Tag Archives: Argentina

Iberian and Latin American Art at the 58th Venice Biennale

The 58th Biennale of Venice opened on 11 May. Here is a (non-comprehensive) list of Iberian and Latin American artists represented at the exhibition, which runs until 24 November 2019, and at accompanying events.

Mexican artist Teresa Margolles was awarded a Special Mention at the event’s opening ceremony. By shifting existing structures from the real world into the Exhibition halls, Margolles creates sharp and poignant works that deal with the plight of women grossly affected by the narcotics trade in her native country. Her work Muro Ciudad Juárez. 2010 can be found in the Biennale’s central pavilion at the Giardini, entitled May You Live in Interesting Times and curated by Ralph Rugoff.

Other Latin American artists invited to participate in the Biennale’s international exhibition (split between the Giardini and Arsenale) are Jill Mulleady (born in 1980 in Uruguay), Gabriel Rico (born in 1980 in Mexico) and Tomás Saraceno (born in 1973 in Argentina).

The international exhibition is accompanied by 89 national participations. Spain’s pavilion, located at the entrance of the Giardini, showcases Perforated, a collaboration between Itziar Okariz and Sergio Prego. Through performance, video, and sound, Okariz explores the displacements between the subject, the language, and its physical presence. Prego’s sculptural works relate to architecture, calling materiality into question through the use of lightweight, flexible materials that allow the form to only exist in a specific state or as a result of a continuous action on the constituent material. Both artists reiterate the alternative functions of the body in our technified society.

Brazil’s pavilion, Swinguerra, takes its title from a combination of swingueira, a popular dance movement in the north-east of Brazil, and guerra, war. Wagner & de Burca’s work focuses on the powerful expressions of popular culture in contemporary Brazil, and their complex relationship with international and local traditions.

In Uruguay’s exhibition, La casa empática, paintings, drawings, photographs, and mural works by Yamandú Canosa are arranged as a ‘landscape-territory’ of the world, an inclusive and empathic ‘total landscape’. The total landscape is completed by the intervention on the facade and by the starry sky installed in the ceiling of the pavilion.

Metáfora de las tres ventanas. Venezuela: Identidad en tiempo y espacio is the pavilion of Venezuela. Three metaphorical windows— thresholds for light, air, and the gaze—symbolise the long construction of collective history and an all-encompassing narrative filled with challenges and rebellion. Venezuela aims to promote its libertarian identity, woven over the centuries, and share it in a clear gesture of invitation to the complicity of others.

Other national pavilions are located in the Arsenale. Argentina’s exhibition, El nombre de un país/The Name of a Country is a punk, Frankensteinish bestiary that flaunts a high-fashion collection attitude. Mariana Telleria traces a highway with an infinite number of linguistic lanes, activating confusion—mixing things together, building monsters—and sustaining viewers’ awareness in a continual state of transit.

In Chile’s Pavilion, Altered Views, Voluspa Jarpa offers a proposal for decolonisation through a review of European history. Altered Views comprises three reversed cultural spaces/models: the Hegemony Museum, the Subaltern Portrait Gallery, and the Emancipating Opera. The project collects concepts that defined colony: race and cross-breeding, subordinate male subjects, cannibalism, gender, civilisation and barbarism, monarchy and republic, appealing to a critical view from a transtemporal journey.

Mexico is represented by Actos de dios/Acts of God by Pablo Vargas Lugo. This exhibition which speculates on the life of Christ to generate a non-linear narrative that raises new questions. What would happen if the man who was chosen to redeem humanity had set out to fulfil all the predictions made by the prophets about his life without being certain that he could accomplish them?

“Indios antropófagos”. A butterfly Garden in the (Urban) Jungle, the exhibition of Peru, is a paradox: a post-conceptual exploration of the fiery sensory impact of Amazon culture on certain (neo)Baroque horizons in Peruvian art, namely in Christian Bendayán’s work, where it is energised by a critical reconsideration of the Amazon as a constructed image.

