Born in 1979 in Santiago de Chile, Chile, Enrique Ramírez lives and works between Paris, Brussels and Santiago.
Enrique Ramírez grew up under the Pinochet dictatorship. In one of his early films, Brises (2009), a man is shown walking in the opposite direction of the “accepted route” through the Chilean presidential palace of La Moneda, thereby defying the rules and questioning the course of history. The Los Durmientes triptych (2014), presented at the Palais de Tokyo in an eponymous exhibition, recalls the disappearance of thousands of victims, tied to poles and thrown into the sea during this period. For the artist, history is not an abstract thing learnt in school. It is what shapes our imagination.
His work also evokes what is referred to as the “discovery” of America. The character in Un Hombre que camina (2011-2014), who crosses the dry lake of the salt desert of Salar d’Uyuni in Bolivia, wears a mask that resembles those once worn by Indians to frighten the conquistadors. His work therefore comprises a critique of colonization. The desire to see what lies on the other side is one shared by conquerors and exiles alike, some of whom do not always reach their destination. Today, huge cargo ships, emblematic of international trade, and frail boats carrying prospective immigrants cross paths on the sea. The photographs, book and video installation for the project entitled Horizon (2009) recounts the dreams and dramas of these maritime workers and adventurers, but also of those who dream of a better life. Enrique Ramírez’s work is neither talkative nor abstract, but touches us with the beauty of his images, the music and poetry of his texts and the rhythm of his long shots.
The sea plays a recurring role in his oeuvre. For his Ocean project (2013), he filmed, in a single-sequence shot, the twenty-three day journey of a container ship, traveling from Valparaiso to the Netherlands. Alone on the boat with the crew, he documented the work of the sailors, thereby offering an insight into
the world of maritime trade in an era of globalization via a series of fifty-one short films and a logbook. The numerous interviews carried out by Enrique Ramírez allow us to discover the history of Valparaiso and the Panama Canal but also the living conditions of Ukrainian sailors who transport Chilean fruit to
Saint Petersburg, on a boat belonging to a Dutch company and flying the Marshall Islands’ flag.
Enrique Ramírez does not limit himself to a single artistic genre. In addition to cinema and video, his photographs, drawings, objects and installations reveal his delicate sense of composition and his ability to work in space. His work enables us to remain aware: it nourishes both our political consciousness and our sensitivity to the poetic potential of the world.
In 2022, an exhibition will be devoted to the artist at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, in Tourcoing, to coincide with his residency at Lens.