El Pueblo Unido (“the united people”), also the title of a famous Chilean protest song, starts in the Andes. The mountain range has stoically observed a history of suffering: colonialism, the abuses of dictatorships, civil wars, periods of political and state violence, violations of human rights. In 2019, however, Chile woke up; people took to the streets demanding dignity, justice and equality. The Andes become the symbol of a repressed but simultaneously dreamy and hopeful landscape
The key word for El Pueblo Unido is “fragmentation”. On the one hand, the work refers to a picture that the state showed off, of Chile as a stable country, while it was actually fragmented. On the other hand, the diversity of fragments represents the number of people fighting together to build a new identity for the country. The hundreds of post-it notes that make up the work are an everyday and inexpensive material, just like the subject they reproduce: a photo downloaded from the internet. The work is deconstructed with the passing of the days, the sticky notes come loose and fall, leaving empty and silent gaps that gradually disturb the visibility of the landscape.
Grandmother Exercise 1 & 2 is yet another example of Valderrama’s “photographic embodiments”. Her late grandmother is portrayed on post-it notes and on a linen cloth. The portraits help us to reflect on the fragility of memory and on the degenerative disease to which the grandmother fell victim.
Constanza Valderrama is a Chilean artist based in Patagonia. She was awarded a scholarship by Chile’s National Research Council that allowed her to take her master’s degree in photography at the Royal College of Art in London. Her work has been shown in the most prestigious galleries in the city.