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About the poetry book "The Imaginary Beast" of Antonio de Santos BY RICARDO LOEBELL

Antonio de Santos has the eye of a cinematographic poet. He knows how to revert the processes of nature, considering that tragedy’s time twists itself in sequences of the creative process. In his poetry coexists the esthetic of a sculpted time, in which the bodies and nature decipher each other. In that coming and going of the subject that implores to a loved one, time and space fuse together intimately. Love is described in his poetry as a different perception. In the poem « We don’t have anything to say to each other while we love each other », writing transforms into a disturbing register. It abstains itself before a judgement while describing the events from the perspective of the glance of a child that narrates in a trustworthy way each moment without feeling the need of understanding it to be able to give a testimony.

Different from what happens in a film, the universe of poetry englobes everything that is the record of the filming, together with what is left out of the screen. If you think about Raul Ruiz, everything that is out of the screen is even more significant. Antonio lets the poetic subject sing to an absent nature through the metaphoric body of a loved one, to miss everything that surrounds and that we don’t perceive when we look through the lens or when we love. There, every presence is the message of absence; the being walks close to the shadow of his non-being, the face in its infinity character -if you think of Levinas- is not presented to the subject as a vulnerable life, fragile and ephemeral, but instead by contrast, it is a memento mori that reminds death. Here, writing is seized and fills itself with its non-writing. The same way, each poem recalls the veiled universe of his work/composition, that, because it doesn’t have any defined or finite dimensions, circulates outside of the book. This is evinced in the poem « Your face is like death to me ».

The empathy with nature happens when the subject lets the nature inhabit the remote place of his being. This lets him express and claim feelings and sensations that while they are being metabolized inside of him they proceed to consciousness in a language that announces that communion. Goethe, in his famous poem « The nature », adjudicated initially to Christoph Toble and writen around 1782, adopts a voice of an anthropomorphic nature, a nature that feels, like an individual can image his encounter in the consciousness of his original separation. In that nature that has settled him, that will take him and will hate his work, he trusts the subject of Goethe, developed in a poetic speech that tends to reborn.

Different is the process of the work of Antonio de Santos, who starts with the grey evening of the first poem « Your nocturne flights » and finishes with the darkened sky in the last one. « In the end of the fainted light ». The mystic of the poetry matches the definition of life in a halt of the infinite flow and there, everything that happens, moves and excites, looks as if it can’t go further than the inconsolable, when ‘you live without living in itself, you die when you don’t die’, this can be read in Saint Teresa’s verses that were written in the limit of life and eternity. To understand that after the subject’s death everything continues in its never-ending course, equals to think that when the poem ends it will continue writing itself.

The loving writing in de Santos has the power of reassembling the spreadded sand of the hourglass or searching the marks in the bodies metabolism that allows to mesure time. It’s for a reason that everything is destined to finish from the start. « The imaginary beast » is written in an ochre esthetic, in yellow and golden verses that establish the flagrant course of humanity constituted by fearful and lonely passengers in the asphalt cities, exiled of the earth. It seems it has always been that way, that « the end » lives in the core of the conscience of each one of us. This transforms the subject in an « imaginary beast » that allows to live the illusion of life as an unambiguous dream.

The restless eye of Antonio de Santos that unleashes this poetry, allows us to establish a relation with the last film of the hungarian director Béla Tarr, The Turin Horse (2011). Through the story of the life of a traction horse, it is told in an indirect way, how the stinginess and ruse of men has depredated the world with their actions and have poisoned the earth. The nobleness and dignity of human kind seem to have extinguished, his existence lacks of sense in a world dominated by the limitless avidity. In this story, the slow deterioration of everything that surrounds them can be seen, like a sort of rebellion of nature against the distant ethic of men. The termites stop feeding on wood, the elements become dissolved from the density of the primordial matter, the well dries up, the ember is consumed. Like in an apocalypse, everything gets dark into an eternal night like an endless dream… Here in the last poem, the subject ‘in the end of the fainted light’ comes back to his dream, ’the sky darkens’ and everything calms down; it seems that the bodies give themselves to a superior metabolism. Maybe, in the dark kingdom, there is time to pay attention to that process of slow and temporary dissolution. (2015)



"A Great Energy"
Las Últimas Noticias, SANTIAGO OF CHILI, 14 Mai 2010
About the first novel of Antonio de Santos by Patricia Espinosa


