Josefina Guilisasti (1963, Santiago, Chile) has developed her pratice in painting and photography, focusing on the problem of how objects are represented in the still life genre.
Whereas still life painting has traditionally relied on a fairly straightforward arrangement of items on a table, what Guilisasti does is to take a less obvious and unitary approach by splitting this classic scene into a way that focuses on the individual existence of certain elements of particular histories, pilgrimages, and individual stories. Guilisasti is deeply aware of the specificity of her medium and the context in which her paintings develop. She collapses references, highlighting the discrepancies between artistic and social discourses.
In 2017, Guilisasti presents the exhibition Free Fall, in The Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. It was a video-installation, which intervened the museum’s permanent exhibition to reflect on the vulnerability of our archaeological heritage and our ambiguous relationship with objects and memory, especially memory of the indigenous Latin American created by creoles and foreigners. It was the first time a contemporary art intervention found its way into the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. In referring to her creative process, Guilisasti points out: "In filming these images in movement there is a latent reference to the paintings of the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964), which are representations of simple objects, with a uniform tonality. I was interested in working with this atmosphere because against a neutral background it provokes uncertainty in the perspective about depth, so that the object stands out as the protagonist of the scene. That’s the key to the relation between painting and video in Free Fall."
Josefina Guilisasti received her BA in Visual Arts from the Universidad de Chile in Santiago in 1985, and later became a student of Eugenio Dittborn. She earned her Masters in History from the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago in 2012.
In 2006, Guilisasti was awarded the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) award and in 2008 she was the recipient of the prestigious Altazor award in Santiago. She took part in the RIAA residency in Argentina in 2007, the Durango Arts Residency, New York State in 2008; and APT in New York City in 2010.
Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Decorative Arts in Santiago, Chile; House of Propeller, London; National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; and Sala Gasco Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago. Her work has been part of important group exhibitions including Saatchi Gallery and Phillips de Pury, London; Dumbo Arts Center, New York City; Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami; Pontevedra Art Biennial, Galicia, Spain; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; Shanghai Biennial, China; The Americas Society, New York; Prague Biennale, Czech Republic; II International Festival, Rome, Italy; and Haus am Kliespark, Berlin within others.
Her work is part of private and public collections such as Fundación Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; Colección Juan Yarur; among others.