Gabriel Chaile’s colossal clay sculptures are alive with ancestral history

Growing up, Chaile’s parents would tell him about their lives, the experiences of friends and family members, and the history of Argentina. Through her sculptural practice, Chaile translates these oral histories into physical forms, interpreting and recording ancestral knowledge and stories that were overlooked or violently suppressed by Spanish colonialism and its aftermath. “I love intense stories, those that by their force stay etched in what we call memories,” Chaile said, “and those that go unheard because of their simplicity, or because they don’t participate in the center where history is woven. .”

Chaile continued: “The process of colonization did not end with the declaration of independence of the new state called Argentina. He continued systematically with the educational and “civilizing” plan to create a united Argentina; to erase what was called barbarism. These colonial processes which continue under different names is what the artist calls the genealogy of form. He described Argentina as a country that rose to prominence trying to embody Europe, and in its eagerness “violently extinguished thousands of voices, generating oblivion and lack of interest in the memory”.

This layered history was also felt in Chaile’s upbringing. He first studied visual arts at the National University of Tucumán, a public university, before obtaining a scholarship to attend Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires, one of the most expensive private universities in Buenos Aires. Argentina. Chaile considered the experience strange. He felt that he didn’t learn much at the latter university other than networking. “There I realized how the power of many things is backed by the network of contacts that elites pass down through time,” Chaile said. In stark contrast, Chaile called his time at the National University of Tucumán, and his hometown of Tucumán in general, “great formative years” of learning in every way, due to the self-contained arts scene. and multigenerational environment.