AN ILLUMINATION, by Mario Fonseca

Fiorella Luna arranges a representation of a circle of mountains and elevations around the San Cristóbal hill, in an auspicious ritual installation at the Victoria Tower octagon, former site of El Salto astronomical observatory. Her Silver Cord links eight landscapes with the hill in an analogy with the Moon, nom de guerre of the artist. In this way, it is difficult to keep away from a particular subjective interpretation, the spiritual immanence that rules this work beyond its tangible elements and the unique intangible purpose that turns art into the means to access its peculiar vicissitudes. Since ancient times, the mountain has been considered a temple, just as the temple has been considered a mountain: Moses climbed Mount Sinai in search of the law, while St. John of the Cross ascended Mount Carmel to find perfection. In Taoism, the man united to the mountain represents immortality; In the Hindu, Jaina and Buddhist cosmogony, Mount Meru is the centre of the physical universe, both metaphysically and spiritually speaking. The Himalayas are the highest peaks on the planet, while the Andes is the most extensive mountain range on Earth. In the heights of the north of Chile, the Quechuas call the spirit of the mountain “Apu”, while the Aymaras call it “Mallku”. In the south, in turn, the Mapuches call it “Pillán” and the Huilliches “Treng Treng”. Finally, in Patagonia the Chaltén- Fitz Roy Hill stands as a sacred Mountain among the Aonikenks. Along these lines, setting up eight elevations of our territory around the San Cristóbal hill (or Tupahue hill as it was known among the Picunches) is no mean feat. Even more if the octogram is ancestrally associated with Venus and… with the Moon.

Two white pieces of fabric hang from the sky bringing the moon light to the silver mountain at her feet, surrounded by eight images of arid, snowy mountains, volcanoes and hills printed over silver plates, which rest on the ground supported by branches. And, in front of every image, there stands a stone taken from the place cited in the photograph.

In the fiction of Art, the tangible can be a metaphor and representation of the real object. Gathered before us, these rocky signs transport us beyond their texture and towards the landscapes, whose tree branches support our backs. Once there, we can look back to the circular scene before us, perceiving how it makes sense- a wide range of senses. First, and from a personal perspective, we are awed by a slight sadness that we cannot define because it lies under our objective will. Later, our thinking moves forward, we understand that not only these views come up as disabled due to a systematic depravity of the natural environment, but also our whole idea of landscape. Almost at the same moment, a smile pops up in our minds, since we think that, at least, what we are seeing could exist in the way it is and even remain in that state for a while. However, that faint light soon fades. Thus, in the deeper exploration of these images, we perceive that they do not have that artificial brightness of digital images. These are old analogue photographs of places that might no longer exist or might never look like this again. So, each of the stones before us is all that is left from these landscapes.

From Babylonians to Mayans and Egyptians to Templars, the Octagon, Venus and the Moon are symbols of regeneration and fullness due to their connections of the earthly with the divine. But in an octagon, created from an eight-pointed cross, the central energy of its convergence is a number itself, the nine, a unit in which the octagon remains inert. In this centre, Fiorella Luna installs the representation of the San Cristóbal hill surrounded by its octagon of landscapes. By replicating the same mountain with a silver stone and drawing the circle of her Silver Cord, the artist frees the landscapes from pain, fear, opprobrium and oblivion. Exercises of this type can make a difference. The type of art that transposes a statement, although lucid and assertive, into doubt from its own ritual can ignite change. A few elements, eight geographical images, eight stones collected in situ, some branches and the reproduction of a volume plus a white piece of fabric placed at their Qi point can shake the Universe. The mountain is a temple and the temple is a mountain.


Mario Fonseca

Wallmapu, July 2017


About Mario Fonseca:

Works and live in the Araucanía Region, Chile. Visual artist, art critic, curator, academic, writer, designer and Chilean publisher. Born in Lima, Peru in 1948, he has lived in Chile since 1966. Fonseca enrolled in the School of Fine Art of the Universidad Católica in 1966 but dropped out of the programme to embark on his professional career in graphic design and edition. He also started to experiment with conceptual art in his artistic practice, a topic he would continue to develop for many years, becoming one of the forefront conceptual artists in Chile in the 80s. Only in 2009, did Fonseca obtain his Bachelor of Visual Arts with a degree in Photography. (Info: