Emilia Gutiérrez at Cosmocosa

Flamenca
Emilia Gutiérrez
Cosmocosa
08.11.19 | 18.12.19
Emilia Gutiérrez, Flamenca, 2019, view of the exhibition in Cosmocosa. Ph: Courtesy of Cosmocosa

Curated by Rafael Cippolini, an anthological exhibition of paintings by Emilia Gutiérrez (Buenos Aires, 1928–2003), alias Flamenca or La Flamenca—in reference to Flemish painting—was held at Cosmocosa. The artist got her nickname, which is the title of the show, because of her chromatic choices: “The outgrowths of green, the families of blues of different intensity, and the reactions to that color we call mahogany” deliberately coincide with the tones most used in Flemish painting.

Emilia Gutiérrez, Flamenca, 2019, view of the exhibition in Cosmocosa. Ph: Courtesy of Cosmocosa
Emilia Gutiérrez, Flamenca, 2019, view of the exhibition in Cosmocosa. Ph: Courtesy of Cosmocosa

Seven solo shows of Gutiérrez’s work were held from 1965 to 1975. The first opened at Galería Lirolay, less than three blocks away from the mythical Instituto Di Tella, where Marta Minujín and Rubén Santantonín’s La Menesunda was up at the same time. In the same neighborhood shortly thereafter, Edgardo Giménez, Dalila Puzzovio, and Charly Squirru put up their celebrated billboard ¿Por qué son tan geniales? As Cippolini observes, Gutiérrez’s art could not have been more different from her contemporaries’. “While the Di Tella artists marched to the vertiginous drum of the present, La Flamenca’s inward-looking, centripetal images were largely set off from that scene. She did not voice her indifference to the mass media’s novelty or immediacy or to social metaphor—she didn’t have to. Slow and steady, her work pursued each one of the unique paths it took. Though not immune to the imaginaries of collective life, she felt no need to engage them.”

Emilia Gutiérrez, Extraño Ser (Strange Being), 1974, oil on canvas, 60 x 45.5 cm. Ph: Courtesy of Cosmocosa

While her peers were experimenting with images from the mass media and consumer culture, Gutiérrez felt that “nothing in life mattered”; her paintings held “the not-always-happy world of my childhood,” as she put it in one of the few interviews she gave (“Acuérdate del ángel,” Primera Plana magazine, June 1, 1965, quoted by Cippolini). La Flamenca did portraits of the characters in her “family novel”: her grandmother Esperanza—the one who raised the artist and her sisters, Lida and Ilda—her mother, who was not around much because institutionalized for psychosis, and her also-absent father.

Emilia Gutiérrez, Magia (Magic), 1974, oil on canvas, 85 x 74.5 cm. Ph: Courtesy of Cosmocosa

The work’s title and the artist’s signature are usually on the back of her paintings, not in the pictorial space. The bulk of her copious portraits show “torsos and more torsos,” as Cippolini puts it. The “individual portraits” include Mimo (Mime, no date), “a pale young man in a bell-shaped hat with handkerchief tied bandit style around his neck; Mujer (Woman, 1974), a corpse-like, self-absorbed blond figure in black hat and blue coat; Niña (Girl, 1973), wearing dramatic headscarf before a blue table with comb and thread; and a second Mujer (Woman, no date), sitting against a green background glancing sideways at a large flower pot with plant.” The artist’s production includes variations on the portrait genre like what the curator calls her “portraits with landscape.” In Después del juego (After the Game, 1973), “we see the full body of a glum boy, his cap in front of a red ball, before a dilapidated wall above which three mysterious crosses hover in a dark sky.” Another variation on the portrait theme are the “portraits of strange beings.” In Magia (Magic 1974), for instance, “someone is hiding under a cloak (all we see are its legs wrapped in thick stockings); a small child, naked, is coming through a door, in front of a sort of encapsulated sun that turns into something like an aerial placenta that harbors a fetus.” Extraño ser (Strange Being, no date) also forms part of this subgenre. In it, a “wind-up, two-footed blue and black creature with scales rests on what might be a dead ram beside a red ball identical to the one in an earlier painting.” The curator cites researcher Diana Wechsler, who speaks of another subgenre, which she terms the “Siamese portraits.” In Sin Título (Abrazo)[Untitled (Embrace)], for instance, “we see two girls merged at the arms in an embrace; the larger one in a green dress holding the smaller one in white.” “It is impossible to unbind [the individuals], [as] they exist only in the presence of the other.”

