Ivan Contreras-Brunet first began painting in 1943. He took classes at the School of Fine Arts in Santiago , from 1949 to 1950. In 1951, he began his first abstract works.

Contreras-Brunet arrived in France in Paris in the early fifties where he met many artists including: Georges Vantongerloo, Auguste Herbin, Jesús-Rafael Soto, Max Bill and Lohse. He researched serial work and began constructivist collages in Paris. He spent an extended period of time in Vienna, Austria.

In 1957 he left for New York , where he made his first special and kinetic works. He returned to Europe in 1961, where he settled permanently in Paris . He served as the general secretariat of the exhibition “Latin American Artists in Paris” at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. In 1968: Meet Michael Seuphor in February. He was the co-founder of CO-MO (constructivism and movement) with Breuer, Seuphor, Peire Luke, Romano Zanotti and Calos. Contreras-Brunet exhibited in the 1970 New Realities in France . In 1972, he represented Chile with a personal room at the Venice Biennale (preface by Michel Seuphor).