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Chilean Paintings

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El jardin de las delicias [Garden of Delights]

20th century
240 cm x 299.7 cm (94 1/2 in. x 118 in.)

Voluspa Jarpa (Santiago, Chile, 1971 - ) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Chilean
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the artist, 2005
Accession Number: 2005.195.1/2-2/2

Voluspa Jarpa works with an unconventional subject for art: the vacant lot. The vacant lot represents emptiness, absence, and abandonment. This work is based on the artist’s own photograph of a totally charmless neglected lot in Santiago. In the distance we see a white concrete house, a reference to Chile’s construction boom of 1996–97 that promised the creation of a new prosperous and coherent city, eliminating violence and social problems. Below the landscape there is a painted image of a book with two figures. This image is taken from a 19th-century medical textbook illustration of women suffering attacks of hysteria. For Jarpa, this representation of hysteria functions as a metaphor for the vacant lot. Just as hysterical symptoms are physically manifested in a patient, they can also be represented in a city in a vacant lot. The title alludes to the 16th-century artist Hieronymus Bosch’s famous painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Jarpa has a special predilection for this artist who was concerned, above all, with human wickedness and perversion.

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