Emilia Gutiérrez. El Mago (The Wizard), n/d, oil on canvas, 65 x 40 cm. Ph: Courtesy of Cosmocosa

Cippolini groups together another set of works as “scenes.” In them, “the characters, though self-absorbed, are set off in a situation where they interact; they occupy a single space, the one to which their inner worlds seem to be moored. One example in this show is Trilogía (Trilogy, 1970). In the foreground, we see a woman with her hands crossed, a tray under her right arm; further back a bald man is at a table and a girl reads behind what appears to be a counter.” The curator proposes a third and hybrid group: “interiors” of “so very many scenes and portraits in bars and domestic settings that depict a world hallucinated. Loly (1974), for instance, shows a hatted woman with long hair and knit sweater, her glass on the table and curtain in the background.”

Emilia Gutiérrez, El paseo del diablo (The Devil’s Outing), 1974, oil on canvas, 45 x 55 cm. Ph: Courtesy of Cosmocosa

In 1975, Gutiérrez gave up oil painting to focus on drawing. The curator explains that “when she was almost forty-seven, she began hearing things: those same colors that made her Flamenca began speaking to her,” and her psychiatrists recommended that she give them up.

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.


Diana Aisenberg at Aldo de Sousa

Economía de cristal en los tiempos del toroide
Diana Aisenberg
Aldo de Sousa
08.11.19 | 13.12.19

Economía de cristal en los tiempos del toroide, the first solo show of work by Diana Aisenberg (Buenos Aires, 1958) ever held at Aldo de Sousa, opened on Art Weekend Buenos Aires (AWBA). The point of departure for the ten works clinging to the gallery’s walls and columns was the toroid, a concept from geometry that consists of “a surface engendered by a closed polygon that rotates on an axis.”

Diana Aisenberg, Economía de cristal en los tiempos del toroide, 2019, view of the exhibition at Aldo de Sousa. Ph: Courtesy of Aldo de Sousa

French mathematician Jules Henri Poincaré used that figure to measure a structure’s degree of chaos since, as he explained, “if a system is not chaotic, the three-dimensional projection of its trajectories in N dimensions always forms a perfect toroid because the trajectory is closed and, at a certain juncture, the system returns to its initial state.” The artist, meanwhile, noticed that the toroid “is the same shape as the rings, hoops, and loops found in common jewelry.” On the basis of that observation, Aisenberg used remains of necklaces, collars, and other “fantasies in disuse” to build the pieces in this exhibition.

Diana Aisenberg, Economía de cristal en los tiempos del toroide, 2019, view of the exhibition at Aldo de Sousa. Ph: Courtesy of Aldo de Sousa

Aisenberg circulated amongst colleagues, friends, and students an invitation to gather material: “If an earring has broken, if you don’t use the pair because you lost one of them, if you have necklaces hanging in your closet or on your wall for decoration because they are really not right for you anymore, if you mom has a broken bracelet, if your boyfriend has beautiful collars lying around—anything like that that you don’t use will become part of a large threaded community, the raw material for the construction of a work of art.” After the collecting phase, the artist organized get togethers to thread the pieces, on the grounds that “everything that rests on collective work is refuge.” In a text for the show, she explains that “the toroid first appeared on a sheet, a page in a notebook. From there, it took on the shape of a request, an entreaty, and a cooperative of objects was formed. It is not a question of going beyond the notebook. It’s about staying there as invitation. It is not a sketch, it’s a mark. It is not a draft, it’s a plan. The toroid is a mechanism that appears in all the works in this show. It’s a structure of thought.”

