Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento (A mile of crosses on the pavement) (1979) is the name of the “action” performed by Lotty Rosenfeld (b. 1943) that forms the basis of the essay “Una resta de sentido” (A Subtraction of Meaning) by the Franco-Chilean theorist and critic Nelly Richard. Rosenfeld’s most iconic work, it has been staged in different parts of the world, including at the White House in Washington, D.C., the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago, Chile, and Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany. It has been staged several times over the course of the last forty years. A video of the “action” was shown a month after it was originally installed, and a photograph of Rosenfeld’s project appeared in a photo-book by the same name, Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento (Ediciones C.A.D.A, 1980), accompanied by an essay by the writer Diamela Eltit.
Rosenfeld created her art in Chile during the period following the 1973 coup d’état. She was part of what was known as the Escena de Avanzada. Her thoughtful and critical discourse about social and political conditions in Chile at the time is a constant in her work. She was a member of the art action group CADA, whose members came from many disciplines. Among the group’s members were the writers Diamela Eltit and Raúl Zurita, the video producer Lotty Rosenfeld, the sociologist Fernando Balcells, and the artist Juan Castillo. From 1979 to 1985, the group produced a number of art actions aimed at specific communities as well as the broader population, condemning widespread social and political conditions in Chile that the government’s official propaganda failed to mention.
CADA’s best-known art interventions, or “actions,” included No + [No More] (1983–89), ¡Ay Sudamérica! (Oh, South America!) (1981), Inversión de escena (Scene Inversion) (1979), and Para no morir de hambre en el arte (To Avoid Starving to Death in Art) (1979).
Originally from France, Nelly Richard (b. 1948) arrived in Chile in 1970, during the early days of the Unidad Popular government and three years before the fascist coup d’état. She has worked as a cultural theorist, art critic, essayist, and curator. She founded the magazine Revista de Crítica Cultural and has authored many books, including Abismos temporales (Temporal Abysses) (2018), Residuos y metáforas: ensayos de crítica cultural sobre el Chile de la transición (Waste Material and Metaphors: Cultural Critiques on Chile During the Transition) (1998), La insubordinación de los signos (cambio político, transformaciones culturales y poéticas de la crisis) (The Insubordination of Signs: Political Change, Cultural Transformations, and Poetics of the Crisis)] (1994), and Margins and Institutions: Art in Chile Since 1973 (1986). In the wake of the 1973 coup, Richard became a pivotal figure in the local art scene by fostering debate about Chilean culture and acting as a theorist for what became known as the Escena de Avanzada. A distinguished intellectual, she has written extensively about feminist theory, philosophy, literary criticism, and art history.