Much of Cristóbal Lehyt's work examines the way politics affect and manipulate cultural and national identity. Through a variety of media including photographs, installation, video and drawing, he often identifies and reworks collective symbols such as tourist souvenirs, folk singers, landscapes and craft objects that relate to a specific place, class structure or time in history.
Examples of this are works such as Pomaire (2009), where Cristóbal created a 36 metre long sculpture with thousands of broken pots. Shaped as the map of Chile, the installation used iconic pottery from Pomaire, a small town near Santiago. By breaking the pottery, Cristóbal destroys one of the country's national symbols by commenting on the fragility of the unifying image adopted by the neoliberal state that is keen to erase its uncomfortable and painful past.
El Norte, an ongoing piece started in 2003, develops this strategy further by aiming to capture in several images the 'meaning' of the North of Chile: its people, the history and the geography of the place. To date, Cristóbal has produced over 100 drawings, paintings and photographs which are all the same size and are generally shown propped against the gallery wall, to imply a commodification and simplification of culture in which the art world plays a significant part.
Cristóbal Lehyt was born in Santiago de Chile, he lives and works in New York. He is the first recipient of BECA AMA for a residency at Gasworks. Recent solo shows include El Penúltimo Paisaje (The Penultimate Landscape), Fundación Telefónica, Santiago, Chile (2009), Dramaprojektion, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany (2008), and Reduced to Insults, Room Gallery, University of California Irvine, USA (2007). His works have also been shown in 7th Mercosul Biennial – Grito e Escuta (Screaming and Hearing), Porto Alegre, Brazil (2009), Ruidos y Relatos, Hoffmann's House, La Capella, Barcelona, Spain (2008), Sunset from the Empire State Building Observatory, Sezession Wichtelgasse, Vienna, Austria (2008), and Linea de Hormigas, A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2007).
Cirstóbal Lehyt's residency was made possible thanks to Cecilia Brunson and Juan Yarur.
International Residency Programme presents Open Studio Weekend
Thursday 26 March 2010 - Sunday 28 March 2010
Preview: Thursday 25 March, 7-9pm
Cristóbal Lehyt, Priya Sen and Alberto Tadiello opened their studios to the public to show and discuss the development of their work during their stay in London.