Sheila Hicks


August 8, 2019 - January 31, 2020

Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Sheila Hicks, Reencuentro, installation views, 
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago de Chile, 2019. 
Photos: Julian Ortiz/Cristóbal Zañartu. Courtesy of the Museo Chile de Arte Precolombino

From August 9th to January 31th, Sheila Hicks, the most important textile artist in the world, returns to Chile after fifty years with the exhibition Reencuentro, presented by the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino and Escondida | BHP.

Through more tan fifty of her works and a selection of pieces from the Museo Precolombino, some of which have never previously been exhibited to the public, Reencuentro presents a broad scope of work from the artist, through a thematic tour that puts contemporary art and the heritage of indigenous American art in dialogue.

With five decades in her artistic career, the work of Sheila Hicks has been displayed in prominent museums, international galleries, and public spaces and monuments, including the Centre Pompidou and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Tate in London, and the High Line Park in New York.

“Sheila Hicks is considered the best living textile artist, so it is fantastic to be able to bring her to the Museo Precolombino. She began her vocation in textile art through pre-Columbian weavings, a means of artistic investigation that began during a trip to Chile at the end of the 1950s,” explains Carlos Aldunate, the director of the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino.

As a disciple of Josef Albers and with artistic training based on the Bauhaus philosophy, Sheila Hicks undertook a trip throughout South America in 1957, from Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego, a fundamental experience in her training. It was on this journey through the Andes that she learned of the textile techniques and ancestral cosmovision that would change her life forever and where, inspired by the landscapes and architecture of South America, she began to create her own textile work.

“The people I met in Chile helped me form my cultural structure, and they inspire me to this day. I loved seeing how people were independent in the sense that they knew how to build a life, improvising every day and every night and achieving an expression where there wasn’t repitition, but rather that each one was an individual with a personality, preferences, ideals, and creative skills. I am living a poem that began in Chile in 1957 and has never stopped”, Sheila Hicks expresses.

The exhibition Reencuentro is possible thanks to the successful alliance between the Museo Precolombino and Escondida | BHP, with the objective to recognize the heritage of the indigenous peoples of America, to value indigenous art and encourage its creation, and to grant it the dignity it deserves.

“We are very proud to present the works of Sheila Hicks together with the Museo Precolombino, within the framework of our alliance of more than two decades. We feel especially excited because with this opportunity we go a step further to integrate the contemporary art of Sheila Hicks with the culture and ancestral techniques of the Andes, represented by spectacular pieces from the collection of the Museo. We invite you, therefore, to explore and be inspired by this exhibition that reflects the many possibilities of creation offered at the intersection of languages and cultures,” says Alejandra Garcés, the director of Communities and Indigenous Affairs for Escondida | BHP.

A poignant exhibition

Reencuentro by Sheila Hicks is distinguished by its coloring, texture, and monumentality, linking architecture, geometry, design, craftsmanship, contemporary and Pre-columbian art in innovative and beautiful textile pieces.

“It is going to be an exhibition, above all else, that is beautiful. The works coming from Sheila Hicks are really poignant and the pieces from the museum collection are magnificent; it’s going to be first-rate contemporary and pre-Columbian art,” says Carolina Arévalo, the curator of Reencuentro.

The display is divided into four curatorial sections that converse and overlap, starting from the yarn as the essence of a textile, architecture and photography, chromatic spaces, landscape and memory to end in Being Textile. During this travel, Reencuentro show the journey of Sheila Hicks through Chile and South America, her textile journey and the analogy between her work, Andean weavings, and pre-Columbian architecture.

Among the exhibited pieces are Zapallar Domingo, Chiloé-Chonchi, Parque Forestal and Tacna Arica, which show her relationship with the landscape and architecture of the Chilean territory, and the minimes, small weavings with which the artist began to study ancestral methods, experimenting with textures and variations in scale.

The exposition includes the display of 16 unedited photographs by the artist from Paris, Mexico, Ecuador, Perú, and Chile, and the projection of the video Opening the Archives, an emotional recording in which Sheila Hicks looks through her personal archive of images. Additionally, the Aprentizaje de la Victoria monumental textile work by Hicks will be installed in the South Courtyard, making manifest the link between her work and the patrimonial architecture of the Museo Precolombino.

The pieces and photographs of Reencuentro come from the Atelier Sheila Hicks and from the Centre Pompidou, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, Demisch Danant, Galerie Frank Elbaz, Alison Jacques Gallery and Cristóbal Zañartu.