Visual artist, illustrator, painter, printmaker and video artist, born in Santiago on May 11, 1940, and died in New York, USA, on June 9, 1993. Studied engraving at the Workshop 99 and graduated in architecture from the Catholic University in 1961. In the early sixties, Downey began working with the techniques of video art, a discipline in which pioneered the world by the Korean Paik Nam Jum. His work is characterized by combining the languages of printmaking, video and installation to raise issues such as the idea of confrontation between Aboriginal and Western cultures, placing his work in the boundaries of art, anthropology, aesthetics and scientific speculation . Downey also made electronic sculptures in which photoelectric cells activated lights and sounds with the movements of viewers.
Between 1963 and 1965 he attended the Atelier 17 master engraver William Hayter in Paris. They made contact with Roberto Matta. In 1966 he settled in the U.S., where he studied design at the Pratt Institute in New York, then worked as a teacher in that institution until his death. In that city was associated with artists such as Andy Warhol and John Lennon. Perception group was linked to the Radical Software magazine and had exclusive contract with the famed Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. Juan Downey received more than 30 grants, receiving twice the Guggenheim, Rockefeller and the Organization of American States (OAS).
In 1968 appeared on the market the first home video camera, which acquired immediately. Such an instrument would mark the most important course of his career: Downey became one of the creators of video art worldwide. His unique style was to take pictures of reality, then, for artistic purposes, manipulated in editing, these videos were used in performances and installations. Downey held over 46 solo exhibitions and participated in more than a hundred group exhibitions in major galleries and museums worldwide.
Sources: www.artistasplasticoschilenos.cl (National Museum of Fine Arts) and www.portaldearte.cl