Aesthetica Art Prize: Interview with Finalist Inés Molina Navea

Aesthetica Art Prize: Interview with Finalist Inés Molina Navea

In her digital portraits, Inés Molina Navea superimposes details from photographs of up to five different faces in order to create images of people who have never existed. As well as being a de-construction of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s idea of “the decisive moment” in photography, Molina Navea wants to use these images to reveal modern practices of social control. Her 541 días (541 days) selected for exhibition in the Aesthetica Art Prize has recently been purchased by Hiscox and is now included in a major international art collection. We talk to Molina Navea about her work and this latest accolade.

A: What does it mean for you to have your works bought by Hiscox and therefore included in a major international art collection?
IMN: The purchase of my photographic series 541 días by the Hiscox Collection is great for me as an artist. It was the best way to close the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition at York St Mary’s, which helped me to obtain the economic resources to develop my work.

A: What do you want audiences to take from 541 días?
IMN: In the beginning 541 días was a local project. The starting point was a Chilean law, which was created to prosecute Mapuches in a military court, as well as some citizens who was deeply in disagreement with how the Chilean State carried out social politics.

The fundamental purpose of this law was to produce the face of the enemy against the citizens. In my opinion, this “enemy” was just an invention; something thoroughly fabricated and the work of an ideological fiction.

These kinds of laws are imposed by States to defend themselves from citizens: to keep them under control. I will say that the faces in the series of photographs that I have created are just as false as the enemy that the State has invented.

A: Where would you like to see your work exhibited in the future?
IMN: I like special spaces where something could happen; places with a history and their own stories, such as the Chilean Museum of Memory and Human Rights.

A: Are you working on any new projects?
IMN: Yes, I am. Actually, I have been taking more photographs for the 541 series and have been working with analog photography. In my work I am inspired by Francis Galton’s composite portraits concerned with identifying the criminal archetypical face in England in the end of the 19th century.

A: What do you have planned for the future?
IMN: I would like to continue working with Salvatore Elefante and Luca Pagliari as part of PHEED raising awareness of issues through photography. I hope new projects will arise from this.

Since exhibiting in the Aesthetic Art Prize group show, I have been invited to participated in another exhibition, Territorios Fronterizos, la fotografía más allá de la imagen, which will be held in Santiago de Chile this year. This exhibition is based on the Nathalie Goffard’s book La imagen Criolla Prácticas fotográficas en las artes visuales de Chile. In this book a reference is made to 541 días. Two of the photographs from this series will be displayed at M100, Santiago.

Entries are open for the Aesthetica Art Prize until 31 August. To register, visit

1. Inés Molina Navea, 541 días. Part of the Hiscox Collection.

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