Francesco Copello, Chilean (1938 - 2006)

Francesco Copello

Autobiography from Francesco Copello

According to my lovely mother in Copello included from crazy saints, related to Cardinal Copello of Buenos Aires and the creator of the wireless telegraph, Guglielmo Marconi.

My maternal grandfather was a doctor, Norero David Knight, the King of Italy and his wife Colomba Monteverde, who had four sons, Xerxes, Darius, Luisa and White.

My father Francesco Copello had a strong character and adventurous.

Called " Checco " was blonde beautiful blue eyes , had left home very early to get to travel the world . Rebelling against the tyranny of their older siblings , the age of fifteen he sailed to South America. He came to Chile for the first Centenary of Independence in 1910 , but his goal was the city of Tacna , where it waited for a job in an emporium , led by Genoese, the Canepa . Their stories were dotted with endless anecdotes recounting his travels as a salesman in the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands . AI after three years of novitiate in the wholesale house and feeling exploited couple decided from fellow volunteer to fight in the First World War in ltaly reached to receive military training before being sent to the front destined to fight in the trenches. AI after two years of hard combat, the grenade explosion temporarily blinded him , was captured Austro-Hungarian Army and confined to a labor camp in the Moldavian plain , where they remained until 1918.

On the beaches of Lido from Chiavari, Checco met Norero sisters , Louise and White . My father had that Luisa was made up even before entering the sea. American ends up falling Luisa handsome and rich. AI after a brief courtship , which has been thoroughly examined pair Checco family Columban Norero , married in the church of San Rocco . During their honeymoon in Naples beginning of the troubles , and soon came terrible news with the depression of 1929 , following which my father lost most of his fortune by breaking society Genoa harbor tugs , which had invested their capital . These financial setbacks depressed my mother pushing to emigrate again, this time to Chile, Valparaiso, where Luisa lived two brothers , Xerxes and Darius , who had been sent to South America to escape the war from 1914 to 1918 .

My luck was my mother sensitive , naive and prodigious . Suffocating love for their children , our future astrologer , sacrificing everything in somber tones classic drama and bitter end . The doctors told him to forget about conceiving again after a caesarean and fever from an infection that followed surgery to remove his first born son died.

My father noodle industry develops its flag, located in Mapocho down a street without asphalt, Molina Lavin, against which we lived in a small house with big rooms and the services we rented his partner , Antonio Canata . My mother past ten years , resigned to her fate , unexpectedly became pregnant. It's a miracle , doctors exclaimed . Suddenly I appeared , kicking furiously until they had to get me out prematurely from the womb of my mother.
I was the angel who had been the response of your prayers.
No love could compare to the one I received from my mother! "

"I was born skinny, my mother thought I was fragile and put me in Ligurian culinary treats fat, cod liver oil and wines post. I grew up with energy and rage, making me china with care and riots by "il bambino d'oro ', which enriches everything he touched with his hands fine."
"My little world collapsed with a crash the day I stepped on the Scuota ltaliana, where my parents had sent me five years. My first day was dismal ... I felt the rejection of class and insults and blows made ​​me understand why my "weirdness". They came up with a nickname, "Fifi", becoming the focus of Scuola. I was able to be moved to another school, Marist, two blocks from my new home in Santo Domingo and Maturana. One of my many punishments ...
They were hard Spanish, educating the Indians, mestizos bastards and canes, the cross and stick ".

My first trip to Europe with my parents and my sister.
This long tour of various countries will determine my future.
" At fourteen, my mother came up that I needed a trip to Italy ,what drives and eternal eight months ! They were the happiest days after so many rejections matalocas abound in Santiago . I had won a lot of people there friend and nobody thought that I was weird and different."

In contrast, in Chile, I was wearing a chest wound, I had touched forever punished me severely , but he had learned to avoid reality with the mind. I had been forbidden to be "normal" . Improvising with dance , as dancing , there was in me an Intuitive Eros , who had stored quantities of rhythms in the body. My body of a schoolboy crazy neighborhood parties with tropical rhythms, mambo and cha cha cha , tango and hot new tracks rock burst a Yankee torpedo Eight around the clock .

