Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: UC strengthens its cultural role with important donations in 2021

Bringing art closer to society, training new generations of the public, studying, caring for and exhibiting a cultural legacy: these responsibilities will be even more present at UC, after 2021 marked by important artistic donations to the campus.

Among the different university approaches, some of the most transcendental milestones of this year were accompanied by relevant names for Chilean culture: works by Violeta Parra, Vicente Huidobro, Ana González, Jorge Brantmayer, Cladio Di Girólamo and René Combeau joined the archive and heritage of the university during this 2021.

“The Academy is a natural habitat for culture. In the task of learning, teaching, research and permanent search, tangible and intangible heritage are dynamized, disseminated and developed. They acquire new scopes. Our University has historically been a bastion where art and culture have been strengthened in a sustained commitment to society “, says Magdalena Amenábar, Vice-Rector of Communications and Cultural Extension UC.

The recent artistic donations began to be integrated and taken care of by different areas of the UC, such as the Archive of the Theater Scene , led by the academic María de la Luz Hurtado; the Faculty of Arts , led by Dean Alexei Vergara; and the Heritage Collections supervised by the Cultural Extension Directorate , directed by Daniela Rosenfeld.

March 16 will be the opening date of the exhibition, at the Casa Central Art Gallery, with unpublished works by Violeta Parra, made in papier-mâché.

Below, you can see a selection of those artistic legacies donated to the university in 2021:

For Di Girólamo, one of the most key pieces in this collection is the wooden Tabernacle of the Vicaría de la Solidaridad, which he designed in 1977. Photo: César Cortés.
The spirit of Claudio Di Girólamo
From the first month of this year, a sign of the faith that renowned artists and their representatives would have in the cultural commitment of the university could be seen. At the age of 92, the renowned playwright and painter Claudio Di Girólamo decided to entrust the UC with the care of his religious works, signing this donation on January 18.

It is about 800 creations that are now part of Claudio di Girolamo’s Sketches of Religious Work collection, and are under the care of the Faculty of Arts.

During the signing and together with his family -with the assistance of Francesco di Girolamo, Pablo di Girolamo, Teresita di Girolamo Quesney, Fernanda Arredondo di Girolamo-, the artist made the donation surrounded by a brief exhibition at Casa Central, with pieces such as the Wooden tabernacle that he designed for the Vicaría de la Solidaridad in 1977 . This original and unique work was used for the masses celebrated in the small chapel of the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, carved in dark wood, using the technique of low relief and gypsum coating.

“One of the most important works here is the Tabernacle that was in the Vicaría de la Solidaridad. When one has seen an old lady, crying and praying in front of an image that was not there before and that I painted, it is a greater gift. I wanted it to be where there are people and an institution who know what this work means: it is a commitment to the real Christ, the poor Christ, worker and worker. That is why this work is here, and in very good hands, ” said Claudio di Girolamo at the time of the donation.

Already in 2020 the exhibition Fragility and Excesses was held with the Brantmayer archive, and curated by María de la Luz Hurtado. Credit: Karina Fuenzalida.
Brantmayer and Combeau enter the Theater Scene Archive
A few days later, another great cultural contribution arrived at UC, through the images of two historical theatrical portraitists: René Combeau and Jorge Brantmayer signed the transfer of their photographs to the Theater Scene Archive, on January 25, 2021.

In the case of Combeau, it was the academic Carola Oyarzún who made the donation of 945 photographic materials (negative and positive) authored by her father-in-law. Combeau stood out as a photographer of the Chilean theater scene in the 1950s and 1960s, and the donated images were specially separated by him as a legacy to his family.

Photo by René Combeau.
“The fullness of the visual is there, behind that eye and that masterful camera of René Combeau. When I ordered this collection, once I finished my happy academic life at this university, I had no doubt that I was going to donate it to this invaluable project of María de la Luz Hurtado, and to my alma mater ” , said Carola Oyarzún.

Along with her that day was another of the great theatrical looks: Jorge Brantmayer signed a donation consisting of 1,575 color slides and 5 printed photographs of 142 stage productions made by dozens of theater companies in Dictadura, between 1983 and 1992.

