Patagonia is a video by Magdalena Correa (Chile, 1968), integrated in the project AUSTRAL (SOUTHERN), which will be exhibited in La Virreina next autumn. The artist visited the Chilean Patagonia almost one year ago, with the intention to explore a territory quite unknown for her, although culturally related to the geography of her birth. In this work, the exploration of the territory is restricted to one of the regions converted to the biggest natural reserve of the country, Campo de Hielo Sur, located in one of the ends of the XI Región de Aysén, adjacent to the Argentinian borders from the west side and to the XII Región de Magallanes from the south end. End of the route, after a one-month long trip, which begins some thousand kilometres away, the preparations for which also required time beforehand, as not only was it essential to define the route, but also to cover the requirements imposed by the dificulties of such an expedition.
Located in the southern end between 48º 20´ and 51º 30´ of south latitude, where the mountain chain of the Andes is transformed to a big plateau of ice, the surface of which is the most extended one in the hemisphere after the Antarctic, with a length of 350 km and an extension of 13.000 km2, the Campo de Hielo Sur appears to a kind of a big, white, irregular plateau, the height of which varies between 1350 metres in average and 3650 metres at the highest elevations. The peaks and hills of the mountain chain’s knotty cords sprinkle this landscape, dominated by the 48 big glacier bassins which vomit the giant tongues of ice residing in the mass of earth and water at the National Park O´Higgins, 3.525.901 hectares long. For the artist, the objective of navigating the lake with the same name was to arrive to the Snowdrift Chico and the Snowdrift O´Higgins, which comes from the Campo de Hielo Sur and plunges into the lake’s waters. Those forms of ice reach a width of 1500 metres and a height of 100 or more metres, creating authentic white or blue walls, depending on the light projected on them, which are converted to threatening and impassable horizons. The wind, the cold and the rain impregnate the devastated and inhospitable landscape, which extends in an arch of 360º of vision and is only accesible during the wintry summer of this opaque, impenetrable South, which reproduces the south of the subject that contemplates itself in its sensible forms, like Bruce Chatwin, Paul Théroux Luis Sepúlveda or Mempo Giardinelli experienced, just to mention a few travellers that converted Patagonia to a space for writing and interpreting before the immense void of its silence. However, Magdalena Correa conducts her internal and external trip, as if the literary records of the writers above did not exist, wanting to exprerience discovery by herself, avoiding the influence of any experience lived by others. Inevitably, the subject of this work is the relationship between art and nature; the concept is a travel towards an unknown place and the exploration of a territory, for the later development of a more ambitious project that overflows this exercise of analysing and creating a new imaginary space; it is the synthesis of the experience and the visual illusion resulting from the confrontation between the subject and the place, the subjective time, inherent in the view, and the geographical area, reflexive and engrossed at the same time, of a body-earth and water unconnected with limit and speech.