Saatchi Store
Education Programme
Saatchi Magazine

SELECTED WORKS BY Alejandra Prieto

Coal Mirror

Coal Mirror

Alejandra Prieto
Coal Mirror



300 x 185 x 15 cm
Paradox traverses Alejandra Prieto’s objects and installations like an uncomfortable feeling pregnant with pleasure. Her investigation into the historical lineage of objects coupled with the choice of coal as the material for the elaboration of highly polished realistic sculptures is provocative. Dark and reflective, her functional icons of high design, fashion and furniture sculpted in coal propose a multitude of interpretations that obscure the simple delight of their contemplation.
They recall the role of such humble but fundamental material in the history of industrialization – and by addition in the development of the modern era. Matching extremely skilled craftsmanship and sophistication with the rawest and dirtiest of substances, the process of making precious works of art that in turn replicate high end objects of desire signals another paradox: diamonds – one of the worlds priciest commodities – are just pressed coal under the forces of gravity and time. Furthermore the artist integrates her ambivalence towards the value system that governs consumer society in the choice of objects to be replicated in coal. A Tizio lamp or a chaise longue by Le Corbusier turn the intrinsic nature of such collectors’ fetishes into pure contradiction: coal as an energy source was at the base of an economy sustained by hard working conditions. The coal extracted from Chilean mines, an industry in disappearance while been replaced by other energy sourcing, sees its value reinstated in Prieto’s work.
Additionally, the reflectivity of her black concave mirrors and wall-based panels brings to mind the use of dark minerals – obsidian and hematite – in the production of mirrors by the Olmec, one of the oldest original people of the Americas.

Text © Gabriela Salgado

Alejandra Prieto's BIOGRAPHY

Alejandra Prieto
Born in 1980, Santiago, Chile
Lives and works in Santiago, Chile


Aspect Ratio, CCU Gallery, Santiago, Chile
Invisible Dust, Y Gallery, NY, EEUU

Black Tears Die Ecke Gallery, Santiago, Chile

Modernas, Die Ecke Gallery, Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Gretel, Die Ecke Gallery, Santiago, Chile.


Junkies Promises, Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY, EEUU
Gracia Divina, Sala Gasco, Santiago, Chile.
Eferemérides, Museo Historia Nacional Santiago, Chile
LARA, Latinoamerica Roaming Art, NC-Arte, Bogotá, Colombia
SĂşbita PolĂ­tica, Centex, Valparaiso, Chile

XI Imaginarios Sociales y Prácticas Artísticas, XI La Habana Biennale, La Habana Cuba.
The wood, the coal and the paint, Reverse Space, NY,EEUU
This Side of Paradise, No Longer Empty , NY, EEUU.
SĂşbita PolĂ­tica, Museum of Barro, Montevideo, Paraguay.
En Medio, Museum of Solidarity, Santiago, Chile.
Contaminaciones, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile.

International Call, Galería Luis Adelantado, Valencia, España.
Contaminaciones Urbanas, MAC USP, Sao Paulo, Brasil.
Des-habitables, CCE, PerĂş Lima.
Colectiva Die Ecke, Die Ecke gallery, Barcelona, Spain.

VII Biennale Mercosur, Projetaveis, Porto Alegre, Brasil
Triennale de Chile, "El terremoto de Chile", Contemporary Art Museum, Santiago, Chile.
VI Biennale SIART, La Paz, Bolivia, 2009.
Des-habitable, OTR Gallery. Madrid, España.
Cohortes, Contemporary Art Museum , Santiago, Chile.

Expediente Die ecke 01, Valenzuela Klenner Foundation, Bogotá, Colombia.
Daniel LĂłpez Show, Roebling Hall gallery, New York, EE.UU.
Handle with Care, Women artists in Chile 1985-2005,Contemporary Art Museum, , Santiago, Chile.
MenĂş de Hoy. Comida Lenta: Arte y Alimento en Chile, MNBA (Mall Plaza Oeste) Santiago, Chile.
Niños Jugando, National Culture Council , Valparaíso Chile.

Circuits/Circuitos. Matucana 100 Cultural Center, Santiago, Chile.

Umbrales, Extension Center , PUC, Santiago, Chile.
Suple, Chile University, Santiago, Chile.