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Pedro Pablo Valdés Bunster, well-known as Palolo Valdés, was born in Santiago, Chile on the 1st July 1956. He is a sculptor and painter. He has carried out three individual exhibitions of painting and twenty of sculpture in Santiago, New York, Paris, Athens and Madrid. He is an author of twenty monumental works for public and institutional spaces in Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, United States and Madrid.

Shanghai Art Museum, China, 14/02/2007-28/02/2007
From the book sponsored by Consulate General of Chile in Shanghai, Shanghai Art Museum and 1001 Art Gallery. Publisher - Capital Art, Shanghai, China.

Expressing with a handful of photos the work of so many years, is a real selection deed. They have here an autobiographical rescue character. More than products they are pieces of existence, ways of doing, between objectives and resources.

The works are skins soaked in the environment, in the spirit of their times. Arranging them has a double purpose: to string these pieces together and put them in the historical loom, knowing what it was, what it is... to glimpse what is coming.

Different fruits from the same tree in the workshop have been picked up and, in order to arrange them somehow, they are presented here as blocks, as series.

When I was not a boy or an adult, the life full of trophies - a dry leaf, a copy book, a kiss, lots of adventures that filled my pockets in the evenings - needed a table to empty them, a proper space that also guaranteed my arrogant independence.

Shaping and painting was a licence to live.

Picking up a piece of clay, hitting it and kneading it, stretching and shrinking, submitting it to the edge of a determined shape; or, drawing the space with wire, making a stone spin on a board, compose it with another one, in harmonic counterpoints being the spectator of a lot of possible shapes until defining one, among multiple interpretations, but one at last. The one chosen is frozen with liquid metals, it is considered done and it is seen off. It is a trip. I am the vehicle. I prepare the road and decide where to go. I work. I govern. I work... I am the King of my life... liked that!

Not everything is rose-coloured and to see its colour and soft petals, there are its black and prickly branches.

Life is a harmony of contrasts. From the warm and dark uterus' humidity to the light's dry scream. Years have gone by in the workshop among ups and downs.

More than new shapes or "modern" conceptual approaches, they are ways of doing, ways of facing a physical and specific issue, looking for the shortest way with elements to hand. These are found without looking for them, not by chance, but by causality.

Just like springtime comes after winter every year, in the daily work ideas are born in the act and they are threaded in spirals, directed by the self criticism sense that comes after what was lived and with the work; the skill.

The current work comes after the sum of the above. The topic, usually distant, is secondary, insisting in certain shapes.

As daily exercises that make and develop a body, an individual vision. A way of making that implies a way of being; to study until the chance to do something comes or for the biggest event in my life, death.

Santiago, September, 1991

Metabolizing Images
------"I am what you see..."

I was filled with astonishment when I entered the cave at Lascaux and discovered the images of bulls and stallions painted on the underground chamber's walls by prehistoric artisans 17,000 years ago. I finally understood how to situate Palolo Valdes Bunster in the great march of art that originated so long ago in these remote caverns in Southern France, now such a propitious landmark for mankind and its spiritual survival. Palolo's work forms part of this long tradition of individual creativity, destined to perpetuate an ongoing imprint of man's potential on our planet. He continues to represent those two families of creatures — bovines and equines — whose nobility was recognized and registered, apparently for the first time, more than fifteen millennia ago.

The painters of the caves at Lascaux knew how to project and produce representations of their models, how to take advantage of the rough, irregular surface of the walls to execute their remarkable drawings. They employed a variety of earth tones on the chalky surface of the Perigord rock, achieving a surprisingly balanced synthesis in their imagery. The result remains astounding. Conscious of tradition, Palolo is one of the few artists today who does not revel in his own creativity. He is the humble heir of traditions that not only originated in Europe, but also in primitive cultures all over the world, stretching back in time to Lascaux and its iconic animals.

Being aware that one is just a tiny link in an endless chain permits Palolo to dedicate more energy to structuring his work than to contriving its imagery. It is in the field of combining stone, metal and clay — all elements common to art history — that he contributes to the restless tides of universal culture. He renews our vision, for example, of the horse and the bull through an unprejudiced rapport with his materials. In his work, he makes us feel that the animals of Lascaux have come back to life, pawing and prancing, once more beholders of the power and fervour that pervade all life. It is the renovation of this legacy that gives Palolo's vocation and his work its significance.

