“Transpose” is a series of compositions that focus on a livng natural resource coming from geographies marked by maritime and geological motions. It started with a commercially discarded head of a Salmo Salar salmon, which was dissected in order to preserve and crystalize its jawbone using saltpetre, an ambivalent nitrate imprinted in the history of maritime navigation and military tactics, also commonly used today to preserve processed meats.
This ongoing work explores the relationship between Norway and Chile in regards to Salmon aquaculture, their landscape exploitation and manipulation towards living marine resources. It aims to provide a reflection towards a non-linear sedimentation level as a consequence of marine manipulation, through different material compositions; an individual animal bonding and an ethical experience. It aims to foster an open and active discussion within the local, artistic, philosophical and scientific communities both in Norway and in Chile.
Inspired by juxtaposed historical contexts, Michelle-Marie Letelier´s drawings, installations, videos and sculptures encompass orchestrated transformations of minerals alongside extensive research into the landscapes where their exploitation and speculation take place.
Her early life was spent in Chuquicamata, the world’s largest open-pit copper mine located in the middle of the Atacama Desert in Chile. When this town was to be buried due to new mining policies, Letelier returned to document this process—a pivotal moment that ushered in her practice.
Since then, she has been exploring commodity compounds, their properties and energy productions, enabling situations in which the basic structures are carefully combined and led by physical methods into significant states or applied directly into her work.
Michelle-Marie Letelier (Chile, 1977) lives and works in Berlin. Letelier obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the Universidad Católica de Chile in 2000 and has participated in postgraduate programmes such as Goldrausch Künstlerinnenprojekt art IT (Berlin) and as guest student in the Experimental Media Design studies at the Universität der Künste (Berlin).
Her work has been shown internationally in galleries, museums and institutions, among others: CNB Contemporánea (Buenos Aires); Monumento a Los Héroes (Bogotá); El Museo de Los Sures (New York); Stiftelsen 3,14 (Bergen); Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (Santiago); Cini Foundation (Venice); Errant Bodies (Berlin); Museum of Contemporary Art (Santiago); Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda (Santiago) and Kommunale Galerie Charlottenburg (Berlin).
Her videos have been exhibited in international screenings and festivals, including the Mercosur Biennial (Porto Alegre); East Asia Contemporary Art Space (Shanghai) and X Video and Media Arts Biennial (Santiago).
Letelier has obtained grants from the IFA-Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Stuttgart) and Berliner Senate, also awarded the ORA Prize (Italy). She has been resident at ISCP (New York), Plataforma Editable (Tarapacá, Chile) and USF (Bergen).
All images are from the project “Transpose”