Born in Santiago de Chile in 1956 and trained in the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura and the Universidad de Chile, Jaar currently lives and works in New York. His artistic practice is multidisciplinary, exploring the unequal power relations and social and political fractures resulting from globalisation. His incorporation of photographs, texts and historical references in his installations, performances and devices in public spaces is highly symbolic. Despite a clear desire for historical denunciation, Jaar incorporates an aesthetic intention. One of his best-known works is the Proyecto Ruanda (Rwanda Project), 1994–2000, a large photographic work about the genocide that occurred in the African country.
He has made numerous public interventions, some of them becoming iconic, like A Logo for America, 1987 – a pioneering intervention on an electronic screen in Times Square in New York – and The Cloud, 2000 – a performative project on both sides of the border separating Mexico from the United States.
Since the nineties, Jaar has exhibited in the most prestigious centres in the world: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992), Whitechapel Gallery, London (1992), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994), Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005), Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011) and Kiasma, Helsinki (2014). He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2013), São Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010), Istanbul (1995), Gwangju (1995, 2000) and Johannesburg (1997), among others. His work is in many prominent collections, such as the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, LACMA, Los Angeles, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Whitney Museum, New York, Tate,London, Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago de Chile, and MACBA, Barcelona.