Other national exhibitions are dotted around Venice. In Cannaregio, the Dominican Republic presents Naturaleza y biodiversidad en la República Dominicana. This is the country’s first independent national pavilion at the Biennale. It offers a reflection on ecological threats affecting the luxuriant local nature, the Earth and humankind.

Next to the Dominican Republic is Guatemala’s Interesting State. The term ‘interesting state’ evokes a woman who is pregnant. Acts of violence against women constitute the denial of existence. Guatemala is an ‘interesting State’ because of the persistence of this devastating phenomenon. Art therefore becomes an ethical instrument, in which the seductive aesthetic nature of the works is there to serve an indispensable social denunciation and an essential opportunity for redemption.

Portugal’s pavilion, a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot, features artist Leonor Antunes reflecting on the functions of everyday objects and contemplating their potential to be materialised as abstract sculptures. The artist is interested in how craftsmanship traditions from various cultures intersected in the work of Venetians such as Carlo Scarpa, Savina Masieri and Egle Trincanato. Elements of the exhibition are fabricated with Falegnameria Augusto Capovilla, one of the still-active Venetian carpentries that worked closely with Scarpa.

The Cuban pavilion, located on the island of San Servolo and entitled A cautionary environment/Entorno aleccionador brings together installations, paintings, and interdisciplinary works on allegorical themes of the times in which we live. The invited artists, Alejandro Campins, Ariamna Contino, Alex Hernández and Eugenio Tibaldi, discuss the relationship between man and the environment.

The Biennale’s programme is accompanied by a series of collateral events. Catalonia in Venice’s To Lose Your Head (Idols) documents the complex life of statues, which some artists today recreate and reflect upon. This multi-authored exhibition explores the theory of art reception and documents the complex life of public statues in our time. In a world of images, iconoclasm and iconodulia, it questions the fetishism of images as living entities and encourages conversations as a way to foster human happiness, awareness and freedom.

The latest works by the contemporary Portuguese sculptor Joana Vasconcelos (born 1971) are being displayed under the title What are you hiding? May you find what you are looking for at the Venice Biennale on the island of San Clemente across the Palazzo Kempinsky gardens and in the church of San Clemente itself, supported by the film production company MGM. In the church the exhibition shows her large-scale floor sculpture Madragoa (2015­–2019), inspired by Lisbon’s buildings and façades, which explores the intersections of sculpture, architecture and painting. This piece has new elements specially created for it since it was first shown in Macau in 2015. In the gardens Vasconcelos is displaying I’ll be Your Mirror #1 (2019), a giant Venetian carnival mask made of mirrors, which the sculptor recently showed at the Guggenheim, Bilbao in a solo show. Also on show in the gardens is Betty Boop PA (2019), a high-heeled shoe crafted out of saucepans, which proposes a revision of the “feminine” in today’s world by bringing together two tropes of a woman’s private and public image.

Glass works by Vasconcelos are on view in the exhibition Glasstress 2019, which features artists Carlos Garaicoa, Javier Pérez, José Parlá, Jaume Plensa and Bernardì Roig, among others.

Javier Pérez, Carroña, 2011, glass chandelier, stuffed crows (Glasstress 2019)
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Featured Exhibition: The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s, Museo Nacional Reina Sofía, Madrid, until 27 May 2019

José Sabogal, Cover of the journal Amauta, n. 26 (September – October), 1929, Journal, Museo de Arte de Lima

Founded and directed by José Carlos Mariátegui, the Peruvian magazine Amauta was one of the most influential cultural and political periodicals of the early 20th century. The exhibition of more than 250 works follows Amauta’s development as a platform to explore the diversity of the avant-garde artistic production in Peru, Argentina, and Mexico and the debates that shaped the art of Latin America during the 1920s. This exhibition, organised by Beverly Adams, Curator of Latin American Art, Blanton Museum of Art, and Natalia Majluf, Director and Chief Curator, Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru addresses the avant-garde production of a vast network of artists and writers connected with Amauta. and includes works in a variety of forms ranging from paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs through to popular ceramics, many by lesser known artists as well as pieces by Tina Modotti and Diego Rivera. A large network of correspondents in Latin America and Europe fed the magazine, which had a print run of 3-4,000, and gave Amauta an international impact.

