Michelle-Marie Letelier was born in 1977 in Rancagua, Chile.
Inspired by juxtaposed historical contexts, Letelier’s drawings, installations, videos and sculptures encompass orchestrated transformations of minerals alongside extensive research into the landscapes where their exploitation and speculation take place.
Michelle-Marie Letelier spent her early life in Chuquicamata, the world’s largest open-pit copper mine located in the middle of the Atacama Desert in Chile. This mining town—highly adapted to the extreme arid conditions—was built in 1911 by the then Chile Exploration Company (Guggenheim Brothers) to accommodate their workers. When, due to environmental contamination and rising fuel costs, the town was to be buried, Letelier returned to document this process—a pivotal moment that ushered in her practice. The resettlement of the former inhabitants,the alteration of the landscape and the perceptions of the daily rhythm were some of the subjects on which the artist worked, creating a series of videos, photographs and installations that have been shown in Chile and in screenings abroad.
Since then, Letelier has been exploring commodity compounds, their properties and energy productions, enabling situations in which minerals are carefully combined and led by physical methods into significant states or applied directly into her drawings.
The work of Michelle-Marie Letelier carries heavy socio-political overtones; it is eloquently reflective especially in times of unveiled globalization, the increasing scarcity of raw materials and the crisis of the neoliberal model.