Palolo is already an internationally-recognized artist: his sculptures have received warm receptions in major Old World cities, such as Athens, Madrid, Brussels and Paris, in addition to those in his native Chile. His work speaks a universal language: he touches themes common to all times, using commonplace materials. His objective is to give a new twist to certain images that art history has chosen to venerate. This book summarizes his career, records his motivations and registers the development of his work. It takes us to the gateway of his next step: a retrospective exhibition in China. This project presents a new challenge, since the artist has sought his imagery in the masterpieces of Western art and, until now, has always shown the results of this search in European or South American cities.

He is taking an important cross-section of his work to Shanghai. His trip evokes the spirit of an old English saying, like a bull in a China shop, or of a gigantic breaking wave ready to be absorbed by the porous sand of a receptive beach. Palolo in China is a master class in cultural shock, in meshing opposites. This artist's work is pure enthusiasm, brimming with passion and action. Chinese art is another story, filled with another essence.

His foundational works are horses, his icon for individuality, and bulls, that beast of blood and sperm that is pure instinct and animal energy. Palolo, nevertheless, fabricates his bulls in metal and stone instead of flesh and bone or paint and canvas. He devises a style of his own, with abrupt gestures and erratic movements. His art is vital, voracious, volcanic. The works erupt like lava, in its irrepressible outward flow. Nothing detains his hand when inspiration sets it in action. In spite of the frenzy at the moment of execution, the artist, nevertheless, is capable of moving like a cat in the delicate environment of a distant and unknown habitat.

Let us continue with the metaphor of opposing poles: East-West.

What a contrast to the millenary codes of the Orientals, fortified by the deliberate march of centuries of reflection and contemplation. Porcelain and rice paper, refinement, suggestion, moderation, ceremony are all terms that are inappropriate to describe this artist's approach. How important these contrasts are: how timely these opportunities to confront contradictory attitudes, conflicting visions. Palolo, pure exuberance: the Orient, refined elegance. There is a meeting of the two in this exhibition, where the West defines itself through its art and reveals something of its characteristic and overt aggressiveness.

But Palolo is definitely an artist and a creature of his studio, that intense universe he has created to nourish his creative impulse and focus his energies. His work space is like himself, like his sculpture: a battlefield where he and his troops, all talented, audacious, committed youths, share the task of conjugating piles of rocks with liquid metal and soft clay at the foundry in harmonious unison. It sounds like the dream world of an archaic alchemist: a sanctuary designed to convert the banal into riches, the spoiled in purity, releasing a new element that can emit a halo of spirituality. His works, however, are brutally physical, crude and rough at times, products of his search for the essence, for example, of the bull or the stallion, reinventions of Greek masterpieces or iconic representations of the highpoints of sacred art. In this sense, the artist considers he is an interpreter of ancient traditions more than a creative force. His way of working does not correspond to the customary canons of modern art.

He works in the midst of calculated disorder. The chaos, nevertheless, is more apparent than real, more accidental than intentional, more constructive than destructive. Obsession supersedes prudence. Immediacy comes before caution. The method is more explosive than elaborate. Palolo, in the inferno of his workshop, seems like a demon roasting infidels, a demigod practicing allusive alchemy. He wants to spread his interpretation of beauty through his own versions of perennial masterpieces. There are reminiscences of a mechanic's garage, something of an infernal laboratory, imbued with the spirit of a society of young poets or flea-market fanatics. In truth, he is a simple man with a drive to move ahead and spread his wonderings in work, and this world that surrounds Palolo assures the perpetuation of a work ethic, a life style, where the foreman imposes his will and the team adapts to the explicit rules that accompany the mercurial process. The apprentices are forged in the fire of this special vision.

Although the work may seem spontaneous, Palolo has developed a litany of thoughts that validate his artistic attitudes. He describes them: "The product or the work of art is no more than a reminder, the debris of the creative act." Or, as he points out in another essay: "The theme is almost always distant, secondary: a cat, a horse, a bull. Something like daily exercises that help to develop a special vision. Running at the edge of the sea from stone to rock (advancing, aided by the different living obstacles that destiny places in our path, running giddily in the adventure of living, developing a spontaneous and effective capacity to solve the most diverse problems, preparing oneself for those important events when one has the opportunity to do something): from rock to stone. Running the most quickly possible, falling the least possible, taking advantage of the first and last opportunity, my life, the maximum expression of nature, capable of creating and also destroying."

