CUERPO DE AGUA, A stranger’s left footstep gathered on one side of the Pacific Ocean, and a stranger’s right footstep gathered on the opposite side of the same ocean. 2018

Work in co-authorship with Yoko Ono. This work is Santillán's response to Ono’s invitation to take part in her “Water Event”. 

Cuerpo de Agua follows Santillán's interest for ancient Trans-oceanic contact hypotheses, which are attempts to explain earlier population of the American continent. According to these hypotheses, ancient sailors would have traveled from Asia across the Pacific Ocean reaching the coasts of the American continent. More specifically, the artist has conducted research on the particular version put forward in the 1960’s by archaeologists Emilio Estrada and Betty Meggers. They elaborated on this possibility after conducting comparative studies between the ceramics of Jomon (current Japan) and Valdivia (current Ecuador). Cuerpo de Agua is the artist’s attempt to gather physical evidence meant to demonstrate that a human being with one foot on each side of the ocean actually exists.


Catalog of MÁCULA (solo show at MUAC, Mexico) available to download

 / Click on the image to download PDF / image: Baneque (a crystallized phantom island), 2016

/ Click on the image to download PDF / image: Baneque (a crystallized phantom island), 2016


'A THOUSAND YEARS OF NONLINEAR HISTORY'. weaving made of yarn from each century of the past MILLENNIA. 2018
 


'BERMEJA' SHOWN WITHIN 'phantom limb' at FRIES MUSEUM (The Netherlands), ON VIEW UNTIL 6 JAN 2019. CURATED BY EELCO VAN DER LINGEN.
 


'Correspondances' performed live at LACMA (Los Angeles, CA) Friday Jan 19th 2018, interpreted by Soprano Juliana Snapper.
 

By following a data visualization system an opera singer transforms the cracks of a building into sound. 2013.


*ASTERISM*. SOLO SHOW. Galerie Martin van Zomeren (Amsterdam). Opens: Nov 24th, 2017, 5-9pm

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'A HYMN' included in the exhibition 'Stage of Being' at Voorlinden Museum (The Netherlands). From Dec 9th 2017.

Excerpt from the original video documenting this event: A performer exercises to the point of exhaustion. The beat of a drum is consequently synchronized to each independent drop of sweat.


UNA CIERTA EDAD DEL MUNDO. SOLO SHOW AND BOOK LAUNCH. GALERIE MAZZOLI (BERLIN). CURATED BY Chiara IAneselli. Opens: Sep 15th,  2017 AT 6pm

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MACULA. solo show at MUAC (Mexico). curated by amanda de la garza. 2017

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WALKING UNDER A CLOUD. PERFORMANCE. 2017

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voyager. found shirt and meteorite buttons. 2016


ZARATÁN. Solo exhibition at Witte de With (Rotterdam, NL). Curated by Natasha Hoare.  22.04 - 10.07.2016

TEXT OF THE EXHIBITION HANDOUT:

“There is one story that has ranged the whole of geography and all epochs – the tale of mariners who land on an unknown island which then sinks into the sea and drowns them because it is a living creature.” Jorge Luis Borges, Book of Imaginary Beings, 1957

Zaratán is a new commission by artist Oscar Santillan (1980, Ecuador). The outcome of months of research that started in Russia and ended in the Dominican Republic, this series of works create parallel realities to collected texts, myths, and histories. Titled after a creature recorded in Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings, the project traces how we shape the unknown using the forms and tropes at our disposal and enacts Borges’ referential play between encyclopedic fact and apocryphal tale. Santillan thus animates and materializes the imaginary, eschewing empirical definitions of materiality and existence. Drawing from Borges losing his sight in later life, the works also play on aspects of visuality, manipulating the dichotomy of that which is seen and that which lies beyond sight.

 1. Baneque, 2016.    Christopher Columbus and other explorers relentlessly searched for the phantom island of Baneque. Guided by a map drawn by Columbus on his first trip to the Americas, the artist travelled to the supposed coordinates of Baneque where he gathered dozens of gallons of water. The island is reconstituted by using the salt water collected; as the water evaporates the salt turns into a crystallized form. The phantom becomes tangible.

2. The Messenger, 2016.     In 2002, an avalanche killed Russian actor and filmmaker Sergei Bodrov Jr. together with 48 members of his crew, whilst filming the early scenes for his film The Messenger. The footage captured during the shoot remained intact in the body of a camera; the final frames of the filmstrip remain unused, the scenes never to be shot. The same physical strip of unused 35mm film is turned into a musical instrument; the soundtrack for the unseen film is produced. Santillan presents a film that documents the resulting musical score and the never-before translated script of the film.

3. Universal History of Blindness, 2016.     The windows of the gallery space are dusted with ground dinosaur fossils and meteorites, creating transparent and opaque areas that playing on blindness and seeing, and re-stage an extinction event from 65 million years ago.

4. Traverse #1, Traverse #2, Traverse #3, 2016.      Three narratives establish a world where apparently unconnected events are related. Unreferenced quotes belong to authors Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriela Aleman, Dante Alighieri, Thomas Pynchon, and Dylan Thomas.

5. The Enemy, 2015

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Video shooting of the exhibition displayed at Witte de With

INTERVIEW with curator Eelco van der Lingen [LINK]   |   REVIEW of 'Zaratán' in Lost Painters [LINK]

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CREDITS

The Messenger: Score and Performance – Raul Masu  /  Cinematography and Editing – Louis Henderson

Collaborators: Gabriela Aleman (writer, Ecuador), Orlando Inoa (historian, Dominican Republic), Salomon Kroonenberg (geologist, Netherlands), Matteo Gatti (artist, Italy), Frans Snik (astronomer, Netherlands), Maritza Alvarez (photographer, Dominican Republic), Ludo Hellemans (biologist, Netherlands), and Ana Pavlisova (translator, Russia).

Acknowledgments:

Research for “Baneque” was possible thanks to a fellowship by Davidoff Art Initiative (Switzerland / Dominican Republic).

Research for “The Messenger” was possible thanks to the support of Alanica International Symposium (Russia). The research in the Caucasus succeeded thanks to the generous openness of actor Aslanbek Galaov, filmmaker Soslan Makiev, and leader of the rescue team Constantine Gerapov.

Zaratán is curated by Natasha Hoare

Zaratán is part of Para | Fictions, a cycle of sustained investigations taking as its focus the relationship between literature and visual art through the practice of six artists; Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, Mark Geffriaud, Laure Provost, Oscar Santillan, and Lucy Skaer.

The Messenger (excerpt from the video)

In 2002, an avalanche killed Russian actor and filmmaker Sergei Bodrov Jr. together with 48 members of his crew, whilst filming the early scenes for his film The Messenger. The footage captured during the shoot remained intact in the body of a camera; the final frames of the filmstrip remain unused, the scenes never to be shot. The same physical strip of unused 35mm film is turned into a musical instrument; the soundtrack for the unseen film is produced. Santillan presents a film that documents the resulting musical score and the never-before translated script of the film.

Score and Performance – Raul Masu | Cinematography and Editing – Louis Henderson |  A work by Oscar Santillan