Juan Luis Martinez Holger (Valparaiso July 7, 1942 – Villa Alemana, March 29, 1993).Avant-Garde poet and visual artist.

Considered one of the most brilliant poets of his generation for his literary authorship, his erudition and for his ingenuity as a visual artist. He was the son of Luis Martinez Villablanca who was the general manager of the South American Steamship Company and a local businessman, his mother Isabel Elisa Holger, a woman of Nordic origin belonged to a very conservative family and was known to be a woman of great intellect, he abandoned school soon after finishing his primary education, he was considered to be a rebellious young man, both by his family and the people that identified him by his long hair, an unusual feature in this historical period in Chile. He will never return to an educational establishment, beginning a long period of reading and self-learning.

His brief but significant poetic legacy consists of two books: The New Novel and Poems of the Other.  Martinez was always highly attentive to the quality of the work he published and for this reason, the only books he published during his lifetime were The New Novel and a peculiar book-object called “Chilean Poetry”. He developed a particular way of standing up to the art which led him to ignore any reference or academic affiliation with any school or movement. Despite his importance in the development of the Chilean avant-garde movement, he remained marginalised, accompanied by a small number of followers. The search for the artist is summarised in his own words: “The universe is the effort of a ghost to become a reality” as expressed in The New Novel.

His work is characterised by a close relationship between the object as art and word, between the visual and text. He devoted himself to figurative abstraction and collage, an activity that was extended to the assemblage and the first approaches to object art in Chile. He is capable of building a poetic language through quotes, pictures, comics, newspaper clippings, objects, photographs, maps and others, using the humorous irony of the surrealists, the presence of questions and enigmas, the impersonal language of physical-mathematical problems and arithmetic, axioms, assumptions of science fiction, the game of bricolage, the literary use of white space, the Chinese characters, small hooks, handfuls of dirt, death certificates.

 

 

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