« Professional writers » is an expression rarely used in the chilean literary world; there are more amateurs than anything; short hopscotch players that require literature as a space in which assemble a community, to drink, to gossip and nominate oneself the cool guy, the one that rocks at the Bellavista Garden: do you get it man ? That way anyone could make it. So why not include Antonio de Santos’s first novel, When I wake up with a slut I put on Brahms. This title, a ridiculous effort to scare away, frames this wonderful short story, not very neat and even a little clumsy, but nevertheless vivid, full of energy, of rage, of impetuosity. Exactly: impetuosity. A novel without marketing, without notes in Google, without a proper presentation to society, distributed by himself in some bookstores. De Santos builds this novel from what is normally denominated a damned artist, concept in which can be placed both a high-class person and a low- class one, with the only requirement that he must be alternative, very alternative. In this case we are witnessing both options or both faces of the same coin. At first, the protagonist lives alone, he has a wealthy father, he studies dance and is a cinema art and classical music fanatic. He also is visited once a week by a maid that looks after him like a king. As it is to presume, he consumes drogues until delirium and lives in a continuous drunkenness. His sayings are stereotyped and incorrect: women are all sluts, he despises homosexuals, black people and every auto denominated artist. During most of the story, he rebukes the reader and disqualifies his own writing. However, this slacker and rich dilettante is left behind and a second voice emerges, that can be the same previous protagonist. Now we see a guy locked in a psychiatric that survives deep sorrows in the economic aspect and that is aging, physically and mentally weared. His memory brings him fragments that connects him with what we already know from the first protagonist, like his love for overweight women, art and the continuous headaches. The fascism of both voices, of the young artist and the old man from the mental hospital, have their origin in sickness. It is the pathological that derives in a misogynistic speech, homophobic and racist. Without a doubt, When I wake up with a slut I put on Brahms has countless writing mistakes, but the high degree of enthusiasm for art and its extreme consciousness on the literary work, compensates it. Very little, not to say no one, would dare to refer to their ill-fated writing like De Santos refers his text with all certainty: « this shit », « this rubbish ». There is nothing left to do but to applaud him for his exaggerated honesty.




"When I wake up with a slut I put on Brahms" (2009)FIRST NOVEL OF Antonio de Santos













When was the last time a virtual friend hugged you?"Pasolini the cat and old Ezra" (2019)comic book by Antonio de Santos and Kobal





An introspection of the core, the blood, the abandon of the places and of the own identity in pursuit of obtaining a character, “non demagogic” but in search of the art for art’s sake, maybe the most dangerous personal treaty but most fruitful one that a writer could ever pact with himself, the bravery of confronting the lacks and fears, to move on the most uncomfortable side, in the backyard of the wild side, a look that reveals the subject that writes in the friction, that describes himself in his uncertainty and luminosity.

The less subtle poems, or the darkest, of Antonio de Santos, reminds us the vital experience of Francis Bacon, countless images, atavistic elements, colors that reflect the esthetic of demolition, of deconstruction of himself, subtle elements that invade the territory of his writing.

The search for a loving other is also essential, it is a site where disenchantment relapses and in the search for something that is not there, but that is sought with enthusiasm, the confession of the building of an armor appears before the devotion by the exercise of losing oneself in her again, for not finding redemption.

Antonio de Santos’s poems reflect the constant inquisition of the author with his work, the frenetic will to surpass words using experience, as in a personal diary where what wants to be said is displayed, and the most primitive essences are strained: the state of alert, of search, of dedication, of finding the essence of life until you squeeze the spirit and stay in the silence that never stops screaming. (2018)



Antonio de Santos is quite a character, he is a youthful artist that since the nineties has approached several forms of artistic expressions with talent and passion, either in cinema, theatre or poetry, all of it from a clear underground perspective.

His own biography is the testimony of his multiple activities: handmade published books, exhibited movies through unconventional channels, performances that united a varied public, all of his work unified by a critique to the conventional artistic world and, in general, to the established power.

But don’t assume Antonio de Santos’s work as a demagogic sample or as a repetitive proclamations. His personal trajectory speaks by itself, his powerful vocation has allowed him to overcome his challenging existence, as well as his fathers’ tragic death or the abandon of his departure from home at a very young age. Antonio has another significant characteristic: he lives for and because of art, having as models big poets as Trakl, Novalis and Rimbaud.

