Chrysalis | Cecilia Avendaño

11 January - 11 February 2023

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly".

Lao Tzu

Chrysalis is the latest solo exhibition by the prominent Chilean artist Cecilia Avendaño, which features seven new pieces in which the artist continues to explore the dimensions of portraiture and the manipulation of the image and beauty through digital photography and photomontage. Thus, after shooting different women and girls, Cecilia stores each of their features and then, from the blank canvas of the screen, creates a portrait out of these fragments, producing beings that do not exist in reality.
 
In her new series, Cecilia Avendaño reflects on the process of becoming a mother for the first time, in addition to having lived her pregnancy process during the confinement due to the pandemic, taking as an allegory the metamorphosis of butterflies: the caterpillar is enclosed in the darkness of the chrysalis, which nurtures and protects it while it dissolves inside, to later emerge as a fragile being, yet full of light.
 
"In every transformation, in every change, implicitly there is love and pain as two sides of the same coin", the artist explains. "To come out of the chrysalis, to break the shell, carries with it the pain of facing the world, losing the security of what is known, living in a new experience, a new place. This loss of certainty is an opportunity to learn new things, to broaden your outlook and embrace new alternatives", Cecilia says.
 
The influence of Baroque painting from the Dutch Golden Age, especially the portraits of Vermeer and Rembrandt, is still present in the artist's work. Her figures - surrounded by butterflies, moths and flowers - wear light-coloured costumes inspired by chrysalises. The women's expressions are contemplative and taciturn.