Manifiesto. Hablo por mi diferencia (Manifesto. I Speak from My Difference)

Pedro Lemebel

Santiago de Chile, Chile, 1952 - 2015
Recent acquisition
  • Date: 
  • Descriptive technique: 
    Photograph, lightbox and audio recording (11')
  • Dimensions: 
    85 x 120 cm
  • Edition/serial number: 
    Unique work
  • Category: 
    Installation, Action
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 
  • On display in:

Pedro Mardones Lemebel is a writer and artist. He adopted the surname of his mother as a sign of his commitment to the feminine condition. In the early eighties, Lemebel forged intellectual, political and affective ties with the circle of feminist writers who were linked to the left and to the resistance against the dictatorship of the Pinochet regime: Pía Barros, Raquel Olea, Diamela Eltit and Nelly Richard. Nevertheless, his open homosexuality was not accepted by some members of these left-wing groups, and in response he wrote a manifesto titled Hablo por mi diferencia (I Speak from My Difference), which was read in public for the first time in 1986 at the Mapocho train station in Santiago de Chile, at the same time as a secret meeting of leftist dissidents was being held. For the reading, Lemebel himself wore high-heeled shoes, which came to be a natural part of his performances. This piece combines a self-portrait of Lemebel, who appears with the hammer and sickle drawn on his face, while an audio recording of his voice recites the aforementioned manifesto, which is both deeply poetic and soundly reasoned. Many artists in Latin America, and especially those from countries in the Southern Cone who in the eighties had endured repression from military dictatorships, developed practices based on action and intervention, from a stance of political commitment and the defence of non-normative sexualities. To do so, Lemebel makes use of queer performative strategies stemming from artistic feminism, such as the use of masquerade, costume and transvestism, on which an image of non-victimised subordination is constructed, and through which stereotyped representations of gender are questioned.

Lola Hinojosa