We read:
« I would like to exhume pains from the past/Joys that have aged at the same time/The pain of a child that grows in debris/The awakening of a slut without love/The body entering inspiration/ To see the souls tear their souls/To stop nursing from the warm breasts/To light the fire of my love. »

The previous is part of the love poetry of Antonio de Santos. That dramatic tone is present in all of his work and constitutes the other side of his poetry, that shows the proximity with the work of the damned poets, including the Lovecraft’s ghostly world.

Another angle that can be found in his poetry is referred to the closeness that could be established with the poetic work of other authorslike Humberto Díaz Casanueva and Rosamel del Valle. Likewise, all of Antonio de Santos’ poetry would be a favorable space for the studies of the chilean poetry of the end of twentieth century.

The work is concluded. Now it is the readers’ work to appropriate the images of this book and make them theirs. (2015)












Geraniums cover the blue field
The tormented girl runs down the slope
While the wheat loafs around
Behind the fissure
Behind its skirmishes

Behind comes the golden hair
With its emerald paleness
Everyone flees the mutilated body

Geraniums cover the blue field
The grey sky announces the storm
The breeze retracts the acacias
The bells announce the six o’clock mass

Geraniums cover the blue field
The mandrakes's fall chases away the migrant
No one will hide your face
No one will prevent that your born
Even though the secrets are hidden in your hair
Even though your parents regret the pleasure

Geraniums cover the blue field
But no one will cover your skins silk
What is left of your women’s pieces
What you left in me.






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  • Team Member

    Szaman (2011) BY Antonio de Santos

    A woman travels through the desert trying to escape her fear of reality.

    Team Member

    THE FACTORY (2016) BY Antonio de Santos

    The Factory is a film that, through silence and minimalist aesthetics, shows how each person faces their psychic disorders and routines.

    Team Member

    SCAFFOLD (2012) BY Antonio de Santos

    Each person determines his emotional relationships, his fears and how each determination always leads to loneliness and death.

  • Team Member

    RACHMANINOFF (2007) BY Antonio de Santos

    Experimental film about the life of the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.

    Team Member

    THE SCAR (2017) BY Antonio de Santos

    This movie is an interior travel, an escape and a seek for existence through speech, image and sound.

    Team Member

    VIDÉONOIR (2020) BY Antonio de Santos

    In the 1950s, a woman gets out of prison to try and get her life back.


The Factory is a film that raises mysteries for the spectator to find out. In this sens it relates to poetry because it has symbols of pure suggestion like the crane bids and the apple. The director emphasizes on the two female characters, tormented, disturbed and wear, while the male are absent. The main character is too immersed in his own world and the oldest worker reminds the old greek chorus because he gives out clues to the spectator for him to fill in the gaps and interpret. The esthetic made me think of Kitsch and The Camp. Many scenes remit to classic movies. The atmosphere of the factory itself and the wardrobe of the female characters remind me of « Dancing in the dark » of the Danish groupe « Dogma » with Bjork. The scene of the shower reminds « Psycho ». The worker that assaults the leading role reminds me of Judith Anderson in « Rebecca »: mysterious, defiant, she achieves the main character’s catharsis. The changing color of the crane birds is accompanied by the singular tragedy of characters, this can be related to theatre, to art, to music and poetry. Viola Parra’s singed lyrics by the worker guides the spectator without explaining. The camera is like a spy. It makes the observer a complice in the pervert game of looking without being seen. In short, an Under movie for the initiated in the esthetic and rhythm of the experimental cinema. It lends itself for the intellectual contemplation and the interpretative analysis. It made me want to see other movies of the director Antonio de Santos, without a doubt a reference of the Chilean Experimental Cinema.





"The soul cannot be fed with mundane feelings. Elevation coexists with knowledge. The dwelling of the rechargeable lambs is full of futuristic sperm. Machines win the red revolution. The flashes cheer this little limb. My anorexia embellishes my bones. The carpet to heaven is made of shredded bronze animals. The reptiles of my soul sit for hydroponic tea. Nothing is built in our silence. There are voices in our screams. I stop dancing and you're gone. One thousand three hundred and twenty-two towers were built in the nostalgia of the first quarter, where everything was the construction of the neon bodies."

From "The Electronic Medea" (2019)