Diana Aisenberg, Economía de cristal en los tiempos del toroide, 2019, view of the exhibition at Aldo de Sousa. Ph: Courtesy of Aldo de Sousa
Diana Aisenberg, Economía de cristal en los tiempos del toroide, 2019, view of the exhibition at Aldo de Sousa. Ph: Courtesy of Aldo de Sousa

For Aisenberg, “art and education go hand in hand.” She adds that school exists insofar as there is a figure recognized as a teacher. For that reason, “school and education, like art, are the product of ties. They are the possibility of an encounter beyond the ones socially stipulated and codified for life in community,” she explains in the conversation Tablero: MALBA + NC-Arte (https://youtu.be/CXoQsTREhyk). Aisenberg’s projects often begin with a call for participation, with an invitation. Thousands contributed to her Historias del arte. Diccionario de certezas e intuiciones (Art Histories: Dictionary of Certainties and Intuitions), published over ten years ago. In 2018, she documented and published her pedagogical methodology in MDA (Método Diana Aisenberg). Apuntes para un aprendizaje del arte (Diana Aisenberg Method: Notes on Art Learning), a handbook for anyone interested. “My knowledge is tied to experimentation, to teaching, to work with other artists, and to the craft of painting. Being an artist and being a teacher are, for me, inseparable: they are two activities that feed off one another.” On December 12, in the context of the show, she handed out lifelong credentials in the Diana Aisenberg Method (MDA, for the acronym in Spanish) “to all those who came into contact with the method; to those who, since 1983, have participated in and constructed it; to the coordinators and assistants in all its different phases; and to faithful and abiding friends.” The credential certifies “the experience of being part of and witness to the development of a method that investigates art and being an artist.” In this first edition, some 287 unique and untransferable cards were given out to students, editors, gallerists, former gallerists, and friends.

Diana Aisenberg, Economía de cristal en los tiempos del toroide, 2019, view of the exhibition at Aldo de Sousa. Ph: Courtesy of Aldo de Sousa

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.


Juan José Cambre at Vasari

Error de imprenta
Juan José Cambre
Vasari
14.11.19 | 14.02.20
Juan José Cambre, Error de imprenta, 2019, view of the exhibition in Vasari. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Vasari

Curated by Mercedes Claus, the show of works by Juan José Cambre (Ramos Mejía, 1948) at Vasari featured a selection of recent paintings on canvas and paper that further his research into color and superimposition. Straining methods and contingencies, the works draw on the artist’s relationship with graphics. Cambre reverses habitual ways of working: “Instead of a small matrix on which to test out the color mixes to then choose fragments, the matrix itself is rendered in large format on the canvas. Its fragments are possible and whimsical diversions of those mixes: misprints,” explains the curator.

Juan José Cambre, Error de imprenta, 2019, view of the exhibition in Vasari. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Vasari

Error de imprenta began in the gallery’s display window with Guía (Chart), a large-format painting that acted as an initial color chart, a sort of matrix from which Cambre later chose fragments in the works Detalles (Details) and Variaciones (Variations) on exhibit inside the gallery. To make the matrix, he alternated vertical strips of color. Between two initial tones is a third resulting from their layering. “Misprints happen when fragments present a variation in color not from that matrix,” Claus explains. Graphic procedures are brought to pictorial method by establishing a limited palate as starting point. “Sometimes the colors are isolated in monochromes, but the proportion is always fundamental, as are the spatial relationships between the planes. Cambre systemizes a way of painting. He constructs a method that expands, bends, and twists obsessively,” Claus goes on.

Juan José Cambre, Error de imprenta, 2019, view of the exhibition in Vasari. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Vasari

Notwithstanding, the rules are “flexible, capable of varying in response to a contingency.” The painting interacts with the context and can take in elements from other spheres or establish an interchange, “like something that unexpectedly meddles in the painter’s inner dialogue with his method, making it social, letting someone else in. For him, that means understanding error as the most apt choice; chance as inquiry into the deepest surface,” Claus goes on. The curator mentions as well the catalogue to a Cambre show at Arte Nuevo gallery in 1982. In it, two slender vertical strips—one light blue and one orange—lie on either side of the page, flanking the content. “It was by chance that those two strips appeared.” The decision to leave them in was not tied to the paintings the artist was making at the time, which were markedly expressionist and “laden with much more information than his austere current works.”

