Volviendo a la Tierra
“This is the end of a hundred years’ history of a mining camp that became a small city of 25, 000 people. This is the last part of a story of a death foretold, related to an important part of the development of my country.”
From 2003 to 2005 Cristián Ureta photographed the Chilean mining town of Chuquicamata. Environmental hazards and the expansion of the nearby copper mine led to its closure in 2007, forcing its inhabitants to relocate to the nearby city of Calama. Ureta’s work is a visual study of what was left behind, with his measured black-and-white images unflinchingly documenting the largely unpopulated streets, houses, and public spaces harshly lit by the desert sun. Volviendo a la Tierra eloquently bears witness to the memory of a town and its people before it returns to the earth, ultimately buried by the industry that created it.
Cristian Ureta, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1973, currently lives and works in Santiago, Chile. He studied advertising at the University of the Pacific in Santiago de Chile and is currently a candidate for a master’s degree in image studies at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado. A self-taught photographer, Ureta began working in the medium in 1997 and has subsequently won several nation and international prizes and scholarships, and has exhibited extensively throughout Chile and at multiple international photography festivals. In 2012 he published the monograph VIVEN: Periplo por Poetas de Chile, followed by Volviendo a la Tierra in 2012. This is the first solo exhibition of Volviendo a la Tierra in the United States.