyance that comes to question and transform the way in which artworks are sold and exhibited. An ambitious proposal very much of this century.

And under that discourse it also acts.

On March 7, more than twenty artists from all disciplines and sectors inaugurated and bet on this project. There are fifteen others who join next Saturday for the Nuevo Orden (New Order) initiative. "Artists bring a work. A collector or amateur is interested in it and buys it. That same day he takes it home under his arm. We must modify the space, re-occupy the place that this work occupied. That's what Nuevo Orden is all about, a day open to the public in which people become witnesses of new oeuvres entering the Patio. " Patio de Luz is a spiral in permanent construction, "is alive", says Francisco.



The corollary of all this is the parallel programming that gives coherence to the philosophy of Patio de Luz. Although this one develops spontaneously, in what it goes from its opening people of all the sectors have approached to converse with the public, legitimating and collaborating with the accomplishment of this young project. An example of this was the Naturalezas de lo público en el arte (Nature of the public in art) conference, held on Thursday, March 28. "The selection of the speakers was not arbitrary at all," explains Francisco. "Cecilia García-Huidobro, as Director of the Violeta Parra Museum decided to exhibit a graffiti by Vazko / Basco, a street artist; Sebastián Cuevas is the director of Otra Ciudad, an organization that reincorporates through the muralism and pop up parks those abandoned places in the city that nobody wants to see; finally, Carolina Tapia is a member of the Colectivo Cuneta, a group of artists that settles inside a neighborhood to know their problems and, later, develop solutions and works that contemplate these problems with the neighbors ". In this way, Patio de Luz Contemporary Art is composed as a hybrid organism. An androgynous body, between fair and gallery, between cultural center and laboratory.

Until June, Chile will witness this indefinable kind of art space. "When they tell us it's over, it's over and we'll start something else. This site is a corporate space and tomorrow it can be a fashion store or a restaurant. " Like everything that has life, Patio de Luz Contmporary Art will cease to exist, but it is the breath of its existence, that wake that leaves the fleeting, the change from wave to wind when it just can’t much more those few meters of beach* what really delivers to the contemporary scene.


* Arnaldo Calveyra, fragment of Letters so that happiness