Juan José Cambre, Variaciones (Variations) IV, III and II, 2019, acrylic on paper, 121 x 80 cm each, view of the exhibition in Vasari. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Vasari

An avid reader, Cambre is versed in the printer’s craft. His connection to literature and to the book object runs through his work, though he alters “titles and visual references, and even quotations,” Claus goes on. That 1982 catalogue recounts the fable of the scorpion and the frog. A scorpion asks a frog to help it cross the river. “When the frog refuses for fear the scorpion will sting it, the scorpion responds that that makes no sense: if the scorpion hurt the frog they would both go under. So the frog agrees to help the scorpion across, but in the middle of the river it feels a sting.” When, with its dying breath, the frog asks for an explanation, its aggressor answers, “there is no reason when it comes to nature.” Claus argues that there is no “reason for those vertical strips in the Arte Nuevo catalogue either. What there is, rather, is insistence, return; nature which, as the scorpion says, knows no reason.” Or, if there is one, it contemplates and incorporates error and contingency beyond the dictates of commonsense.

Juan José Cambre, Error de imprenta, 2019, view of the exhibition in Vasari. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Vasari
Juan José Cambre, Guía (Chart), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 195 x 260 cm. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Vasari

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.


Gilda Picabea at Hache

Un perfil dibujado en el espacio | Distante
Gilda Picabea
HACHE
19.11.19 | 21.02.20
Gilda Picabea, Un perfil dibujado en el espacio, 2019, view of the exhibition in HACHE. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE

Two adjacent and simultaneous shows of work by artist Gilda Picabea (Buenos Aires, 1974) were held in HACHE: Un perfil dibujado en el espacio, with text by Marita García, in gallery 1, and Distante, with text by Leticia Obeid, in gallery 2. Picabea’s works in both focus on the research and debate on the figure-background duality in painting that concerned Argentine concrete artists in the forties. On that basis, she produced two strikingly dissimilar series of abstract paintings.

Gilda Picabea, Un perfil dibujado en el espacio, 2019, view of the exhibition in HACHE. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE

Edgar Bayley, Alfredo Hlito, Lidy Prati, and Tomás Maldonado—among the members of the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención—“were concerned, whether in their theoretical works or in their paintings, with the self-referentiality of the painting as two-dimensional surface. Those artists understood that a non-representational visual structure required abolishing the figure-background reading and challenging the structure of the traditional support,” writes García in her text for Un perfil dibujado en el espacio. García describes the series of large-format and highly contrasting black-and-white works in this exhibition as “sharp, evasive, oblique”—titles of three of the works featured. Irregular shapes emerge from the sides of the canvas, reaching its middle or even the other side. Those shapes end (or do they begin?) in stark and jagged vertices. “Is the black surface the figure? Is the white plane the background? Or is it the other way around?” García asks. “Not one or the other. These are forms in tension, striving not to become background or figure, but for both to stay ‘up front,’ affirming surface and negating any possible three-dimensional reading. These paintings once again alight on that delicate spot of pictorial composition to challenge it anew and to propose a specific solution.”

Gilda Picabea, Un perfil dibujado en el espacio, 2019, view of the exhibition in HACHE. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE

With just three colors in each painting, Distante also “engages the relationships between figure and form, using the bare minimum to incite perception of what is upfront or behind,” asserts Obeid in her text. These are medium-format paintings, quadrilaterals of different size in which the artist painted polygons also of varying dimension and color (they widen or narrow from the sides towards the center without, nonetheless, distorting their four right angles). “The color comes from a whole that is not seen at first, but vibrates in the layers. Free-hand straight lines: Look carefully, up close!” Obeid goes on. “This is, unquestionably, painting that—in its elegant back and forth between distance and proximity—requires patience. Looking at all the works together, from afar, will undoubtedly produce a different set of sensations from looking at them from up close, seeing that each plane is made of lines and strokes, the traces of their making almost invisible.” In a present marked by “over information, by so many strident images and excess stimulation, works like these are an antidote. These artistic practices can show us a way of life we are desperately in need of.”

Gilda Picabea, Un perfil dibujado en el espacio, 2019, view of the exhibition in HACHE. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.


