The Question of Space in the Chilean Representation and Pavilion in Venice Biennale
How significant is it to have a National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale? The question of exhibition space is crucial in defining the representation of a Nation, its cultural politics and geopolitical power. A study of the history of the Giardini and Arsenale pavilions reveals the status of nations and their importance over time. It is only since 2009 that Chile has had its Pavilion in the Arsenale. Before this date, the country’s representation in the context of the Art Biennale was marginal or almost absent. However, it must be remembered that Chile is the only country to which the Biennale dedicated an entire edition in 1974, titled Freedom for Chile for a democratic and antifascist culture to denounce Pinochet’s military coup in 1973. The military dictatorship (1973-89) also meant cultural isolation of the country and is since the 1990s that Chile has started to interlace its international cultural network again. The return to democracy represents an ongoing political and cultural process called transición (transition). This paper will discuss the case of Chile, its representation at the Venice Biennale and how the possibility of having a National Pavilion at the Arsenale influenced the country’s aesthetic production.