The Cuerpos Pintados project began in 1981, when photographer-publisher Roberto Edwards invited a group of Chilean artists to use the human body as a support for their creations. Utilizing non-toxic pigments, the artists produced art work that was collected in a book titled Cuerpos Pintados: 45 Chilean Artists, and 150 photographs in large formats, along with a slide show composed of 1,200 images, were prepared for presentation.
The exhibition was inuagurated in 1991 at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile and later traveled throughout the world under the auspicies of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Relations. The show was visited by over 1,500,000 people in 32 major museums in the Americas and Europe. Among the venues were the Museu de Arte de Sâo Paulo, the Zal Maniezh of Moscow, the Venice Biennial, the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden, among others.
The book as well as the exhibition and the slide show received numerous prizes. Among them were awards at festivals in Arles and Mexico City for the exhibition; from Communication Arts magazine for the book; and in festivals at the Deutsches Museum in Munich and at Anaheim, California for the slide show. Cuerpos Pintados: 45 Chilean Artists has been published in English, French and German by Abbeville Press of New York.
Cuerpos Pintados: 45 Chilean Artists was first presented to the public in book form in an exhibition in October 1991 at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago. Together with a slide show, proof sheets of the uncut pages of the book were mounted on panels at the Museum: 15,000 people visited the presentation in just three days. The exhibition was awarded the Chilean Critics Circle Prize for that year.
This unprecedented success stimulated us to redefine the basic structure of the exhibition, adjusting it to the specific requirements of museums. One hundred mural-size photographic enlargements were produced to permit the public to appreciate the sharpness of painted skin textures, and a slide show was prepared that presented 1,200 images utilizing 24 retroprojectors and a 10 x 30 square feet screen. accompanied by music synchronized by computer, all contributing to reproduce the syncopated vision captured by the photographers lens. A tour of major museums in Latin America was quickly organized, and the massive audiences and enthusiastic response from the institutions themselves encouraged us to prepare an identical version of the exhibit, which traveled simultaneously across Europe.