Karen Pazán (1975) was born in Cuenca, Ecuador, lived in Colombia in the 1980s and has lived in Chile for more than twenty years. Her studies were carried out at the prestigious Universidad de Chile, she has a diploma in Project Design for Culture and dedicates part of her time to teaching. Her work has been presented at international fairs and biennials in Latin America and the United States.

Her childhood has been steeped in the “Latin American imaginary”, that of large families, the grandmother as the main figure, religion as a trait of thought, a grandfather who carved baroque church doors, among other fascinating stories that she herself tells. Her historical context and landscape were surrounded by a very rich visuality, Cuenca, her hometown, is a small colonial city with all the Inca legacy very present and the miscegenation process originated from the biological and cultural crossroads of the Spanish conquerors and settlers. with the natives of the place.

Karen Pazán. Hábito de Memoria
Although she sets the beginning of her artistic development at the age of 15 with engraving and painting, it was in Colombia when she was in more direct contact with artists such as Hernando Tejada or Fernell Franco, later, already settled in Chile and entering the university, her own imaginary is materialized in her work, in the formalization of certain concepts that will act as the axis in her achievements.
The themes that surround her work are miscegenation, the cultural clash between the European and the Latin American, displacements and migrations throughout history. Always wondering about the body that she inhabits, the time she inhabits and the place she inhabits.
Her work maintains an integrating gaze between the inside and the outside, between the contemporary and the artisanal, between the practice of drawing that triggers ideas and the freedom with which they materialize in photography, collage, or sculpture.
Karen Pazán. Hábito de Memoria
The result is images that attract you due to their attractiveness and beauty, but then they stay fixed you when you discover that under that subtlety there is a framework that touches on issues as deep as they are contemporary, the crossroads between times, stories and visualities, the worldview for the original people, the place given to women throughout history, to name just a few. The work contains questions, ideas and criticisms that slide towards the viewer, many of them full of pain, discomfort, and injustice and in a society where we are not used to looking at the shadow, the beauty of the pieces becomes a device to name the unspeakable, a mirage that we can look at or pretend to ignore.
Currently, almost all the peoples of the world are the product of the meeting of ethnic groups with diverse cultures and worldviews. This is particularly notable in Latin America, since it carries in its genes various elements resulting from a particular historical crossing. In the work “Hábito de memoria”, we see indigenous women and men with the weight of the conquest on their bodies. Fashion here is the way of being able to think through that body and that dress, the essence of what miscegenation entails, the imposition of a different structure, an uncomfortable dress forced into it that is finally the analogy to the difficulty of try to fit a puzzle with pieces of different sizes and incomplete. How does that indigenous understand their body? How do they understand time, life, and death? What do they call themselves in a foreign language? A language incapable of containing the knowledge and world views of that other people. This leads us to think about ourselves today and what we are made of, what we lost and what we gained, how much of that still runs through our veins.
Karen Pazán. Hábito de Memoria

The work “Heme aquí sin cuerpo y sin voz” is a feminist work, where women's bodies respond to the aesthetics of consumerism and where they are doubly slaves by merging with appliances. Bodies trapped by everyday life in spaces that become uncomfortable, places within their own homes that cause discomfort and deep boredom. "A silenced body can scream in this work that it doesn’t want to be there."

Here the author asks herself, where is miscegenation found in everyday life? In the domesticated body, in the subordinate and imposed relationship in which we women have found ourselves. Once again, the biographical aspect appears from her own daily life as a Latin American, mestizo woman. The work as healing, the silenced body that screams its discomfort, seems comfortable with that daily life, but it isn’t.

My work develops a poetics that reflects on identity, in the global context, digital photographs, paintings, sculptures and installations created from the Latin American imaginary, the sublime contrasts and the tension between fantasy and reality, present in the mixture of its landscape, migration, uprooting, death, love, childhood. Dialectical exercises between universal history and local stories, history of fashion and the naked body, history of art and pre-Columbian art. I am interested in the vertex between European visuality and pre-Hispanic codices, the one that links Latin American baroque and artisanal manufacturing.” Karen Pazán.

Karen Pazán. Hábito de Memoria
Karen Pazán's work is read in layers and manages to connect the viewer with a problem that lives in each one, she does so by launching questions that cross the viewer obliquely. It is a pure and intimate gaze when she includes her own experiences as a Latin American, mestizo, migrant woman, which opens up and scales by connecting with the experience of the other in a macro look at the region and materializes in a work that is flexible in terms of technique, moving from drawing to sculpture and photography, always with a strong imprint of the manual and artisanal, which increases the integration of the concepts that her work encompasses, such as the legacy and the connection with the original, all this within a work with a contemporary aesthetic of great power.
Karen Pazán. Hábito de Memoria

Written by Beatriz Palma Astroza,

 Arte Original.

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