Ediciones Caja Verde (Santiago de Chile) publishes hand-made fabric multiples that take the form of found-material assemblages, hand-knit scarves, and loose-leaf stacks. Owner Jose' Fontecilla commissions well-known contemporary artists to create maquettes or proofs, then pays unemployed weavers, seamstresses, and knitters in nearby mountain villages to replicate them. The projects are marketed under the Ediciones Caja Verde name much like a standard commodity, without reference to either the artist or the artisans.

Fontecilla is an irresistible character -- a tall, thin polyglot from a prominent Santiago family who won a Silver-medal in the high jump at the Barcelona Olympic Games (1992). Because of his charm and his family's vast business connections, he has been able to strike distributions deals for Ediciones Caja Verde projects with major South American retailers. Falabella, for instance, a department store with outlets in Argentina, Chile, Columbia, and Peru, has set up gallery-like Ediciones Caja Verde kiosks. Despite the now-near ubiquitous presence of the brand, Fontecilla claims he isn't even close to breaking even. In fact, he prefers it that way. "If the company were to turn a profit, I'd become obsessed with the financials and lose sight of my original purpose, which is to surreptitiously sneak art into mainstream culture. As it is, I don't care -- and thankfully, I can afford to not care." Fonticello won't reveal the names of the artists he is working with but it is rumored that Alfredo Jaar and Liliana Porter are among them.

The works on view here are but a modest sampling of Fontecilla's output. An assortment of colored ribbons hangs from a looped band of cream-colored fabric. Several monochromatic works layer fabric tears. The top of a bulbous, Mercury Glass vase is wrapped with a cadmium red blouse.

Art historians are likely to assume that the name "Caja Verde" is a reference to Marcel Duchamp's famous Green Box. It is not; it describes the company's building -- a former Irish consulate.

From the exhibition: "Costume Jewelry that Scratches the Skin"






  1. Shows: 2009+

On View


Scroll right to see editions >
Pictured above: Founder Jose Fontecilla

Pictured above: Founders Antonio Ricci and Gino Lucetti

Pictured above: Founders Antonio Ricci and Gino Lucetti