Celina Eceiza at Móvil

La conquista del reino de los miedos
Celina Eceiza
Móvil
02.11.19 | 21.12.19
Celina Eceiza, La conquista del reino de los miedos, 2019, view of the exhibition at Móvil. Ph: Courtesy of Móvil

In a show curated by Alejandra Aguado and Solana Molina Viamonte, Celina Eceiza (Tandil, 1988) created a soft and enveloping installation at Móvil. The works in it, most of them on fabric, were peopled by an imaginary of forms somewhere between the dreamlike, the bucolic, and the hallucinatory. The work combined humor with images bound to the holy in what the artists calls, “a whimsical [mix] that finds commonalities between different cultures and beliefs, images and forms: an Arab-seeming tent, the awning of a kiosk, a still life by a naïve painter, chance decorations, and flea-market craft techniques.” That combination of elements, “that coexistence of images, cultures, techniques, goddesses, and demons, is what makes up this landscape of abundance where hunger, unease, weakness, and threat as we known them are nowhere to be found,” explains Aguado. Eceiza shapes, Aguado goes on, “a landscape of abundance and calm that makes the possibility of flight real.”

Celina Eceiza, La conquista del reino de los miedos, 2019, view of the exhibition at Móvil. Ph: Courtesy of Móvil

Regarding her images, the artist writes that they “contemplate the world while also referring to the low, the occult, the mythical, and the sublime, as well as to crass daily life in bucolic key.” On the occasion of La conquista del reino de los miedos, Eceiza wrote, “There is a convent around the corner from your unconscious/where a coven of butterflies lives./They drink wine, and adorn with flowers the place offered them./Some of the flowers are withered/and others blooming./The world to flee from./ Flight to connect to.” In the space she created with her work, the circle of possibilities opened up fearlessly until it wrapped around to form a circle. As Aguado observes, “freely, carelessly, and with no rigid hierarchy” “forms and bodies that convey an energy [unfold] on her canvases, an energy that wavers between idleness and pleasure, as the figures linger with no urgency and a certain bounty arises from their stance—confident and satisfied, unburdened by any concern.”

Celina Eceiza, La conquista del reino de los miedos, 2019, view of the exhibition at Móvil. Ph: Courtesy of Móvil
Celina Eceiza, La conquista del reino de los miedos, 2019, view of the exhibition at Móvil. Ph: Courtesy of Móvil
Celina Eceiza, La conquista del reino de los miedos, 2019, view of the exhibition at Móvil. Ph: Courtesy of Móvil

Techniques, materials, and images from different cultures “seem to flow together. They are, strikingly, always in dialogue, connected, stacked, linked. They act on one another, blossom from one another, hitched together like elephants, trunk to tail, expectant of endless connection,” explains Aguado, suggesting the possibility of a new world, of “heaven on Earth.” That because, among other things, the work “salvages forms as part of an ecosystem, both natural and symbolic, that welcomes anything that comes before it, a place where life and death meet, but never clash.”

Celina Eceiza, La conquista del reino de los miedos, 2019, view of the exhibition at Móvil. Ph: Courtesy of Móvil
Celina Eceiza, La conquista del reino de los miedos, 2019, view of the exhibition at Móvil. Ph: Courtesy of Móvil

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.


Cynthia Cohen at Pasto Brasil

Pan Dulce
Cynthia Cohen
Pasto Brasil
08.11.19 | 20.12.19
Cynthia Cohen, Pan Dulce, 2019, view of the exhibition at Pasto Brasil. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Pasto

Pasto gallery opened a new three-hundred-square-meter venue to house shows and other art events. The gallery proper will remain in Recoleta, while this new space (located at the corner of Brasil and Paseo Colón in the Buenos Aires Arts District) is envisioned for large-format works, often by guest artists, and shows in conjunction with foreign galleries. Pan Dulce, a show of paintings by Cynthia Cohen (Buenos Aires, 1969) curated by Florencia Qualina, opened the space during Art Weekend Buenos Aires (AWBA).

