Fernando Prats

b, 1967, Santiago, Chile

Since representing Chile at the 54th Venice Biennale, Fernando Prats has reached international acclaim for devising a new and deeply personal pictorial system. Far removed from the instruments of the painter, his process generates unconventional and unpredictable images.

Fernando Prats records on smoked surfaces fleeting natural actions, from the movements of animals, powerful waves, seismographic vibrations and even imprints of geysers shooting water from the ground (an action made possible through the Guggenheim Fellowship). French theorist Paul Ardenne, describes Prats work as initiating “a new way of painting”, exposing not only the beauty of nature but also the violent and destructive reality of our fluctuating environment.

For his Paintings of Birds series, to be presented for the first time in Hong Kong during his solo exhibition at Puerta Roja Nature Paintings in 2018, the artist’s hand gives way to the free and fleeting beating of the bird’s wings making a rhythmic and majestic imprint on the smoked surface. The motion of the bird is frozen in time through a process in between abstraction and sequence photography, capturing a linear pattern of movement that embodies the organic order in nature.

Although Prats has been based in Barcelona since 1990, his work is deeply connected to the telluric conditions of Chile. For the 54th Venice Biennale, Prats represented Chile with three projects: Gran Sur (2011), 03:34:17 (2010) and Acción Chaitén (2009).  Gran Sur documents Prats’ expedition to the Antarctic and was placed at the front of the National Chilean Pavilion. In the two accompanying works, Prats ventured to areas in Chile recently affected by natural disaster. In 03:34:17 he collected traces of the aftermath of an earthquake in 2010, while in Acción Chaitén he focused on the impact of the 2008 volcanic eruption of Chaitén.

Fernando Prats trained at the Escola Massana Barcelona, the University of Chile, and the University of Barcelona. Prats rose to prominence through his documented expeditions which granted him a place in the 14th exhibition of the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Somewhere Else (2011). Prats’ artistic career has been furthered by multiple scholarships and distinctions, among them the John Simon Guggenheim Scholarship (2006-2007), the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Köln residency in Cologne, an honour scholarship from the President of the Republic of Chile (1997-2000 and 2002-2003), and various other visual art prizes. Prats has also been involved in international exhibitions such as the Poland Mediations Biennale (2012), the Triennial of Chile (2009) and the Universal Water Exhibition in Zaragoza, Spain (2008). He is currently on the selection committee for Venice Biennale Chilean pavilion.

Puerta Roja is proud to represent Fernando Prats in Asia since 2018.