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Omar López- Chahoud: “an art fair gives an opening to the world of what is happening in Chile"

In this version of the fair, Omar López Chahoud, artistic director and curator of UNTITLED since its creation in 2012, will be part of a panel discussion about the importance of art fairs for the development of the industry in visual arts, which will take place on Friday, March 27 at Ch.ACO -11. We talked with him about his experience at UNTITLED and his work as an independent curator.


By Ch.ACO team




What should an art fair have to be successful?

"There has to be a review of the artists that are presented at the fair through the galleries, to understand who they are and why they are participating. It is very important that there is diversity, I mean women artists, African contemporary art, established artists, emerging artists, a conversation that arises from the emerging to the established or from different generations”.


"The fair is very open and that identifies us a lot. We are very aware that the spaces are wide, that it does not feel overwhelming, art must be enjoyed without feeling that there is too much information”

What distinguished UNTITLED from other contemporary art fairs?

"First of all, the location. We always try to make the location show what the place is, we work a lot with natural light, that sets us apart. If you are going to do an art fair in Miami, you want to feel that you are in Miami and see the art from the context of a city identified by its light, Miami is a city that has an incredible light and we try to use that light so that people do not feel they are in a convention center. The fair is very open and that identifies us a lot. We are very aware that the spaces are wide, that it does not feel overwhelming, art must be enjoyed without feeling that there is too much information”.


Since it was created in 2012, how has your experience at UNTITLED been?

"We started with 50 galleries and today we have 130. It has been a job to question all the time and learn from the mistakes we make and try to do something about it, improve. I believe that, in the case of fairs that have a curatorial projection, it is very important, that there is a conversation between artists' projects, which are not necessarily in the gallery space, something that is a must of the fair is to take art out of the context of the fair, outside the tent where it is mounted. In San Francisco we do programming all year round, all year we have conversations, projects”.


"I think Chile has a contemporary art fair is very important, because it is a very interesting way to put the Chilean context in conversation with the rest of the world, an art fair gives an opening to the world of what is happening right now in Chile"

What does it mean for you to come to Chile to a contemporary art fair?

"It means understanding more the context of what is happening in Chile. I think it is very important that Chile has a contemporary art fair, because it is a very interesting way to put the Chilean context in conversation with the rest of the world, an art fair gives an opening to the world of what is happening right now in Chile. It seems to me, for a big place as Latin America, there are few fairs, and there is one in Chile is very important for the region”.


On what criteria are you based to invite the galleries to UNTITLED?

"If the gallery proposal seems interesting, powerful, we accept it. If it have a good program, if is a gallery that has participated in other fairs that are also important, if it have participated in emerging fairs that are doing a good job, we must also give opportunities to galleries that are less than 5 years old, that are starting”.



Incoming call


1. Who inspires you? "Artists, paying attention to them is my starting point for everything."


2. Who is your favorite artist? Gordon Matta- Clark” (american artists recognized by his building cuts”).


3. Define your work in three concepts: honesty, presentation, public”.


4. What place in Santiago/ the world connects you with art? "San Pedro de Atacama when tourism had not yet been exploited, it was a very special place, I went as a student, it was a place of investigation, of finding oneself."


5. What book do you recomend? “Duchamp’s biography”.


6. Your soundtrack… “Ramones” (punk american band).


7. If you could have coffee with someone (dead or alive), who would it be with? “with Gordon Matta- Clark”.


8. What do you love most? “art, art is life, you live through art”.


9. Every artist should know… “motivation not coming from art market, the motivation is create for a diverse public”.


10. When did you realize you would dedicated to art? "Since I have use of reason, my mother took me to museums when I was 5 or 6 years old, I was fascinated”.


11. If you wouldn’t dedicate to art, what would you do? “would be religious”.


A message for a team behind an art fair… “A lot of patience”.

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