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From Humboldt to Google Maps: A Progression of the Landscape Painting

Chilean artist Fede Taus presents his work on landscapes at the Embassy of Chile

September 17th, 2019
Simon Thibaud, News from Berlin
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On September 9, the Embassy of Chile inaugurated the exhibition “VON HUMBOLDT BIS GOOGLE MAPS” by Chilean artist Fede Taus, in the Sala Chile of the Embassy. This event is part of the various celebrations and activities celebrating the 250th anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt’s birth.

The exhibition was inaugurated by H. E. Amb. Cecilia Mackenna Echaurren, who greeted the attendees and gave a brief presentation on the artist. Fede Taus was born in Santiago de Chile, in 1984. He studied at the University of Chile between 2006 and 2011 where he specialized in painting. In 2016, he won a DAAD scholarship which allowed him to study for a Master’s Degree in the Intermediate Class of Professor Alba D’Urban in the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, where he currently resides.

The painter thanked the Ambassador for giving his work a platform within the Sala Chile and explained that this exhibition is a small part of a larger work, called “Project Humboldt.” This project is a theoretical and practical project that analyzes the process of landscape construction in the West and its ex-colonies, from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, to the digital project of Google Maps. It seeks to portray how the construction and invention of the landscape in the West influenced national identities by means of a “sentimental connection” of different natural elements in each locality.

The influence of Humboldt’s theories were so important that the newly independent countries of the Americas took the Humboldt model to create the local mythology of each of those countries. So much so, that countries like Chile hired researchers like Claudio Gay to carry out the Humboldt project throughout their territory.

In conclusion, this exhibition is a fascinating journey through the evolution of landscapes and their link to historical, geographical, political and biological contexts. Fede Taus adopts a very modern take on the landscape painting to offer a collection that is interesting not just on an aesthetic level, but also on a conceptual and theoretical levels.

The exhibition will be open to the public from Tuesday, September 10 to the end of October 2019. Opening hours: 11:00 to 17:00, in Sala Chile, at the Embassy of Chile in Berlin.

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News from Berlin