Juan Downey

 
 
Born in Santiago, Chile in 1940. 
Juan Downey is known primarily as a pioneering video artist but also works in drawing, electronic media, installation, painting, performance, and printmaking.
1973
installation: wooden structure encasing a live Anaconda snake, water receptacle, and a drawing of a map of Chile
dimensions: 83 7/16 × 66 15/16 × 17 11/16in. (212 × 170 × 45cm)
Courtesy of Juan Yarur Torres, Fundacion AMA, Santiago, Chile

Chilean born Juan Downey was living in New York when Pinochet took control of Chile. He made this piece in reaction to the Anaconda Mining Company's role in Pinochet's rise to power. This piece, like many other works in the gallery, calls into question the validity of borders that are imposed on populations rather than naturally occurring. Here the anaconda is allowed to slither freely across Chile's borders, representing the grip international companies, like The Anaconda Mining Company, had over Chilean politics as a result of colonialism. Like Downey, many other South American artists spent time abroad, prompting them to question what effect these borders have on the populations surrounding them, and what their importance is.