Paz Errázuriz / MATRIX 251
Chilean photographer Paz Errázuriz (b. 1944), who has been living and working in Santiago since the 1960s, is known for her honest portrayal of people living on the fringes of society. This presentation, her first solo museum exhibition in the U.S., showcases selections from two bodies of work: La Manzana de Adán (Adam’s Apple) and Boxeadores (Boxers), both of which were made during the brutal military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which lasted from 1973 to 1990.
Errázurizfirst exhibited the photographs in La Manzana de Adán (1982–87) just before the regime toppled in 1990, and after democracy was restored, she published the accompanying book, made in collaboration with the journalist Claudia Donoso. The pictures and book together document the lives of a group of male prostitutes and transvestites that lived and worked in Chilean brothels in the 1980s. Errázuriz and Donoso befriended them, developing long-standing relationships, while recording their stories. The photographs and texts document a group of individuals marginalized by society: people forced to live primarily underground, due to the extreme danger they risked if discovered by the police. In Boxeadores (1987), Errázuriz turns her camera to a different group of men: boxers who fought in neighborhood gymnasiums. Her moving portraits of young men, all shot isolated against a wall, reveal a masculinity defined by sport, but also rooted in a particular community and social space. Both series display Errázuriz’s authentic and deeply human approach to portraying those on the margins, men who could be considered more antiheroes than heroes.
In 1981 Errázuriz founded the Association of Independent Photographers (AFI) for photographers committed to documenting life on the street in Santiago during Pinochet’s violent regime. Since then, Errázuriz has remained committed to making work that shows, in her words, the “closed, marginal spaces of minorities who exist outside the system, outside the realm of power.”