Gabriel Chaile in collaboration with Laura Ojeda Bär

A large-scale sculptural installation by Gabriel Chaile (b. 1985, Argentina) – the artist’s first institutional exhibition in the UK.

Following presentations on the High Line, NY (2023), at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2022) and the New Museum, NY (2021), Chaile will create an ambitious new sculptural installation, drawing on Studio Voltaire’s unique interior and history as a former chapel and meeting space.

Chaile employs the methodologies of visual anthropology to explore dimensions of ‘the ritual’ through a postcolonial perspective, a research process he describes as a "genealogy of form". He is best known for his large–scale sculptures, which associatively trace volumes and shapes through ancient vessels, soup kitchen pots and clay ovens. The artist draws on the histories of his homeland in northwestern Argentina, as well as archaeological and ethnographic ceramic artefacts from the region. Chaile's sculptures poetically embody ancestral narratives and indigenous beliefs denied and suppressed by colonialism.

Collaboration is key to Chaile's work; evidenced in acts of exchange and hospitality. These concerns have been prominently characterised in previous sculptures, some of which function as ovens to cook and share food. His practice has encompassed nomadic culinary projects, communal gatherings, and the founding of an experimental space that brings together an international network of artists, friends and colleagues.

As a continuation of this work, Chaile has invited Laura Ojeda Bär (b. 1986, Buenos Aires) to present a series of new paintings, in conversation with his work. Ojeda Bär’s practice questions the accepted performance of power dynamics in society. In recent works she has focused on the intersection of canonical Western art history and social networks, to interrogate the links between public and intimate spheres. Together, Chaile and Ojeda Bär share an interest in how visual forms circulate, are valued and hold power.

At Studio Voltaire, Chaile and Ojeda Bär will undertake a five-week residency, transforming the interior of the chapel gallery. Chaile’s installation will cover every surface of the space with adobe, directly referencing the historic churches and houses of Argentina, which are commonly made from compacted earth and clay bricks.

This monumental gesture will envelop the viewer within an architectural environment, as if inhabiting one of the artist's richly tactile, terracotta-coloured vessels. New structures within the space will incorporate the anthropomorphic iconographies of Chaile’s sculptures, as well as providing forms to house Ojeda Bär’s new series of paintings. This commission represents a meaningful development in Chaile’s practice, and his reclamations of ritual, sacred and collective spaces.

Supported by Henry Moore Foundation and the Gabriel Chaile Supporters’ Circle: BARRO, ChertLüdde, Antonio Murzi and Nicoletta Fiorucci.

Studio Voltaire’s Programmes are core funded by The Studio Voltaire Council.

Studio Voltaire’s 2023/2024 Exhibitions programme has received support from Cockayne – The London Community Foundation.

Opening preview: Tuesday 11 July 2023, 6–8 pm. Free, all welcome.

  1. Gabriel Chaile (b.1985, Argentina) lives and works in Buenos Aires and Lisbon. Chaile’s work has been exhibited at 5th New Museum Triennial, New York (2021); Foundation Thalie, Brussels (2021); Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (MAMBA) (2017); Centro Cultural San Pablo T, Tucumán (2016); Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires (2015); National Fund of Arts, Buenos Aires (2014); Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires (2011); New Energy Museum of Contemporary Art (the Ene), Buenos Aires (2011). In 2022, he participated in the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. This is the first-ever institutional exhibition of his work in the UK. 

  2. Laura Ojeda Bär (b. 1986, Argentina) lives and works in Buenos Aires. She practises as an artist and independent curator. In 2019 Ojeda Bär took part in NES artist’s residency, Iceland, and Universidad Torcuato di Tella Artist’s Programs, Argentina. In 2020 she was commissioned by the InterAmerican Development Bank to produce new work for its Washington headquarters. Ojeda Bär’s works are held in private and public collections in Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, Brazil and the United States. Her works have been exhibited in Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, Buenos Aires (2022); Casa Nacional de Bicentenario, Buenos Aires (2022); Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires (2022); Moria Gallery, Buenos Aires (2022); Casa Argentina in Rome, Italy (2021); Fundación Tres Pinos, Buenos Aires (2019); Pasto Gallery, Buenos Aires (2016, 2015, 2013).

  3. Gabriel Chaile, The Milk of Dreams, Installation view at the 59th Venice Biennale, Venice, 2022. Photo by Andrea Rossetti. Courtesy of BARRO Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, Gabriel Chaile, Lisbon and Chert Lüdde, Berlin.

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