The Milk of Dreams
59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
Curated by Cecilia Alemani
23 April 2022 – 27 November 2022

Gabriel Chaile’s practice is informed by his long-standing exploration of the communities, rituals, and artistic customs of his home in Argentina. Raised in the northern city of San Miguel de Tucumán with Spanish, Afro-Arab, and indigenous Candelaria heritage, Chaile often employs materials, forms, and archetypal symbols associated with pre-Columbian cultures, which he synthesises in ways both poetic and humorous. Chaile creates spaces where historical precedent, indigenous epistemologies, and prescient craft conventions comingle with contemporary life. His characteristic sculptures derive from a theory that he refers to as “the genealogy of form”: drawing upon objects such as pots and clay ovens that often take on anthropomorphic traits, he invokes the relationship of traditional Argentinian vessels to nourishment, support, collaboration, and community activities. For The Milk of Dreams, Chaile presents a group of five sculpture-ovens that portray, in a large format, members of his family. Along with the central figure of the group, which is titledRosario Liendro (2022) after Chaile’s maternal grandmother, the artist presents the figures of his parents and paternal grandparents. When he cannot rely on direct knowledge, Chaile imagines his relatives’ features by using descriptions of them handed down in oral stories. This new series of sculptures is an expression of the body’s capacity for communalism, giving, and care – especially in the specific context of a family.

Photos by Andrea Rossetti.