Art and Transformation under State Repression : The CADA group; art activism as social movement for political resistance during the Pinochet years

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Romanska och klassiska institutionen

Abstract: Artist communities are often the first in revolting within a repressive society in the outer marginal borders of state control. This silent revolt takes place in the time period before larger oppositional movements gain momentum. However, the research has been scarce, especially when looking at the specific circumstance of the 17 years long Chilean dictatorship and the social influence that the artists had during this period. This Bachelor thesis will treat the subject and time period from a specific cultural angle, namely the effect the artistic production made by a specific art group, Colectivo de Acciones de Arte (henceforth named CADA) had on the social, and in effect, political discourse in society. CADA, a group of four Chilean artists, sociologists and writers, started collaborating in 1979, applying their artistic endeavors within a social practice that intended to interrupt and challenge the normalized routines of daily life during the Pinochet dictatorship – by utilizing semiotics and signs to reorganize and transform urban behaviors and social discourse. To illustrate the conversation CADAs production held, I will analyze two art works from their total oeuvre, as I am interested in researching the forbidden discourse that the artist movement conducted in Chile at this particular time. During the dictatorship, the official politics regressed to favor cultural symbols and expressions with a patriotic, nationalist and conservative message. This thesis wants to investigate the clash between the rules imposed by the ruling military regime and the actual art scene in Chile.

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