Artist: Patrick Hamilton
January 28, 2016 – May 14, 2016
The 9.99 Gallery
Guatemala City, Guatemala
True to the conceptual nature of his work, Hamilton refers to the political history of his country through a series of collages and sculptures, which he has produced in the last year, and which broadens and deepens his aesthetic reflections on major issues affecting contemporary societies, particularly those that refer to labor and social inequality in Chile in recent years. These reflections analyze the consequences of the “neoliberal revolution” (Thomas Moulian) implemented in Chile by Pinochet — and the “Chicago School” — during the eighties and its projection in the social and cultural milieu in a post-dictatorship Chile; they result in works that can be read from the notion of “social forms” (Christian Viveros-Fauné), thanks to their economy of expressive resources and their deep bond with the analysis of social, political, and economic phenomena. Hamilton’s production could be described as realist art in relation to the exaltation of the physical qualities of his works, as well as a consideration of the concrete phenomena of our social reality.
Through the manipulation of tools used for manual labor, the artist creates objects that represent and act as metaphors in the increasingly precarious world labor economy. The formal character of the work is provided by another of Hamilton’s great source of inspiration: the History of Art. So, is the work of the constructivists, concrete art, and Suprematism — in this case Kasimir Malevich’s emblematic black square — which serves as a link between the economy of gestures and means, the use of monochrome and the formal rigor with spatulas, pikes, and sandpaper, which leave behind their functionality and remain at the mercy of anyone who wants to contemplate them.
The placement of the works in the space resembles a shadow theater, with pieces that disguise their materiality and communication function, a contradiction between the visible and invisible, transparent and opaque, opposites that in contemporary societies contribute to the concealment of problems of unemployment, shadow economies, and illegal work that become a precarious solution to the lives of millions of individuals.