Rodolfo Opazo Bernales, Chilean (1935 - )

Rodolfo Opazo

Rodolfo Opazo Bernales (Santiago, March 8, 1935) is a Chilean painter, engraver, sculptor and university professor.

Son of Rodolfo Opazo Tocornal and Paulina Bernales Días del Valle, he first enrolled in Colegio de los Padres Franceses de la Alameda, but had to abandon him because of his stuttering and continue his studies in a special school complemented by private tutors; However, later he was able to return to his first school, where he finished high school. Opazo remembers that his love for music came to him as a child through the visual arts thanks to his father who showed them the music, especially the Ring of the Nibelungs of Wagner through drawings by Gustave Doré, which caused him a great Print.

As a painter, he trained at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Chile - where he entered in 1953, after briefly passing through Agronomy - and began his artistic production in 1957, at 22 years of age. Later he entered the Workshop 99 to study recorded but after a year "he left for Italy to visit museums to immerse himself in the abstract language, being influenced until today by the work of Modigliani and his compatriots Roberto Matta and Enrique Zañartu".
He obtained a scholarship from the Pan American Union in 1961, thanks to which he was able to perfect himself at the Pratt Graphic Art Center in New York.
On his return to Chile, in 1963, he began teaching at the School of Applied Arts and six years later he was appointed full professor of painting workshops at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Chile, a position he held until 1993. During his teaching, influenced students of the 1980s like Samy Benmayor, Bororo, Matías Pinto d'Aguilar and Omar Gatica.

Opazo suffered a vascular accident in 2008, which forced him to retire from painting and Vivian Berdicheski related it with these words in the pages of Capital magazine: "One afternoon in his workshop, in Lampa, he fell flat on his face with such force He was left in a coma and caused a cerebral hemorrhage, he almost died, he says he did not see the light at the end of the tunnel and that he was saved thanks to his family, himself and Father Hurtado. He has been in rehabilitation for a long time, and since then his family has taken care of him. "
Opazo had two marriages, the first, with María Pía Cousiño Noé (daughter of Luis Cousiño Mac Iver and Ada Noé Pizzo), who gave her two children, Rodrigo and Diego Opazo Cousiño; the second with costume designer María Paz Romero, with whom she had two daughters: Camila and Isidora Opazo Romero. He is nephew of Eduardo and Pedro Opaso Letelier and cousin of Pedro Opaso Cousiño.

It belongs to the generation of the sixties, together with Roser Bru, José Balmes and others; In the beginning, his work "was inscribed preferably within the surrealist trend", in the line of Roberto Matta, Enrique Zañartu and his older brother, Nemesio Antúnez, but gradually the gestural features and his figuration evolved into an expressionist language that It is framed in the so-called neofiguration. "
The Portal del Arte emphasizes that Rodolfo Opazo's painting was "always closely linked to his personal experience, to the things that happened to him in his childhood and to the reflection on certain topics such as death and man: his wonder and his misery For example, some poems by TS Eliot, César Vallejo and Miguel Hernández, and an essay by Michel Foucault, transformed his works, which "went from a mystical attitude towards man, to a real one, directly related to a shaken human being. , assaulted, convulsed, "which" resulted in split figures, with violent colors and a stronger line. "Another source of inspiration was Vicente Huidobro, after which he began to distance himself from abstraction and, as the anthropomorphic forms closer to the human figure, white appeared in his painting. "In the mid 60's this figure is consolidated as figurative, as a real body and coincides with the appearance of what was called in that ti the new figuration. During the 70s he began a very significant series for him, in which the most important work was The altars to hide from melancholy. "In the following decade" he focused on sports and alchemy where he developed a critical attitude towards idols that raised the media. There the color appears and leaves the white side. The harassment of contemporary man has been recurring theme since the 80s, where defeated heads, distorted faces, mouths with the tongue out, fingers in the eyes or a kick in the face, made the white figures that for so long were protagonists of his works, a man stripped of his contingency, gave way to figures where the body was a receptacle of the man harmed. "The 1990s were marked in his work by the step" to the world of Dionysus that begins with the exhibition that called The bacchanal. In this, the figures were lost


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