the Bluecoat: Xavier Ribas: Nitrate

10 April – 5 July 2015

Open daily


The system of colonial exploitation led by British companies in Chile’s Atacama desert comes under scrutiny in Nitrate, the first solo exhibition in the UK by Spanish artist Xavier Ribas.

Produced between 2009 and 2014 Ribas’s forensic examination of sites, artifacts and images, traces the highly prized mineral that, once processed, can be used as fertiliser or as ingredient for the manufacture of explosives. For more than 50 years, nitrate connected the destinies of the desert landscapes of northern Chile with merchant houses and shipping companies in the port of Liverpool.

Exhibition organised by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and co-produced with the Museum of the University of Navarra, Pamplona, in collaboration with the Bluecoat, with the support of The Arts & Humanities Research Council and Acción Cultural Española, AC/E (Spain’s State Agency for Cultural Action).

Image: Xavier Ribas: “And the Far Silence of Brooding Star Time”, 2013 © Xavier Ribas. Reproduced by permission of Mabel Loomis Tod Papers (MS 486C). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.


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