Repositioning the Popular: The Hybrid Aesthetics of Violeta Parra’s Paintings Machitún, Las tres Pascualas, and Casamiento de negros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the twentieth century, traditional practices and popular culture in Chile
went into decline. The situation was compounded by the fact that in the
plastic arts, there was already an established hierarchy in which art based
on traditional culture and crafts (artesanía) occupied a subordinate position.
The Chilean artist and folklorist Violeta Parra sought to disrupt this
paradigm. In this article I explore the way Parra sought to defend popular
culture through her visual art by creating paintings that were based on
traditional culture but were also extremely modern. There is a paradox inherent
in the modernism of Violeta Parra’s art and the way it sought to reposition
popular culture. On the one hand, Parra’s work was indigenous. It
counteracted the demise of traditional culture that was brought about by
modernism. On the other hand, her work was utterly hybrid. Violeta Parra’s
art enacted a revival of traditional culture through the fusion of a modernist
aesthetics with motifs and narratives from Chilean popular culture. To
explore the way Parra sought to redefine popular culture, I deconstruct the
subjects and visual syntax of the paintings Machitún, Las tres Pascualas, and
Casamiento de negros. I look at the resonance of her work, which arises from
the popular subjects she presents and the way her work disrupts hierarchies
in the field of cultural production.
LanguageEnglish
Pages145-160
JournalStudies in Latin American Popular Culture
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

Art
Negroes
Popular Culture
Traditional Culture
Aesthetics
Paradox
Revival
Motifs
Cultural Production
Folklorists
Artist
Fusion
Demise
Syntax

Keywords

  • Violeta Parra
  • Violeta Parra's Art
  • Latin American art
  • Chilean art
  • folk art

Cite this

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abstract = "In the twentieth century, traditional practices and popular culture in Chilewent into decline. The situation was compounded by the fact that in theplastic arts, there was already an established hierarchy in which art basedon traditional culture and crafts (artesan{\'i}a) occupied a subordinate position.The Chilean artist and folklorist Violeta Parra sought to disrupt thisparadigm. In this article I explore the way Parra sought to defend popularculture through her visual art by creating paintings that were based ontraditional culture but were also extremely modern. There is a paradox inherentin the modernism of Violeta Parra’s art and the way it sought to repositionpopular culture. On the one hand, Parra’s work was indigenous. Itcounteracted the demise of traditional culture that was brought about bymodernism. On the other hand, her work was utterly hybrid. Violeta Parra’sart enacted a revival of traditional culture through the fusion of a modernistaesthetics with motifs and narratives from Chilean popular culture. Toexplore the way Parra sought to redefine popular culture, I deconstruct thesubjects and visual syntax of the paintings Machit{\'u}n, Las tres Pascualas, andCasamiento de negros. I look at the resonance of her work, which arises fromthe popular subjects she presents and the way her work disrupts hierarchiesin the field of cultural production.",
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