Work on "Flag". From this period are my first cross-dressing performances: With two classmates formed a trio and present various cabaret shows in Santiago and Valparaiso, is a time of conflict between my 'diversity' and a job I hate. I begin to draw in free time and long hours tabajo. From these experiences later write a play, "The Doll".

" I relive the socialist experience , following the romantic notion of revolution. It was a false move , the worst mistake you could make , leaving my successful recording career in New York , to fall in the overall surrealism and expensive pay my pride .
I came to my madness performística experience . After my experiences with the company of Robert Wilson , I just want to express with the body, producing living art.
At the beginning I live in a hotel writing notebooks suspect are lost in time or fall under the clutches of Carlos Leppe . In their everyday story that happens to me , what happens on the streets , queues and protests . Even writing about my fantasies , chasing the " living art " .
"I think in my mind an irreverent " Piece for Locos " that associates various artists and techniques which breaks the rules of censorship ,is a hybrid ! I want to register a memory so intense and unique moment in the history of our country , the socialist revolution. the memory of that moment in the street , stopping to take a picture impala - memory on a field trip full of surprises. I return to live in a utopia ? This example outdated idealism of 1968, now he was in a impasse : economic, interventos CIA and internal opposition . peaceful revolution became an arduous political struggle chaotic and devastating , ending in tragedy. "
During his short stay in Chile, in the year '73 presented several tableaux - vivant , Luis Poirot photographed . Also scheduled for crazy performance part for presentation at the National Museum of Fine Arts, the September 11, 1973 .
" He was returning on a flying visit , after 21 straight years of absence to see my old age in the eyes of friends and family in endless dinners, full of false promises , the homeland of glorious future , teaching my experiences. And then when you come back hopefully , you experienced back spins . All with betrayals , resentments of friends and relatives educated and elegant , while I am only a temporary visit , someone step in real .. the eternal traveler ,abroad! " (Planet Brooklyn , p . 27. Writings unpublished )
" At the airport I play a jester anarchic , hard floor , even heels between gypsy and hobo , I dance a fandango bulerías for Customs guys . Noto knowing glances between two strips that I alone, they curiously unhealthy reviewing my garments and costumes with sequins and glitter, my old hatbox , capelines crammed with delicate and fine . Opening the folder full of prints, examining some to make sure they were not political propaganda posters . When looking at a porn - themed lithograph gay the strips sinister look with a half smile on their faces tajeadas with trade marks . I wonder how much money I carry . I answer that I have about five thousand dollars, some currency and my green card in the United States. Sudo strenuous icy when asked to show the contents . I think that if I refuse full review , discovering several checks in my girdle. In a humiliating and degrading ritual , I lighten the wallet of hundred dollars : take them and look to the light, the palpable , the wrinkle and finally put in the pocket , with the excuse that they are more false unobjectionable that Judas . " ( Performance photography , page 67. )
" ... We finally left aboard a rickety plane with our works , Silvia and Sergio Castillo, Carmen Aldunate , and I together to the police station Chilean shipping to Sao Paulo Biennial , Luz Pereira , we get to travel aboard an apparatus Brazilian Air Mail .
"I return to be the defector , in a plane that takes me to Brazil . I imagine a random uncertain future in my country . Perhaps an anonymous end in a fight between shots for fucking .