“I came across a box that said ‘theater,’ but I never hoped to make a donation, or I never realized I had a little treasure there. What is fantastic for me is everything that has turned out since the day I handed over the material to María de la Luz. I can only thank her and her team, ” said Brantmayer.

A photographic exhibition has already been made around this donation, as well as the book Fragility and Excesses. Open Archive of the Chilean Theater Scene 1983-1992 , publication curated by a theoretical-historical essay by the theatrical researcher María de la Luz Hurtado, which is available in bookstores such as Ocholibros .

Violeta’s work will have a permanent exhibition and other special displays throughout the university. Photo: Arpilleras – “The bald singer . ” Violeta Parra Museum Collection.
Violeta Parra arrives at UC
The transfer of the Violeta Parra Museum to the UC was one of the great cultural news of this year, after the agreement reached between the foundation chaired by Isabel Parra and the university.

It is a commitment to the conservation, research and dissemination of the legacy of Violeta Parra, a mission that remains in charge of the University Heritage Collection and the Directorate of Cultural Extension.

“Violeta Parra is still alive among us and for us, and we are honored to receive her legacy at UC and from here to open it to Chile,” said Rector Ignacio Sánchez when the news was known in November 2021.

That great artistic stamp that raised the roots of the popular to all kinds of scenarios, will now join the UC, after the announcement of the incorporation of the works of Violeta Parra to that of the university.

While during the second semester of 2022 the inauguration of the classroom dedicated to the new Violeta Parra Museum in the Oriente UC Extension Center is expected, there is already a first exhibition planned for the beginning of next year: March 16 will be the opening date of the exhibition, at the Casa Central Art Gallery, with unpublished works by Violeta Parra, made in papier-mâché.

The poet’s legacy will give rise to a new Huidobro UC Foundation.
The literary heritage of Vicente Huidobro
At the beginning of December, more than five thousand documents -among poems, writings, books and drawings-, consolidated the donation of the Vicente Huidobro Foundation to the university.

This loan delivery to UC includes letters, manuscripts, magazines, clippings and photographs, among other documents, from the poet Vicente García Huidobro Fernández, who developed an aesthetic theory known as creationism and wrote one of Chile’s masterpieces in Altazor.

The agreement will allow projecting the study, access and dissemination of this writer, and also considers the positioning of a new Huidobro UC Foundation.

“With the arrival of Huidobro to UC -a futuristic poet and in constant movement-, we contribute to taking care of heritage and promoting national culture , ” said Rector Ignacio Sánchez in the announcement of this donation.

The hidden legacy of Ana González
It was almost a miracle. Or an unexpected find, at least. During a remodeling in the old premises of the Teatro del Ángel, in 2016 a series of documents and archive material of the iconic Ana González was found. Upon opening it, hundreds of photographs, posters, letters and other treasures for the history of Chilean theater were found that, last Tuesday, December 21, 2021, were donated to the Catholic University, through the Research and Archives Program of the Scene Theatrical.

In October 2019, when submitting the materials to a first cataloging, the team at the Theatrical Scene Archive found 4,888 documents of varied materiality , most of them, unpublished. Mainly, it consisted of photographs of plays, portraits, theater and film posters, play programs, booklets, correspondence, press clippings, administrative documents and publicity of the Teatro del Ángel.

Among the documents, there are materials from the works Las on the other side of the river by Andrés Pérez and Testimonies of the deaths of Sabina by Juan Radrigán, both from 1979. Also, a document with which the Government Military Junta formalized the censorship of the work Angel, woman or demon (1974).

“Along with the Music and Theater seasons and the various fairs, shows and exhibitions, there are projects such as the new East Extension Center, the reopening of Radio Beethoven , the alliance with the MAVI Museum of Visual Arts ; and the hosting of collections such as that of the Gandarillas family , Gastón Soublette , Fundación Huidobro, Claudio di Girólamo, Diamela Eltit, Violeta Parra and Ana González, more recently, has filled us with challenges and commits us even more to the knowledge, training of people and the development of our country “, says the vice-rector Magdalena Amenábar.