Serie El Jardín de las Delicias

In this series of paintings, the eriazos (wastelands) appear again, but not as protagonists, but as commentaries on the city and other themes: the monument, the hysteria of history and the mise-en-scène as a resource of painting. And other reflections derived from it, such as manuality and the imitation of mechanical procedures present in the reproduction of the images: the manualized four-color process.

These paintings arose from a desire for representation greater than what I could, up to that moment, suggest with the wastelands that rather bothered me, or bothered my desire for painting and representation, and were in a certain sense pictorially unrepresentable. This desire came from the work I did for the Rancagua Mural, installed in the Rancagua Railway Station in 1994.

In this work, the model and conceptual reference that threaded the different images that compose it, was the Freudian description of the discourse of hysteria. Specifically, Freud’s description of the mechanisms of hysteria, which was called “disease by representation”.

The idea of looking for this model came to me after seeing two old photographs of women with “hysterical attacks” from the late 19th century in a medical textbook. What seemed most important to me at the time was to
be able to articulate an image composed of several fragments of images taken from different places. The title of the series isbecause I selected these images without a previous assembly plan, they corresponded to an almost spontaneous selection of images that caught my attention or awakened my desire to work with them: they were images taken by the desire they produced in me.

The structure of the assemblage was to be found later in the Freudian explanation of hysteria, understood as a psychic structure that functions in an imaginary that suffers repression and then fragments the discourse of this repressed desire, making it “incomprehensible”, inverting parts, condensing others and finally, making it legible through bodily symptoms. It seemed to me then that the wasteland was a hysterical symptom, somatized in the city.

I was able to establish a link between the wasteland and the hero’s monument as two polarities of the city hysterized by a fantasy historical discourse. On the one hand there is no history, it was erased (the wasteland); on the other hand, there is an exalted, exacerbated, fantasized history (the monument). I found this urban situation in a specific place in the city, the Altar de la Patria, where the equestrian monument of O’Higgins is located and which, walking straight along the Bulnes pedestrian promenade, leads to a large wasteland, the same one I was painting before.

But not just any hero was suitable for this work, but the one I had previously worked with in the Rancagua Mural: the equestrian monument of Bernardo O’Higgins, alluding to the Rancagua Disaster, a Frenchified monument in an erectile pose that hides a defeat, a flight, and a massacre. The Salto de la Trinchera de Bernardo O’Higgins, located in the urban gesture of the city of Santiago, I am referring to the buildings located around Paseo Bulnes, on a platform called the Altar de la Patria, in front of La Moneda. One of the central images that make up the work El Jardín de las Delicias is this monument, opposing it to the idea of a wasteland.

But El Jardín de las Delicias was even more complex and intricate in its narrative. The idea of the presentation of the monument instead of the vedette comes from the image of the presentation of hysterical cases in the famous Salpetriére Hospital, where Freud first heard about the existence of hysteria at the end of the 19th century. Because of this, the other image used in the series is that of an open book where the photographs of women with hysterical arches appear. The book was painted as an element superimposed on the scene, as was the frame. Both elements define the limit of the space outside the painting.

Tipo de Investigación:
Galería Gabriela Mistral


  • Serie El Jardín de las Delicias (The Garden of Delights Series)
    Series of oil on canvas paintings elaborated in 13 modules grouped in triptychs and diptychs, in addition to 10 small format paintings
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