After his stay in Chile and erratic tour of Brazil , published in 1974 Calendar .
" During my return to New York , I have the feeling of having lost my recorder successful role . I write , housed in an old , quirky boutique hotel on Fifth Avenue , close to the Village, where artists and tourists staying . We devise new roles for my Calendar unfinished , after the tragic outcome of the socialist revolution . I know Antono Wren , a photographer of 24 years , who offers me finish . After examining the vast material obtained by Luis Poirot , I feel that the image group selected requires the presence of a pair of Divas ...
" In my psyche sick of nostalgia, my new engravings resemble " grotesque " so intense that they cause the cry of a young housekeeper horrified . Is the version of a half open brain what produces such a reaction? Or is it perhaps a strange flower , navigating a river of blood which causes such access, the hysterical collapse of his powers of discernment ?
" My five prints mocking and rejecting expressionist get dealers to which they intend excited to be able to sell at least a couple of issues. Them They reason that new commercial images are not too different from my previous and style , geometric and elegant. argument with them and regain my emotional temperament , act and react in the moment, giving some claws with my tiger claws . John Barton accuses me of communism, of escape to Chile to live the experience of Dr. Salvador Allende , when here you had However, challenges me , and all I lost by your desire performístico insane and rebellious. Nor forgive me from having sent before a suicide bomber , a booklet entitled "The Printer" ( The printer prints ) a satire of 45 revolutions per minute . I ignore all kinds of prudence , preferring constantly exposing myself to death to feel more alive. played with danger and disaster harvested art merchant , John Barton and Alexander Brook , furious and ruthless for my " sin of youth " .
" ... In the dim light of a wintry day , I had to throw away the mask of my demented pantomime . I finish my action inside dramatically empty space : a mattress on the floor in the skillet stove and a pot - acknowledging my defeat , among suitcases , costumes and writings spread across the floor of small apartment that I rented in the Village. Neither prophets or oracles , or witches or sorcerers were able to fix my financial problems.

"I attend a performance of" A Letter to Queen Victoria " . Observe the work of Robert Wilson with nostalgia and regret. Salgo thousand theater prisoner of guilt about leaving my mistakes Manhattan , my spacious loft on the fifth floor perched nearby the Hudson River after selling my press hurry Charles Brandt and losing on a bend in the road my intaglio matrices " (this step or topic Brooklyn? )

" To return to settle in Santiago , after 33 years of absence symbolically choose Fool's Day , just in time to see all the relatives gathered for the marriage of my nephew Henry Junior with Miss Chile Paola Falcone , suspecting - while dancing at the police Club which hosted the event , I would soon become a " perpetual foreigner" , discriminated and cheated , victim of theft and robbery in cold blood in the art world , the only one I belonged through of a creative life .
" Like a Fallen Angel in desolation and oblivion , I need after having lived the drama of Mark , " sanctify " in the cultural periphery to meditate and continue my work. I decide to finish my memoirs, aware of the importance to one day have my witness.
" Back to my old friends and relatives became depressing, since in many years away they had forgotten my existence . That first summer I retired in the garden between manuals and dictionaries. I gathered my notes and mime classes I attended during the past eight years , the process of translating study by Paul Curtis to Spanish . "
" My return to Chile in 1996 , after 33 years of absence, is motivated by my urge to find a paradise in the South Seas , where accumulated finish my writing through my journey angelic three continents .
My " addiction letters" begins concocting sicopatrióticas texts for my performances in the seventies , and still later in the eighties , during the love I lived with Sandro Chia in New York. The weather was more insistent every day increasing my anxieties relate my experiences with my potential replacement , losing my workshop , a lover, a house and my identity as an artist , remembered my psychological vulnerability and my physical mortality .
" For days , months , years, " I anchored me in front of the typewriter " with tenacious resolve to leave testimony of my experiences with artists from Andy Warhol to Adolph Gottlieb , and the objective knowledge of the body, increasing the experiences as memorial expressive space and movement , and solidified with the bases of body art that I practice since the sixties .
" Upon my arrival was a stranger, I felt I had showing my work in galleries and museums , opening a niche with machetes in the harsh local realities. Needed to recover three decades of absence without any effect on the national collective memory . In the land of jaguars to survive as architect I should use incense burner , pits in the stomach , publicly masturbate walking on broken glass . Breath anxieties and traumas habituation to return and found a kind of phobia that returnees experienced firsthand the excesses of military rule. "
" ... In 1997 , thanks to the complicity of Ernesto Muñoz managed to " introduce into society " peripheral to the national art world . With unparalleled skill , Ernesto was achieved auspices of the firm Langton & Clarke , through one of its directors , Patricio Guzman, Felipe Vilches type catalog " Psicopatriótico I". My work was the starting point of this exhibition could check the development of my work. This sample was composed of three visual artists Guzman imposed by the MAC : Orlando Avendaño , Fernando Estibill and Magdalena Atria . It was titled " Footprints " .
" The photographic records of my performances were a revolution , which served as a trigger to the male nude and gay confessions , a scream in the middle of DC postdictatorial cartuchismo . These highly professional images awakened from their slumber Carlos Leppe television to himself , now dedicated to furnishing of the TV series , who unexpectedly returns to the tracks blessed by Pastor unfair and unruly empire Meringue with Lucuma , where Thomas Andreu exposing fake gold and bait , transforming the gallery into an oriental bazaar full of replicas and amenities to new rich.
" In the short time I exposed my collages on the Corporación Cultural de Las Condes. Since 1971 working in this technique and dramatic episodes autobiographical events . Then Francisco Brugnoli invited to chateaux , showing my forbidden fruit , my best works. He and his wife itchy - who in my previous visits to Chile I did glimpse a future splendor on my return to the land - filled whispers interjections and castle tower , but in the catalog of the exhibition wrote what gringos called "non sense" (nonsense ) :

