Gabriel Chaile in collaboration with Laura Ojeda Bär
Studio Voltaire, London
12 July – 10 September 2023

Gabriel Chaile (b. 1985, San Miguel de Tucumán) presents a transformative new sculptural installation continuing his investigations which invite participants to generate new collaborative and ritual spaces.

Chaile’s practice draws on the histories of his homeland in northwestern Argentina, as well as archaeological and ethnographic ceramic artefacts from the region. The artist describes his work as investigating a “genealogy of form”, uncovering and affirming remains of the past. His works poetically embody ancestral knowledge and Indigenous beliefs erased and suppressed by colonialism and its ongoing legacies.

Collaboration and exchange are key to Chaile’s work, and his large–scale sculptures trace objects associated with these ideas, such as vessels, pots and clay ovens. His practice has previously encompassed nomadic culinary projects, communal meals, and founding NVS, an experimental space to bring together an international network of artists, friends and colleagues.

Chaile has entirely covered the space with clay, referencing the historic churches and houses of Argentina that are commonly made from compacted earth and adobe bricks. This monumental gesture envelops the viewer within an environment that both incorporates the gallery’s former use as a chapel and fully reconceives its architecture.

Chaile in collaboration with artist Laura Ojeda Bär have proposed Usos y costumbres as a space for experimentation and dialogue, creating new conditions in which to encounter each other’s practices. Collectively, they reconfigure narratives across art history and contemporary life to offer new emotional, political and cultural relationships between the past and the present.

Photos by Sarah Rainer