Albino Echeverría
Municipal Art Prize of Concepción (1978), and now curator of the Universidad de Concepción Art Gallery.
Albino Echeverría
A few days ago I had the pleasant opportunity to visit workshop of the artist Alejandro Vila, someone who has been around the block of artistic expression in Concepcion. We have seen him doing ceramic expositions, appearing as a cultural manager, and creating television programs. Overall, he surprises with his dedication and creativity in the multiple manifestations that he creates with his passionate playfulness.
What I saw in the workshop was a series of objects and playful figures that maintained the undeniable hallmark of fantasy that is a well-known characteristic of the artist.

The figures are varied and of many different sizes: some are strange birds, fish that fly or walk, people, ladies’ handbags that perhaps will not be used, and implausible dragons. All are admirable and surprising. Some pieces are “decorated” with small elements of color or objects that are out-of-place with the general structure, that accentuate the magic of or that defines the character of the piece. For example, one might see buttons or small pieces of colored glass.

It looks like handcraft, but I believe that is because of the surprising originality and beauty. There is an authority and clear level of artistic ability which transcends the condition of merely being an artesian object.

The works are created by means of ensembles or the union of pieces and parts of utensils or artifacts of aluminum that the artist found either abandoned or in disuse.

The recycling of materials has a long history, but in this artist’s pieces, the perception that the observer has of the process is something else. It isn’t taking advantage of the material exactly, instead, it is like he helps the apparition of a figure with very defined characteristics that are far from the original form.

It seems strange to examine some of the admirable completed figures and try to see what elements had permitted the construction of such a beautiful and notable structure. It is possible to admire the imagination that conceived it, the tedious attention, and the fine skill used in the creation of the piece, even apart from its deep sense of playfulness.

Concepción, May 16th, 2008