Click here for more information on this exhibition.

The exhibition will travel from Madrid to the Museo de Arte de Lima (20 June – 22 September 2019); the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City (17 October 2019 – 12 January 2020); and finally to Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, Texas (February 16, 2020 – 17 May, 2020).

Featured Exhibitions: Lucio Fontana. On the Threshold, Met Breuer/Lucio Fontana: Spatial Environment (1968), El Museo del Barrio, New York, until 14 April 2019

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Spatial Concept, The Bread (Concetto Spaziale, Il Pane) Lucio Fontana (Italian, 1899–1968) | Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milan

The first major survey of Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) in the United States in more than forty years, this exhibition will reexamine the career of one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. The Argentine-Italian artist is widely known for his Cuts series, slashed paintings that became symbols of the postwar era. The exhibition will present extraordinary examples of this iconic body of work. It will also explore Fontana’s beginnings as a sculptor, including his exquisite work in ceramic, as well as his pioneering environments, contextualizing the radical gesture of his Cuts as part of the artist’s broader search to integrate the space of art and the space of the viewer.

Click here for more information.

Another striking work by Fontana will is on show at El Museo del Barrio during the run of the Met exhibition. Presented at Documenta 4 in Kassel, Germany, in 1968, Spatial Environment [Ambiente Spaziale] is an immersive, all-white, labyrinthine work of art conceived in relation to the artist’s innovative Spatialism movement.

Click here for more information.

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Images: Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale in Documenta 4, a Kassel, 1968/2017, installation view at Pirelli, HangarBicocca, Milan, 2017. Courtesy Pirelli, HangarBicocca, Milan. ©Fondazione Lucio Fontana | Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

ARTES Coll & Cortés Travel Scholarship Report

Elizabeth Chant, report on a trip to Madrid, Simancas, and Seville, April-May 2018

NB: the deadline for applications for travel scholarships in 2019 is 31st January!

Thanks to the generosity of Coll & Cortés and ARTES, earlier this year I was able to visit Spain in order to conduct essential research for my doctoral thesis. My work explores the development of geographical understandings of Patagonia, initially in the Spanish Empire, and later in Argentina and Chile. I use a range of cultural media including literature, historical correspondence, and cartography, the latter being the focus of this trip. Spanish imperial maps of Patagonia tell a complex story of colonial violence, indigenous resistance, and contested sovereignty. They are central to the establishment and maintenance of Euro-Western Patagonian mythologies of barbarity and desolation. They also shed light on the origins of Argentina and Chile’s expansionist aims in the 19th century, another key consideration of my project.

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Spain’s initial efforts to establish a settlement in Patagonia during the 1580s were gravely unsuccessful. A second large-scale attempt was fielded beginning in 1779 on the Atlantic coast of modern-day Argentina, and this event heralded a renewed cartographic interest in the region. I set out to consult the materials produced in the wake of said project during my time in Spain. Through this research, I wanted to amplify my cartographic corpus, and to better understand the pressing need for geographical information at this crucial juncture prior to Argentinean and Chilean independence.

 

I began by visiting the Archive of the Museo Naval in Madrid. This was particularly useful for gathering primary cartographic materials. The highlight of my whole trip was finding eminent Spanish Pilot Alejo Berlinguero’s 1796 Descripción geográfica de las costas patagónicas… here. I was aware of Berlinguero’s watercolours painted during his voyage to Patagonia in the 1760s, but I did not know that he had produced a complete map of the region. It is without doubt one of the most important cartographic depictions of Patagonia to exist prior to Argentine and Chilean independence. Produced in the aftermath of Spain’s second colonisation project, it maps the region in considerable detail, and is telling of the urgent need for accurate information regarding the Patagonian interior. This map has become one of the focal pieces in the first chapter of my PhD, and I am extremely grateful to both Coll and Cortés and ARTES for enabling me to locate it.

