Infinita vitalidad de la materia. Diálogos con madera | Guadalupe Valdes


I remember that first site visit on an island in the south of Chile. It was supposed to be short and intense, but the need to breathe the sea air and feel that cold and salty smell before returning to the capital pulled me onto the beach for a few minutes. There, standing a few meters away from the shore, I saw colors floating in the water: agonizing pieces of wood were coming going with the sea and its slow waves, and even from a distance, they captivated me. It was winter, but this wasn’t an excuse for not wading into the water and dragging them to the shore… This was the first of many encounters and trips that would later form part of this work that involved mixed reflections on art and poetry.

Suddenly, the entire color palette of those southern boats, sculpted by some seaside carpenter, was at my feet. Oranges, turquoises, vermilion, forest green, golden yellow, ultramarine blue… Enamels that I knew well, but these coats of paint, added to the wear and tear of water and time, were a new and sublime revelation. I saw the craftsman’s skilled hands carve, paint over and over, bend the wood using steam, manipulate the rudder, lower the anchor, prepare the mate, weather out the storm, and return home. I was looking at talking matter.


I decided to photograph them. I wanted to dialogue with them and take them with me wherever I went. Printed in a small format with aural proportions, I carried them around in a folder for almost a year, and after using this as a sketchbook, diary, and notebook for calculations, appointments, to-do lists and reflections, they became witnesses to my contingency and unwittingly gave way to my first artist’s book, ‘Infinita vitalidad de la materia / diálogos con madera’.

Today, when I look over each finding and run my fingers over these pages, it seems SO HUMAN to me, and it’s that they spontaneously humanize me: I return to writing with a pencil on paper, I touch every furrow of time once again. I return to the passage from the book of Ecclesiastes that says, “All come from dust, and to dust all return.” I once again recognize the hand that was, the seed that was, the poetry that exists, and how that which we had given up looking for is capable of turning on a new light.

Guadalupe Valdés


Additional information
Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 20 × 30 × 5 cm
About the author

About the author

I have been developing my work for over two decades, through the practice of experimental painting that characterizes itself for articulating natural patrimony with found objects that reflect the memory of their transformation processes.

My poetics seek out the formal construction of a meaning to the fact that nature and humankind are conceived as a single living organism, in which everything is interrelated: patterns, rhythms, and ways of manifesting themselves over the passage of time. My paintings are primeval and immersive landscapes that reveal our geography, that of our territory and its genealogical and geological memory. In it, matter does not disappear, but rather, it is transformed: it is the conviction that drives the work forward. Oil paint, sketches, and the installation of fragments of wood, stones, branches or debris that I rescue throughout the territory and which unlock the value of an ancestral life that urges to be loved and taken care of, evincing the existence of a profound reality beyond its physical corporeality.

My formation consists in a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, with an Academic Certificate in Philosophy and Art History studies at the Berlin Technical University in Germany.

From 2002 to 2004, I developed my painting at the Flutgraben Art Factory in Berlin, and later continued this endeavor in Miami from 2012 to 2013.

I have shown my work at diverse solo and collective exhibitions in New York, Miami, Washington DC, Berlin, Essen, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Lima and Buenos Aires.

To me, color and its emotions are a key stimulus for learning. Driven by this conviction, I have directed workshops for children throughout our country, the last of which was held in a Huilliche indigenous community on the island of Chiloé.

My most recent solo exhibition was held in 2019 and was entitled ‘Infinita Vitalidad de la Materia’ (The Infinite Vitality of Matter). On this occasion, I also presented my first artists’s book, Diálogos con madera (Dialogues with Wood).


Technical Specifications

Author: Guadalupe Valdes

Tecniques: digital Prints and hand interventions made by the artist.

Format: 40 digital prints, 15 of which are manually intervened. A unique cover with a wooden opening piece, part of the artist’s personal collection. A conservation box, acid-free and lined with linen, designed specially for storing the artworks.

Publisher: self publishing

Dimensions: 29,5 x 19,5 x 4 cm

Print run: 30 numbered copies + 5 hors commerce copies

Language: spanish

Year of publication: 2019


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