Palolo's artwork emerges from this cerebral pressure cooker, each piece a product of his personal premises. Many have travelled to Paris, Brussels, Madrid or Rome, and now they are on their way to China, where, in a pristine, contained environment, they will take on new life, new significance, and renewed beauty. Palolo the artist emerges from his grotesque cocoon and his work casts the spell of butterflies. Butterflies of species unknown to this legendary and distant land: a novice of the twenty-first century daring to show his handcrafted work to cultures whose origins predate our collective memory, though millennia later than that of Lascaux.

His bet might seem a risky one, but art is still art wherever it reveals its secrets, and this artist is prepared for the adventure. The Chinese, amidst their opening to a global future, are ready to be receptive. It is the correct moment; the timing is propitious for this experiment in weaving fresh understanding via new expressions in art.

Palolo has created a personal universe where he imposes his own rules. Nothing retains its pre-established structure within the studio. Metal turns to liquid, the teacher to student, assistants become teachers, stone seems human and takes the forms suggested by the artist's imagination. Team spirit spreads across time and place, making the atmosphere one of a Renaissance artist's workshop, in which the magic of alchemy endows a circumstantial alloy with characteristics of balance and beauty.

Metal envelops stone like a lover in a tight embrace that aspires to perpetuate eternity. Palolo is ceaseless dynamism: if he does not know, he acts. If he does not know how to act, he invents. That has led him to devise his own techniques, such as joining two transitory liquids — clay and metal — in harmonic amalgams, transforming them into new incarnations of archaic forms: animals and beings with rough and fractured surfaces, charged with enduring strength. The workshop is a centre for transfiguration where everyone contributes — the veteran alongside the novice — to carrying out the artist's dreams. The studio, in reality, has the attributes of an explorer's adventure at high sea, all are conscious of the risks as well as the rewards. The crew navigates toward uncertain destinations, the wanderings of the intrepid: victims or victimizers of the laws of nature? To be an artist/director of a workshop is a far cry from conducting an orchestra or leading an army.

From another angle, the flavour of the essentials is incorporated: the sensuality of the union of a man with his materials; the marriage of the tactile with the visual; the requisite tension between two inescapable dualities. In summary, our artist is intuitive, impulsive and irreverent. His work is the result of a confrontation with life itself. Palolo lives through his work — its realization is achieved by the weight of his input in each piece that carries his signature.

We must fit this voyage across Palolo's work and world into the suitcase that he will carry to the Orient. It is an attempt to circumscribe and contain both his career as well as the artist himself in a manageable space. Palolo does it in his way in the texts he himself has contributed to this book. Here, however, our intention is to do it from a close distance, nothing like the time and space that separates us from China, from the Far East. But, today, distances are not what they once were: much of their burden has disappeared with jets, computers and cellular phones. What remains of distance, in reality, is the result of man's ignorance, lack of contact, or curiosity. This distance can manifest itself in Chile, Europe or China.

Palolo dispatches his work in an attempt to diminish these distances, those of the spirit, knowledge, and fear. He is an ambassador without portfolio, from a country at the periphery, proposing a lasting liaison: he is an artist who exhibits without explanations, who shows without conditions. His goal is to join us together through stone, metal and clay, the universe's most humble elements. He wants to share without influencing, produce brotherhood without conquest, to learn without teaching. Let is enjoy his generous contribution!

Edward Shaw
Tunquen, Chile, July - 2006

1956 He was born in Santiago de Chile, Chile.
        He is one of the best self-taught sculptor of South America.
1975-80 He made a workshop in Fred Jarvis's House.
1981-83 When to New York where he made more than 60 sculptures, paintings drawings and silk-screen printings.
1985 He started to make experiments with different kinds of metals and stones, and he found a inedit way to mix stones and clay with melted metals

