Tomas Poblete - 'Who'll Be The Last To Forget ThIs Place'

2020, Folkestone & Dunkirk

01 - 16 May 2021 ---- Thu - Sat ---- 11AM - 4PM

 

Opening: 30 April, 2021 - 5-9pm

HOP Projects CT20, 73 Tontine Street, Folkestone, CT20 1JR

Words by Claire Oduwole

Magic and memory are intertwined to become the subject, and non-subject of Chilean-born artist Tomas Poblete’s series of new paintings ‘Who’ll be the last To Forget This Place’, exploring the fragmented memories of childhood, patriarchy, loss, and a search for gold.

Using folkloric magical motifs as a structural form through which his experiences are manifested, Poblete populates the empty space with fragments of childhood memories, directed by the paint in rapid, definite brush strokes. Employing a practice where “the paint decides”, the artist builds textural layers that recollect stories of Antofagasta on the coast of North West Chile, and his grandfather’s quest of crossing the desert in search of gold, serving as a metaphor for the possibilities of the imagined outside world.

Created in two parts, triggered by the unexpected deaths of Poblete’s father and grandfather, the artist painted the first series in Folkestone. The second, completed during a residency at Dunkirk’s La Plate-Forme during the first lockdown of 2020, found the artist creating a series of preliminary sketches inspired by the compulsory wearing of masks, depicting the expressionless face as a motif symbolic of the void which can be seen in several of the finished works.

Kite Flying features the words Kite and Vuele “flying” in Spanish also tijeras (scissors) and papel (paper), saturated with the yellow of the Antofagastan desert and inhabited by a magical pony. A boot looms as large as the monumental landscape and text draw out memories of the Antofagastan Fiestas Patrias tradition of kite flying in September to mark independence from the Spanish after the Napoleonic wars. 

The centrepiece, a large scale diptych titled The Hare, presents an uncomfortable tension between an uninhabited cowboy hat and the fleeing animal. Saturated in saccharin pink it forms part of an immersive if unsettling installation at HOP that confronts fragility and misplaced identity head on.


Opening as part of April’s Last Fridays Folkestone event, Tomas Poblete’s work will be presented in our gallery at 73 Tontine Street, Folkestone each weekend until May 16th.