After Madrid, I went to the Archivo General de Simancas, Valladolid and then to the Archivo General de Indias, Seville. In these locations, I was looking for information regarding another important Spanish map of Patagonia, José Custodio de Sá y Faría’s 1786 Descripción geográfica de la costa patagónica…, an important companion piece to Berlinguero’s portrayal. Both of these archives house copies of said map. Consulting the corresponding documentation has been essential for understanding its context of production, and for comprehending the profound Spanish concerns regarding sovereignty in both Patagonia and the wider mar del Sur. I was able to read the accompanying letters that Sá y Faría sent to the then-Viceroy of Buenos Aires, the Marquis of Loreto, in which he argues for the continued maintenance of the colonisation project in spite of the considerable number of deaths and difficulties experienced. I was also able to locate the travelogue from Berlinguero’s voyage to Patagonia upon which his 1796 map was based. Further, in the Archivo de Indias I discovered perhaps the earliest Spanish map to use the toponym ‘Patagonia’ (1750), another significant find for my thesis.

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The Coll and Cortés Travel Scholarship allowed me to encounter material that I would never have found had I been limited to working in the UK. I am currently working on an article comparing the Berlinguero and Sá y Faría maps, which will seek to highlight the importance of these until now overlooked pieces.

Conference: Digital Imaginaries of the South: Stories of Belonging and Uprooting in Hispanic Cinemas

maxresdefaultInternational Film Conference (IV TECMERIN Academic Meeting): Digital Imaginaries of the South: Stories of Belonging and Uprooting in Hispanic Cinemas, October 18-20, 2017, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid / Casa de América (Madrid)

Over the past twenty years, digital technology has become the standard in the film production, circulation, and consumption processes. Within this context, Hispanic cinemas have undergone deep changes, both within the countries with an established cinematic tradition, as well as in those that, due to several reasons, had not developed a robust cinematography throughout the 20th century. The analogue paradigm became deeply contested and a new digital framework, which was widely discussed by institutions, film critics, and academics, emerged. This moment coincides with the widespread generalization of national and transnational neoliberal policies that, far from backing diversity, have increased the gap between those “connected” and those “disconnected” (to draw upon Néstor García Canclini’s term); a gap also experienced by those that, even if connected, still occupy subaltern positions.
The speeding of these processes has resulted in an increase of mobility, at work both in the geographical displacement of film professionals and in the emergence of new narrative models that deal with questions of belonging and uprooting, springing precisely from these experiences of displacement. The cinemas of the Global South, and, most specifically, Hispanic cinemas, have actively taken part in these processes, ultimately playing a relevant role in terms of narrative and aesthetic models, and the production, circulation and consumption of film.
Following the main research axes of the R+D project “Transnational relations in Hispanic digital cinemas: the axes of Spain, Mexico, and Argentina” (CSO2014-52750-P), the International Conference Digital Imaginaries of the South: Stories of Belonging and Uprooting in Hispanic Cinemas conference will discuss these themes:
  • The representation of migrations, displacements, exile, and diaspora.
  • Transnational flows of cultural, economic, and human capital in the production and circulation of cinema.
  • The reconfiguration of the regional, national, and transnational Hispanic interactions within the new century.
  • Public discourses and film policies within the region.
  • Hybridization and identity in the narratives on colonization, decolonization, and revolutionary processes.
  • Activism and digital praxis.
  • Genres, authors, stars.
  • Film cultures and cinephilia: festivals, publications, and digital platforms.
  • Minor cinemas: indigenismo, experimental, and/or militant cinemas.
  • Historiographic, theoretical, and methodological problems of so-called Hispanic, Iberian, and Latin American cinemas.

Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAyC)

This post was written by Melanie Lenz, the V&A’s Curator of Digital Art. In this blog entry, posted to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Argentina’s independence, Melanie explores a small but remarkable number of the V&A’s digital artworks made in Argentina in the late 1960s.

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Grupo CAyC, around 1980

The V&A’s extensive collection of early digital artworks were primarily made by practitioners working in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the United States. The prohibitive costs of the emerging new technology meant that initially sites of artistic production were largely limited to European and North American research laboratories and universities that could afford the required equipment. However, a small but intriguing number of early computer-generated works were created by Argentine artists associated with the Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAyC). The full blog post explores the fascinating history behind these artworks and looks at how they ended up in the V&A’s collection.