Rafael Guendelman Hales

What’s your background?

I studied Art in Chile at Universidad Católica, but I always liked to work with video. There, I took some courses about film, video, and film theory. I also did the MA on Situated Practice at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, which was about the relationship between context and practices. In a way, I have been always getting into stories from the perspective of spaces, travels and chance (and very often using video and drawing).

What influences you artistically?

I feel stimulated by small stories, personal archives, and random encounters. I love to study, to research, and to dig very deep into something. Sometimes this could be misconstrued as a waste of time, sometimes is not the most “productive” way to produce something, but I feel it is just part of the process. On occasion pieces can appear very narrow and small, but behind them there is a big amount of information that is not displayed. I am also very attracted by alternative ways of thinking society; in that sense I feel very influenced by other disciplines such as ethnography, sociology or social sciences.

How do you start a new work?

As I said before, first I feel attracted by something that could be a particular story, and then I go deep into a research period. In this process, I can go searching for information in Libraries, internet, flea markets, interviewing people or in my own mind. There is always a degree of randomness in the research process; in this process I always try to leave space for non rational thinking, or for some random mental connections. In this weird equilibrium of disciplined study and random uses of time the work begins to emerge.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a project that is an exercise in reframing the memories of my father’s family when they migrated to Israel in 1970 from Chile, escaping from the Socialist government of Allende, then returning to Chile to a regime of radical Neoliberalism in the 80’s and 90’s. There is a question around the validation of Zionism but, deeply, is a work about the questioning of our own attachments and motivations. It will lead to a video piece and an artist book that will be exhibited next year in Chile. For this I’m working with the curator Claudio Guerrero and the designer Gracia Echeverria.

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