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Óscar Fernando Morales Martínez

Venue: KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Óscar Fernando Morales Martínez

Born 1951 in Copiapó, CL – lives and works in Santiago, CL

Óscar Fernando Morales Martínez is a Chilean artist and poet. Trained as a mechanic and electrician, he began making art early in life, but his work became more concentrated after he was hospitalized in a psychiatric institution. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as a young man, shortly after his compulsory military service. In the hospital he continued to draw and paint prolifically, using markers, pencil, and tempera on paper. In his drawings, Morales Martínez employs a repetitive, self-invented formula: the code of a noble supercomputer composed of lines, words, and numbers. Most of his works feature a ruler-drawn frame, inside of which are electric circuits, aliens, video cameras, birds, Internet orbits, teddy bears, angels, and light bulbs. Morales Martínez makes images that refer to the divine, the animal world, “electronic dreams” (possibly linked to electroconvulsive therapy), memories of his mother, and his childhood in Copiapó, a desert mining city in the north of Chile. Technology, autobiography, and mythological creations are mixed together in a contained cosmos—a spiritual datasheet where everything can be explained within the page. These elaborate constructions seem safer than the outside world, and provide the necessary means to inhabit it.

In 2012 Óscar Fernando Morales Martínez began to participate in Radio Estación Locura, a radio station founded by psychologist Ernesto Bouey and run by patients at the Psychiatric Institute Dr. José Horwitz Barak in Santiago, where Morales spends most of his days as an outpatient. The radio follows the individual impulses of the contributors while creating a sense of community around the urgency of making. While Morales Martínez had already transformed the hallways of the Psychotherapy Unit into an ever-shifting exhibition of his many drawings and paintings, the radio became a place for him to open up his practice.

Amelia Bande

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