" The non-place of Copello , is the only possible for a foreign child and that alone remains abroad. That one place is the non-place of the migrant as a claimant of the place ".

On his return to Chile in 1996 held exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Cultural Corporation of Las Condes , which are worth Critics Award for Art in 1997 . In addition , installing a print workshop at the University of Chile and teaches at the School of Theatre of the same university , participating in the Festival of New Trends and lecturing Theatrical Performance . Notably , performances Vogue, Family Reasons , Warhola and The Journey .

I framed properly both exhibitions and spent a considerable sum. I got excited with the hypothetical sales of my works. Something very difficult for an outsider , manipulated invisible character in the national art history . My fatigues gave me at least one official recognition Award 1997 Art Criticism . The critic Waldemar as he handed the award Sommer told me :

-Here not understand his art , too ahead of his time !
In 1999 Retrospective exhibition of prints, photographs, installations , collages and videos in the National Museum of Fine Arts, giving a strong and historical testimony about his aesthetic experience.
In 2001 with the support of Fondart performs a series of 14 screenprints on paper and canvas , which are exposed in the MAC Valdivia and later , in the Cultural Corporation of Las Condes.
In August 2002 , is the launch of " performance Photography " at the Museum of Fine Arts. On this occasion the videista Claudio Rojas, the documentary "Chilean Boy ," which chronicles the last years of the artist's career .
In April 2003 , presents a retrospective of his work at the Art Gallery of the University of Concepción , entitled " Memory Exercises " and early 2004 , performance at the Auditorium of the same university called " Parts crazy."
In 2004 , " Rainbow " exhibition of oil paintings by Cecilia Palma Gallery .
In October-November 2005 , " Stellar " , National Museum of Fine Arts. Performance autobiographical video presentation and installation.

I actually feel like one of those tortured I should represent my viscera hanging from a metal rod . Soon I began to feel bad physically locked in that cage , and penniless . I concluded that I am a stateless person in a strange place still anchored in a past filled with hatred and revenge . "
" Why after thirty years things had changed in a country marked by Thanatos are multiplying today when unemployed , traffickers, robbers , corrupt politicians and financial scandals ?

"Here Dionisio killed ! " Read a poster advertising the entrance of the city.
" Here Violeta Parra left to die , to Paul Rokha , Adolfo Couve , John Capra and many others whose voices were silenced by the evil and wickedness without end."

Artist's Gallery


RoGallery Logo

Phone: 800.888.1063 or 718.937.0901 - Email:

47-15 36th Street - Long Island City, NY 11101