Chilean INTI‘s murals own an outstanding visual power, due not only to their massive size but even more to their expressive qualities.
INTI sums up the many forces underpinning his inspiration with the words ‘syncretism, religion, colours, carnival and resistance’. Taking on board the unavoidable legacy of Muralism in Latin America, INTI interprets it from a new perspective. His visual universe is populated by theatrical and brightly coloured puppet-like characters.
Thanks to an almost expressionist visual grammar, INTI‘s murals have a sensual quality that makes a strong and immediate impact on the viewer. At the same time, they are dense with symbolic references as a result of an iconographic mixture of different cultures.
INTI‘s most recurring characters are the ‘kusillo’ (a kind of Latin-American clown) and the ‘ekeko‘, a mask typical of Latin-American carnival who concentrates in himself all the big and small things we don’t want to miss in life. These two mask are present not only in INTI‘s murals, but also in his works on canvas.
Carnival brings about renewal and is celebrated everywhere with a parade. For INTI the carnival parade symbolizes the way contemporary culture evolves, soaking up everything which it encounters at its passage and giving it a new, different life. Contemporary Latin-American culture is made of a mix between the imported history of colonialism and its overlapping to a previous indigenous culture, extremely rich and old.
In this sense, traditional folklore plays the important and lively role of carrier of those differences that rather than separate human beings enrich them in the fight against homogenisation. INTI‘s references to folkloric symbols live side by side with contemporary elements in his art.
INTI, who defines himself a ‘worker of the image’ rather than an artist, believes that the value of an artwork depends on the impact that it has on its surrounding. Place and size play a vital role, because they interact with the public and with urban architecture.
Using the same strategy of advertising, INTI subverts the very ethos of it, treating the passer-byes not as mere consumer but as active public whose critical insight is activated via positive visual stimuli.
All the images courtesy of INTI.