Sculptures Exhibitions (Selected)
2007 "Chile, Sculptures and Paintings", 1001 Art Gallery, Shanghai, China.
        "Piedras Chilenas Para la Gente de China" Solo Exhibition, Shanghai Art Museum. Shanghai, China.
        "Animal de piedra" Solo Exhibition, Animal Gallery, Santiago, Chile.
2006 From Chile to China, Solo Exhibition, 1001 Art Gallery, Shanghai, China.
        10th Shanghai Art Fair, 1001 Art Gallery, Shanghai, China.
        Selected Exhibition, Vivendi Gallery, Paris, France.
        Art London, Vivendi Gallery, Chelsea, UK.
        "Esculturas en Piedra" Selected Exhibition, SOECH Library, Santiago, Chile.
2005 9th Shanghai Art Fair, Arte Contemporaneo Cl, Shanghai, China.
        Latin American Art, Selected Exhibition, 1001 Art Gallery, Shanghai, China.
        "Toros y Caballos", Solo Exhibition, Victor i Fills, Madrid, Spain.
        "Con la mirada de un nino y algo mas" Solo Exhibition, Dieleman Galerie, Petit lez, Belgica.
        "Tentacion-es" Solo Exhibition, Trece Art Gallery, Santiago, Chile.
        Vala Art Gallery, Santiago. Chile.
2003 "Guernica Foundation", Madrid, Spain.
        Cecilia palma Art Gallery, Santiago, Chile.
        Casa Mater y Tierra Mater, Santiago, Chile.
2001 Tomas Andreu Gallery, Santiago, Chile.
2000 Ronald and Carol Benach, Chicago, USA.
1995 Modern Art Museum, Santiago, Chile.
        Pierides Museum Athenes Greece.
1993 Deep Spaces Fine Arts Museum.
        Cultural Center of Athens Greece.
1992 The Metting of the others Kassel Germany.
1988-92 During this time Chilean Government send his work as a gift to Juan Carlos The King of Spain. And 3 presidents in South America.
1991 Ansorena Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain.
1990 Fine Arts Museum, Santiago, Chile.
1989 Los Arcos Art Gallery, Santiago, Chile.
1988 Praxis Gallery, Santiago de Chile.
1986 "Los Talleres" Gallery, Santiago de Chile.
        Medical Association, Santiago de Chile.
1985 Aqua Dream gallery, Santiago de Chile.
1982 Bloomingdale's, Island of Fews, Soho, New York. USA.
        Arch gallery, Soho, New York. USA.
        City without walls Gallery, New Jersey. USA.
1981-82 Ollantay Gallery, Queens, New York. USA.
1981 Sack's Fifth Avenue. New York, USA.

1992 FIVE Chileans represent the country in Kassel Germany.
1994 First Place for Vitrubiano I for the front Building Santiago 2000.
1996 First Place for the Public sculpture in Tupakamaro SQUARE IN Sucre Bolivia.
2000 First Place for wall sculpture Palladio's Building in Santiag.
2004 First Place competition Indomita Vinegards Casablanca Chile.

Public Sculptures
2007 "Emplazamiento de cuatro de los grandes animals de piedra" Subcenter, Santiago. Chile.
2006 First Sculptures for Subcenter Square. Santiago. Chile.
        Korus de la Luna. Intercontinental Hotel. Seoul. Korea.
2000 "Mural de Fierro y Transparencias" Palladio Building, Santiago, Chile..
        "Two Monoicos Bulls and one more" Eladio Restaurant, Santiago, Chile.
1998 "Solidaridad II", Jamboree, Central Square.
        And two more sculptures at the secondary square, in the same area.
1996 "Pololeando en las Alturas". Sucre, Bolivia.
1994 "El Vitrubiano". Santiago Building 2000. Santiago. Chile.
1993 "Solidaridad." Theatre of the Chile University. Talca, Chile
1992 "Toro Sentado." Sculptures Park, Santiago. Chile.
        "Pajareando." Quinta Normal. Santiago. Chile.
1998 "La Cahuinera." Equestrian Club. Cachagua. Chile.

Outstanding Collections.
2007 "Geronimo" Monterrey Museum. California. USA.
2006 "Bull", "Bull I", "Pequeno Minoico Regordo", acquire by Mister Song. Wuxi. China.
2003 "Caballo Ecuestre de Leonardo."Arturo Soria Shopping Mall. Madrid. Spain.
        "Toro Semental". Munita, Cruzat y Claro. International Consultant Office. Santiago. Chile.
2001 "Caballo Guernica Toro con venas de fierro." Banmerchant, Santiago. Chile.
2000 "Caballo con Jinete y Toro de Goya." Ronald and Carol Benach. Chicago U.S.A.
1997 "Con la Mirada de un Nino". Salo S.A.Santiago. Chile.
1995 "El lado oscuro del Guernica." Modern Art Museum, Santiago. Chile.
        "Kuros". CCU, Santiago, Chile.
1992 "Mujer bailando sola, Toro Minoico and Caballo saltando" A.Edwards' Bank. Santiago. Chile.
1991 "Toro Cretense." Cocepcion Bank. Santiago. Chile.


