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What Chile's Premier Fair Has in Store for its 2019 Edition

  • Ch.ACO 2018
  • Ch.ACO 2018
  • Ch.ACO 2018
  • Ch.ACO 2018
August 14, 2019
A philosophy graduate interested in critical theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

An international contemporary art fair based in ChileCh.ACO is an important event in the panorama of Latin American art fairs. Taking place every fall in the capital of Santiago, it has established itself as a driving force in the country’s art market and industry, contributing greatly to the professionalization of the art system and the internalization of Chilean art.

After a decade as the most important contemporary art fair in the country, Ch.ACO will once again be present on the cultural scene for the eleventh consecutive year, at Parque Bicentenario in Vitacura, Santiago, Chile from November 21st until November 24th, 2019. Ch.ACO 2019 will continue promoting the spread of Chilean art and contributing to the growth of cultural heritage through the promotion of art collecting. Under the art direction of the renowned architect Felipe Assadi, the fair will provide a sensory experience of what Chile is like, through the incorporation of the country’s own geography and thematic space.

To learn more about this year’s edition, we had a chat with the Fair’s Executive Director, Elodie Fulton. In an exclusive Widewalls interview, Fulton talks about the longevity of the art fair, the novelties, the selection criteria, the art scene in Chile and much more.

Elodie Fulton, Executive director of Ch.ACO
Elodie Fulton, Executive director of Ch.ACO

The 2019 Edition of Ch.ACO

Widewalls: Ch.ACO comes back in November for its 11th edition. What is the secret to the fair’s longevity and excellence?

Elodie Fulton: This project began 10 years ago with the intention of promoting visual arts in Chile. We wanted the Chilean artists to have an international showcase so that our art became known in the world. Along with this, we also wanted to begin to democratize contemporary art in the country.

The effort that has been made during these years to make the fair days go perfectly implies a previous work of a team of professionals united by the love of art and all its expressions. And also, the ties we have established with different institutions in different sectors of society contribute, together with our team, to allowing us to enhance the visibility of artists in this international showcase.

We believe that our secret, if we could call it that, is having a consolidated relationship with different art agents, promoting associativity between them, and in the end, enabling effective and collective growth of the sector.

Ch.ACO congregates, among many others, artists, gallery owners, curators, companies, educational institutions, museums, buyers and the public. What we are looking for, is that they all build links, with the conviction that Chilean art must be visible in the internal cultural scene, and finally, it must be an engine of the country’s development.

Widewalls: What can the visitors expect from the 2019 edition of Ch.ACO Art Fair? What will be the main approach and focus for this year’s edition of the fair?

EF: After 10 years, the aforementioned aspects are further professionalized, to continue advancing to the second decade of Ch.ACO.

One of the novelties for this edition is that it will return to the concept of boutique fair, since a maximum of 50 galleries will be able to participate, offering a unique and exclusive experience to all visual arts enthusiasts.

In addition, because art is a reflection of today’s society, the themes of this year will be the concepts of creative women, environment and connectivity; understood as a more inclusive, sustainable and decentralizing spirit at the country level. There will be many more novelties that will result in an unmissable experience for visitors.

Due to the varied offer this year, we also hope there will be more of them than in previous editions, as an effect of the democratization of the art we propose.

Ch.ACO 2018
Ch.ACO 2018, by Estudio CC

The Program

Widewalls: The application process for galleries participating in this edition just ended. What was this year’s selection criteria?

EF: This year’s selection committee is made up of Eduardo Brandao from Brazil, Juan Carlos Bendana Pinel from France and Giancarlo Scaglia from Peru. The selection criteria were, as always, based on the fact that the public expects higher quality every year; while the galleries expect a sample with a tune between national, international and public galleries; and finally, to promote collecting among all types of audiences.

Widewalls: The upcoming edition will present a sensory experience about what Chile is like. Could you tell us something about this concept?

EF: Indeed, for this edition, the staging will focus on building a sensory experience of what Chile is, incorporating territoriality variables. For this, different thematic spaces will be created, positioning Ch.ACO in the geography of the Chilean territory.

In addition, as one of the central axes of the fair is the environment, the idea is that what is used in the assembly, will be reused in a different form than in the days of the fair, thus contributing to reuse and recycling of the materials in order to contribute to the care of the environment.

Also, the natural environment of the Bicentennial Park, a large green lung present in Santiago where the fair will take place, will be a central element of the staging and will be integrated into the routes made by those who visit Ch.ACO.

Widewalls: Who are the visitors of Ch.ACO? What would be your advice to a starting collector out there?

EF: The audience that attends Ch.ACO is very diverse. During the fair, people from different sectors of Santiago and other countries, with very diverse economic and cultural worlds, gather around art. Therefore, we say that it is an inclusive event, where citizen participation is of great importance. There are those who go for the pure pleasure of learning and knowing more about the art scene; there are those who attend for the first time out of curiosity or eagerness to buy; others go again in search of some work that captivates them; and of course, there are national and foreign collectors. In this regard, we seek to promote public and private collecting, as a key piece in the art system, as well as aesthetic pleasure.

Hopefully, there are more collectors and more people dare to collect art. Not only that there are “great patron of the arts”, but there are also young people who know how to value and are passionate about works of art. One of the challenges of Ch.ACO is to change the paradigm that collecting is only for millionaires, so democratizing art is part of our goal.

Ch.ACO 2018
Ch.ACO 2018, by Estudio CC

The Cultural Context of Ch.ACO

Widewalls: Could you tell us something about the local cultural scene? How do you think the fair contributes to its further development?

EF: In the last 10 years Chile has advanced culturally, and Ch.ACO has contributed to that cultural development, seeking to continue doing so. Today we have the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage; there are more museums and cultural centers; more national and international exhibitions are exhibited; there is more collecting and that is more transversal; Chilean artists have a more international presence; public art interventions call mass audiences.

In that sense, the role of art fairs is fundamental. They energize the environment, since apart from being a milestone where works of art are marketed, they also generate a series of actions that will encourage the market in the future, such as the formation of audiences, the democratization of art, support for the emergence of new artists from different sectors of the country, or the increase in the edition of art books, among other initiatives.

Ch.ACO has been a dynamic of the art market, which has grown substantially in this time, and has contributed to the internationalization of Chilean visual arts, through the presence of foreign galleries and world-renowned curators. Furthermore, the fair has contributed to the development of artists and the country image through art.

Widewalls: How do you see the concept of the fair evolve in the future?

EF: Ch.ACO is a tribune of contemporary art, which every year grows and develops as a meeting, exhibition, marketing and communication platform, which constantly works towards the promotion of visual arts. As Ch.ACO fair we are already entering our second decade of history, and we have also decided to strengthen our alliances with other institutions, fairs and festivals in Chile and the world. We understand that our function is to be a platform that promotes the encounter and conversation around art between museums, galleries, institutions, artists, curators, managers, press, academia and the general public.

We want, among many other initiatives, to collaborate in the positioning of Santiago as one of the main cultural capitals of the Southern Cone, and for that, institutional alliances and collaboration between different cultural sectors are fundamental. We know that contemporary art today is the heritage of the future, and in this sense the association between the mentioned sectors is important, to give it the fundamental place that this aesthetic and communicative manifestation occupies in the development of our country.

Featured images: Ch.ACO 2018, by Estudio CC. All images courtesy Ch.ACO.