Chilean artist Don Lucho creates installations from found cardboard that simulate extraordinary scenes from everyday life. During a street fair in Santiago, Chile, Don Lucho crafted a fruit and vegetable stand, titled “El Puesto de Don Lucho,” stocked fully with items made of paper. He stayed there the entirety of the fair, acting just like another ordinary fruit stand.
“I sold a lot of cardboard fruits. The…reactions were different, some were angry because the fruit was fake, others thought it was a hidden camera show, other people laughed. A lot of people asked many questions like what is this fruit for or if there was real fruit inside the cardboard fruit? The real fruit sellers got very angry and started shouting: Stop buying cardboard fruit! It’s not real fruit!” (source)
Another one of his installations, “Casa de Carton,” depicts an entire apartment, kitchen, toilet and all, completely made of cardboard. With a skateboard leaning against the wall, clothes thrown about, and an unmade bed, the apartment, despite its paper construct, perfectly mimics a truly lived in environment. He has also created various installations that reproduce accidents. On the streets of Santiago, Chile, Lucho, along with collaborator Quillo, created a cardboard car crash, as well as a small air craft that looks as if it has fallen from the sky.
Don Lucho’s work aims to question materiality both is an artistic sense as well as a monetary one. Through imitating the real, using materials found on the street, Don Lucho provokes the viewer to assess what value truly is — what does it mean for an object to be worth something? His work falls in line with the postmodern notion of simulating the real, which in turn, become “signs” of the real. If his work can provoke emotions and thoughts just as the genuine objects could, then, what is the true difference? Does Lucho’s work prove that the simulated can be just as powerful as the authentic? Or, does it prove that the authentic no longer has such a individualized meaning, as the simulated actually deflates meaning of the real? (think Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster Series). Lucho states, “the confusion people feel when they first encounter the scene makes them doubt what is real and what impact it should have one them.” (source)