Ignacia Mesa

Born in 1981 - Chile


Ignacia Mesa was born in Chili in 1981. She did her post graduation in Art in London and Santiago, Chili where she lives. She is known for her engravings and photography.

The foundation for Ignacia's photography is etching and aquatint, a completely different process from photoengraving. The aquatint technique is particularly demanding and refined, allowing to obtain tinted or colored areas, contrary to drawing, in which it is usually obtained through etching. She sprinkles fine particles of rosin resin on a plate, which is then heated causing it to melt and is then stuck. These fine particles are in the background and the acid bites into the metal in a homogeneous manner. She tries to protect parts of the plate, so that it remains white and this is done by brushing with an acid resistant varnish.

The plate is dipped in acid and two colored zones are obtained: the one which isn't affected due to the varnish protector and therefore remains white while printing. This process can be repeated depending on the artist. The bitten zones due to acid create grayish shades.

Color eases its way between the particles, meaning the hollowed areas which leads to regular shades of gray whiles printing. Ignacia Mesa manages to achieve between 8 and 10 different tonal zones, by successively dipping the plate in acid, and covering some zones with varnish as she wants them white. More a zone is dipped in acid, the hollower the bite will be on the metal and therefore with more color. The varnish protected zones don't retain much color, but highlight the tinted areas in order to accentuate the photo-realistic, chiaroscuro depiction of her prints.

The Ventanas series photos, were taken at the Santa Rosa quarter, well-known streets that lead you to the Southern quarters of Santiago, Chili. Several buildings in ruins were destroyed between 2007 and 2008. Through the facades of buildings, ruined buildings, courtyards or even windows, the artist questions our relationship with the city and highlights architectural aspects which underline the ambiguous boundaries between the interior, where a passerby can't enter and the exterior, which is visible to everyone.

The black and white processing of these fragments bring out a romantic beauty. There aren't any human beings but just thin windows and building facades which play around with the geometric volumes of the layout, chiaroscuro and the depiction of the different surfaces.

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