According to the documentation available on this website —collected through an endeavor that began in 2010— we can confirm that Pedro Mardones Lemebel (1952-2015) and Francisco Casas Silva (1959) formed the collective Yeguas del Apocalipsis (Mares of the Apocalypse) in 1987, in Santiago de Chile. Beginning that same year, they undertook a series of interventions and politico-artistic positions, in different parts of the country, and continued until 1993. Formed while the country remained under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, the collective made work throughout the final years of this period and during the Chilean “democratic transition.” In the second half of the nineties, Casas and Lemebel came together at various points to enact a range of actions and events outside of Chile, which, taken together, signify the early and fragmented internationalizing of their work.
In presenting the history of the Yeguas de Apocalipsis, this archive considers not only the artistic actions, but also the varied politico-intellectual alliances that Lemebel and Casas established over the course of their work, as their artistic practice cannot be detached from the social and political juncture at which they took place. The art actions that we present here are those that left a documented trace, and do not cover the total number of appearances by the Yeguas del Apocalipsis (many of them realized spontaneously, and without prior invitation). The heightened importance of physical bodies gave the interventions carried out by Lemebel and Casas the sense of a happening, which allows us to describe their production through the language of performance. However, the word performance implies a certain stance, especially among those who, working from Latin America, seek to produce conceits that trouble the international centers of art. The Yeguas took a critical stance before the art system, mistrusting its models and modes of validation, choosing instead to slip in and out of “performance” as a category. In fact, they didn’t see themselves as part of any literary or artistic tradition, nor did they affiliate themselves with any movement from the era. As a result, their practice occurred outside art institutions, as they chose to privilege alternative settings and the public space of the city.