Monday, July 6, 2009

Tertulia #2: Guillermo Núñez y Soledad Bianchi - Torture

Sunday evening we had our second tertulia. The DukeEngage group met with painter Guillermo Nuñez and his wife, Soledad Bianchi, who is a writer. Nuñez was subjected to torture during the Pinochet military regime. While he wasn’t physically tortured, he was blindfolded 23 hours a day, forced to witness others’ torture, and subjected to psychological torture for several months. Eventually, he was exiled to France until the end of the Pinochet regime in 1989.

His art recreates the pain and suffering of torture. This is his manner of coping with Chile’s dark times. Because of the dark themes of his painting, including the distortion of bodies, blood, and violence his art isn’t widely purchased. Instead, his art acts as a reminder of the atrocities committed during Pinochet’s Chile and the costs of modernization. Additionally, Nuñez has painted and collected photographs that show the suffering encountered in the Holocaust and the Vietnam War. A controversial exhibit explicitly depicting the violence of the early Pinochet regime led to his imprisonment and exile.

Bianchi brought up an interesting theme regarding art and writing in Chile. Few Chileans actively collect or purchase art. Art museums here lack collections compared to those found in Buenos Aires or Europe. Writers struggle to make a living as only recently have writers signed contracts before publishing books to earn more money. For Nuñez, his personal paintings are not his livelihood, but a necessity. He works for the various museums and designing souvenirs for Pablo Neruda attractions and books.

Now, we have seen two sides to the Pinochet regime: Manuel Valdés’ pro-modernization vs. Nuñez’s torture that resulted from the economic progress. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Chile did make important progress during the military regime, but there were numerous humanitarian costs, including the murder, torture, and exile of tens of thousands of citizens.


  1. buenas tardes ,
    estoy intersado en comprar una obra del sr.Guillermo Nuñez , podria ponerme en contacto porfavor .
    mi mail es :
    le doy las gracias de antemano .
    francisco sepulveda

  2. Please email me I have a Nunez work of art

  3. I have two paintings that I believe to be by Guillermo Nuñez, hire can I have them appraised?

    1. How. Not hire. Autocorrect.