Friday, April 22, 2016

Santiago

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Graffiti in  Barrio Brasil



Santiago

I immediately felt depressed in the crowded city. Indeed, I felt that I had made a mistake to come, the place filled me with such an oppressive greyness, the sky grey and everyone dressed in grey or dark blue or black and they shuffled about like zombies. The service style was anonymous, and the goods expensive and there was that weird sadness everywhere, as if the place and its inhabitants were silently undergoing some  terrible, nameness calamity. 
The city is like a composite of European architecture, all very respectable and looking the part of a capital and rather dull. If you wanted to make a film noir featuring an unspecific city then it would serve well as the Andes are not visible on dull days. I had a dismal kebab. Looking for an art shop I went into a mall of several stories containing shops servicing alternative culture:  tattoo parlours, game shops, t-shirt sellers, jewellers and so forth..  But there is as much that was restricted about this alternative culture as the "official" culture it seeks to oppose: its symbols, which are occult clichés or taken from the marijuana smoking culture of Bob Marley, or the world of Hell's Angels, are tired and as blandly international as the products in high street stores .
The metro was unbelievably crowded. I returned to my place a hostel called La Casa Roja, a huge mansion with a pleasant social atmosphere in Barrio Brasil, a likeable neighbourhood of nineteenth century squares and avenues.
I spent a day wandering round the museums. Particularly satisfactory was the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, which features these magnificent sculptures:



According to the Pre-Colombian Art Museum Website: These remarkable wooden statues were placed on top of tombs in ancient Mapuche cemeteries. They reflect the spirit (am) of those buried there and are intended to assist them in their journey to the afterlife. Chiefs and great warriors were sent to the East after death, to roam among the volcanoes of Kalfumapu, the “blue land.” All others went to the West, to eat bitter potatoes beyond the sea.











I enjoyed the Museum for Contemporary Art, especially these two pieces:



The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, Carlos Isamitt, 1940, oil on canvas, 76.4 x 85.8 c




San Fernando Alley, Juan Francisco González,  oil on canvas, 31.2 x 41 cm





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