Francisco Tapia Salinas, known as Francisco Papas Fritas (November 8, 1983, San Miguel, Santiago de Chile) is a Chilean visual artist and activist. Recognized nationally and internationally by an artistic style of deep radical political sense, called operational art, that is, art put at the service of criticism to established social order.
His multidisciplinary work is characterized by a high political and media content, from which he seeks to intervene and modify reality by proclaiming civil disobedience. He is the author of several controversial works where he has placed in the center of the critics areas related to the culture, the institutional and judicial policy, both Chilean and international.
Among them, the work Ad Augusta Per Angusta stands out which gave him visibility at an international level.
In his works he mainly seeks to address the institutional and judicial political reality. What defines its style as an operational art, that is, as an art put at the service of criticism to the established order.
His creations of a multidisciplinary nature, according to his own words, are born to intervene and modify reality, especially in areas of institutional and judicial policy, which defines it as operational art. He is the author of several controversial works. Among them, the work Ad Augusta Per Angusta that gave it visibility at a world level.
Francisco Papas Fritas (Francisco Tapia Salinas) was born in Santiago de Chile on November 18, 1983. He lived his childhood in the district of San Miguel in the Metropolitan Region. From his childhood he was characterized by a critical awareness of his environment, which led him early to discover in art a path of expression. This critical spirit led him at the age of 16 to abandon formal studies to begin a process of self-training as a visual artist. In this process he was considered as a not subdict to the fatherland after refusing to fulfill the obligatory military service.
With his early works he concentrated the attention of the media. Due to both the acid, critical and controversial style presented in each of them, where he tackled themes ranging from criticism to political, judicial and cultural environment. In addition, to the unusual thing that was for the national artistic scene the existence of a self-formed artist with these aptitudes. For that reason, already at the age of 27 he had been invited to participate in international exhibitions in China, Costa Rica and Italy.
In the year 2010 was carrying out a project of denunciation against the conditions of overcrowding and violence in the prison of San Miguel in Santiago, prison located few blocks of his house. During that process, on December 8, 2010, the fire broke out in the San Miguel prison, where 81 inmates were killed without any help from the gendarmerie. This fact motivated the artist to make a turn in his works, from the formality of installation, video, performance and sculpture to other forms of activism.
Thus, together with César Pizarro, a relative of one of the inmates who was the victim of the accident, he began to experience a field of artistic evidence and political mobilization, which resulted in the creation of the NGO 81 Reasons: Relatives of the victims of the incident.
Through this non-governmental organization, César Pizarro and Francisco Papas Fritas began a systematic campaign of denunciation and justice in the face of the prison conditions that triggered the events of December 8, as well as of a complaint against all those found guilty by this fact .
Thus, with the support of the relatives of the victims, these actions led, during the course of three years, to become managers of a battle against the prison crisis in Chile, which led the artist to confront high Gendarmerie commanders and various Authorities of the Chilean State. Due to both the visibility of the abuse of power by the Gendarmerie of Chile and the denunciation of the terrible humanitarian conditions in which prisoners live in Chile. As well as the complaint against the lack of legislation in matters of social reintegration for inmates.
Thus, Francisco Papas Fritas began to weave forms of artistic-political expression between activism, denunciation and modification of social problems, and the visibility of his projects. From this he made the works Deber (2012) and Diálogos de Emancipación (2012).
In the course of these works, a couple of students from the Universidad del Mar asked the artist to present a performance to make visible the economic and accreditation irregularities of this institution. Thus, in March 2013, Francisco Papas Fritas spent about a month in taking the central house of Universidad del Mar, located in Reñaca, Region of Valparaíso, Chile, with the objective of knowing in depth the problems of students and then performing an artistic project.
The result of this process culminated in the planning of a collective action of debt relief, by burning the promissory notes containing student debts that was made a month later, where Francisco Papas Fritas, in agreement with the students of this university, adjudicate the responsibility in case of legal actions or problems of diffusion to make effective the nullity of debt on the part of the students.
During the month of March, together with a team of professionals, a collective art project was carried out under the name Agusta Per Angusta, inaugurated on May 12 at the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center in Santiago de Chile. In the first instance, it consisted of a project of self-denunciation of Francisco Papas Fritas before the Chilean courts, where the artist assumed responsibility for the burning of the promissory notes with the debt of the students for a sum close to 500 million dollars, with the goal of protecting them from the courts. Then the students would admit their authorship in the burning of the promissory notes.
In the second instance, an anonymous collective of professionals, who worked together with the artist, was responsible for turning into a social network a video of denunciation, released simultaneously with the inauguration of the artistic installation in the Cultural Center where the ashes of the promissory notes were exhibited.
Desclasificación Popular is one of the most ambitious projects known to date by the artist. This project began in 2014 with the concern of Francisco Papas Fritas in front of the 50 year secret on the archives of the National Commission of Political Prison and Torture during the civil-military dictatorship in Chile, known as Valech I.
In that context, the artist asked the journalist Víctor Herrero to investigate the commission created under the government of Ricardo Lagos Escobar, in particular, under the 19,992 law on reparations to victims, where the 50 year secret is stipulated against the publication of the files and work of that commission.
During the investigative process, the team is joined by the political scientist Javiera Campos with whom they performed a re-interpretation of article 15 of the law, under the protection of access to information by the witnesses before this Commission. With these antecedents Francisco Papas Fritas began to construct a project of declassification of the secret archives.
The first stage of this project was to build a declassification system, which was launched in September 2014 along with a website at the Matucana 100 Cultural Center. The second stage, which began in 2015, consisted of the dissemination and systematization of the project by a multidisciplinary team, in charge of generating access to ex-prisoners and political prisoners at the request of their archives, through resources of protection against the Institute of Human Rights, legal custodian of archives.
Under this mechanism they have been able to declassify the first folders, putting in question the secret and impunity regarding this Commission. These files will be released for the first time at exhibit 2054, and simultaneously on the website. This gives rise to the third stage of triangulation of information, both for the opening of judicial cases and for different types of research that contribute to truth, justice and historical memory.