Author: Alexandre Calvário
Gastón Ugalde was born in La Paz, and is considered a visual arts leader in the region because of his contemporary art creations.
Ugalde was the recipient of the prestigious Konex award along with noted Brazilian architect Oscar Niemayer in 2002.
He Studied Architecture at Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia, Economics and Political Science at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada and Fine art at the Vancouver School of Art, Canada. Since 1972 he had 81 solo-shows and over 160 collective exhibitions.
Gaston Ugalde is the best internationally known Bolivian artist and has exhibited at the most important exhibitions worldwide.
Spanning a half-century career he is considered a video-art pioneer in Latin America in the seventies; his work also includes performance, painting, sculpture, installation land-art and photography. Critics refer to him as the Andean Warhol. His work is deeply rooted in Bolivian traditions and is filled socio-political references.
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Ugalde is known, despite his decades long career, as the “enfant terrible” of the local art world for the subversive nature, both conceptually and materially, of his artwork. His provocative nature is grounded by an extensive and eclectic education. As an artist, he also responds to his environment through the appropriation of local cultural signifiers in his work; such as through materials, which strive to encapsulate Bolivian traditions. Because of this, his use of these materials has also, at times, been viewed as controversial.
In his work, Ugalde engages the Bolivian landscape, as well as plants and fabrics inherent to traditions within Andean culture, and transforms them into contemporary collages, photographs and installations that speak of commerce, politics and spiritual (dis)connectedness.
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