1956 He was born in Santiago de Chile, Chile.
1975-80 He made a workshop in Fred Jarvis’s House.
1981-83 He went to New York where he made more than 60 sculptures, paintings drawings and silk-screen printings.
1985 He started to make experiments with different kinds of metals and stones, and he found a unique way to mix stones and clay with melted metals.

He’s the first sculptor in the world that can make use of these multiple materials successfully.
These unparalleled fine works bring him one of the remarkable artists in South America.
1988-1992 his “Pinguino” given as a present to the King of Spain by Chilean government, and collected by Spanish imperial family
“Torso de Caballo Polero” collected by famous Chilean diplomat Javier Perez, the 5th secretary general of the United Nations
“Caballo Batalla de Anghiari” collected by Carlos Menem, the President of Argentina
“Caballo Saltando” collected by Carlos Andres Perez, the President of Venezuela
He holds exhibitions many times in famous European cities like Athens, Madrid, Brussels, Paris etc., his works are collected by many American and European collectors.
His large-sized public sculptures are shown at some well-known South American cities.

Exhibitions (Selected):
1981 Sack’s Fifth Avenue. New York, USA.
1981-82 Ollantay Gallery, Queens, New York. USA.
1982 Bloomingdale’s, Island of Fews, Soho, New York. USA.
        Arch gallery, Soho, New York. USA.
        City without walls Gallery, New Jersey. USA.
1985 Aqua Dream gallery, Santiago de Chile.
1986 Los Talleres”Gallery, Santiago de Chile.
        Medical Association, Santiago de Chile.
1988 Praxis Gallery, Santiago de Chile.
1989 Los Arcos Art Gallery, Santiago, Chile.
1990 Fine Arts Museum, Santiago de Chile. Art industry, Iron in a sculpture, Open Museum
1991 Ansorena Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain.
1988-1992 During this time Chilean Government send his work as a gift to Juan Carlos The King of Spain, and three presidents in South America
1992 The Metting of the others Kassel Germany
1993 Deep Spaces Fine Arts Museum
        Cultural Center of Athens Greece
1995 Modern Art Museum, Santiago, Chile.
1995 Pierides Museum Athenes Greece
2000 Ronald and Carol Benach, Chicago, USA.
2001 Tomas Andreu Gallery, Santiago. Chile
2003 Guernica Foundation, Madrid. Spain.
        Cecilia palma Art Gallery, Santiago. Chile.
        Casa Mater y Tierra Mater, Santiago. Chile.
2005 Victor Fills, Madrid, Spain.
        Dieleman Galerie, Belgium.
        Trece Art Gallery, Santiago. Chile.
        1001 Art Gallery, Shanghai. China.

1992 FIVE Chileans represent the country in Kassel Germany.
1994 First Place for Vitrubiano I for the front Building Santiago 2000.
1996 First Place for the Public sculpture in Tupakamaro SQUARE IN Sucre Bolivia.
2000 First Place for wall sculpture Palladio’s Building in Santiago.
2004 First Place competition Indomita Vinegards Casablanca Chile.


In Santiago, Chile, Palolo Valdés would be considered as close to a celebrity as visual artists get. His sculptures have been selected by past presidents as gifts of state. He is a newsmaker who constantly appears in the society pages of local magazines and newspapers. Yet outside of Chile, I don't think Palolo is as well recognized as his unique contribution to sculpture should allow.

I first met Palolo when he was living in New York City in 1983. I lost touch with him for years but contacted him on a trip to Chile in 1994. The raw power of several of his sculptures blew me away. Palolo casts aluminium and bronze over river rocks held together with steel armatures. The result is a primitive looking form that appears to have been sculpted by Vulcan himself and erupted onto the face of the earth.

Brant Kingman

Palolo Valdés

Palolo Valdés is an sculpture whose work is giving life to wires and iron like structure of his sculptures, "filling up" the spaces with ceramics, stone, metal or draws resin from what increases the expression on his sculptures that acquire an therefore ancestral aspect. His work is inspired by pieces of the art history as well as mythical universal history personages, as well as horses and bulls.
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