Cynthia Cohen, Pan Dulce, 2019, view of the exhibition at Pasto Brasil. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Pasto
Cynthia Cohen, Pan Dulce, 2019, view of the exhibition at Pasto Brasil. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Pasto

Faggioli’s book De la pintura features a text that Jorge Luis Borges wrote for one of the painter’s many shows. Borges asserts that “all beings struggle with time, which ultimately topples and forgets them. Like other arts, painting is a means—perhaps the most efficacious and tangible—to salvage something of what the centuries carry away with them.” To that, the curator adds in her text, “in her reexamination of family language, Cohen follows, in a way, that path: returning to the past to invent it anew.”

Cynthia Cohen, Pan Dulce, 2019, view of the exhibition at Pasto Brasil. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Pasto

En su libro De la pintura aparece un texto que Jorge Luis Borges escribió para una de las tantas exhibiciones de Faggioli; señalaba el autor que “todos los seres luchan con el tiempo, que finalmente los destroza y olvida. A semejanza de las otras artes, la pintura es un medio, quizá el más eficaz y tangible, de rescatar algo de lo que se llevan los siglos”. La curadora lo cita y agrega: “en su revisión de la lengua familiar, Cohen sigue, de alguna manera, ese camino. Volver al pasado, para inventarlo otra vez”.

Cynthia Cohen, Pan Dulce, 2019, view of the exhibition at Pasto Brasil. Ph: Bruno Dubner. Courtesy of Pasto

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.


Adriana Bustos et alii at the Pompidou

Cosmopolis #2: rethinking the human
Adriana Bustos et alii
Centro Pompidou
23.10.19 | 23.12.19

According to its website, Cosmopolis is a platform that “focuses on research-based, collaborative, and interdisciplinary contemporary art practices” through residencies, exhibitions, and publications. Created by the Centro Pompidou in 2016 and directed by Kathryn Weir, it participates in a “resurgence of interest in cosmopolitical approaches.” To that end, it engages artists who work on the production of relationships and the exchange of knowledge. In 2017, Cosmopolis #1: Collective Intelligence, held in Paris, formulated new modes of artistic collaboration. Cosmopolis #1.5: Enlarged Intelligence, in Chengdu in 2018, imagined ways the community might appropriate artificial intelligence media and cultivate ecological awareness.

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Adriana Bustos, Planisferio Venus, 2019, from the “Vision Machine” project, acrylic, graphite, gold and silver leaf, 370 x 370 cm. Ph: Courtesy of the Centro Pompidou
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Adriana Bustos, Planisferio Venus, 2019, from the “Vision Machine” project, acrylic, graphite, gold and silver leaf, 370 x 370 cm. Ph: Courtesy of the Centro Pompidou
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Adriana Bustos, Planisferio Venus, 2019, from the “Vision Machine” project, acrylic, graphite, gold and silver leaf, 370 x 370 cm. Ph: Courtesy of the Centro Pompidou

In 2019, Cosmopolis #2: rethinking the human presented, in the Centro Pompidou, constellations of works that explore technological diversity and the relationships between place and geographic scale. The exhibition argued that most people have been excluded from the universal formulation of the “human” and, the website goes on, the project “connects these questions to artistic explorations of the entanglement of the human and the non-human.” Cosmopolis #2 critically considered how “The European Renaissance fashioned ‘Man’ to the exclusion of women and non-Christians […]. By the 18th century, these formulations of humanity were integral to a ‘civilizing’ ideology that linked the idea of ‘progress’ to technology’s capacity to improve living conditions. European conceptions of the human were promoted within regimes of expropriation of resources, labour and reproductive capability. This project of modernity […] is today brought into question as one among the many possible histories.”

In this framework, Adriana Bustos (Córdoba, 1965)—thanks to the support of the Institut Français and the French Embassy in Argentina, as well as the Diálogo Franco Argentino program—traveled to Paris to produce Planisferio Venus (Planisphere Venus), an in-situ mural painting that forms part of her “Vision Machine” project. Formally, the work is a celestial planisphere, an instrument to read the sky from any point on Earth. Bustos chose a particular sky, however: the sky over Jerusalem at the first hour of the first day of the first month of the first year in the Christian Era. That moment marked, the artist explains, “the official beginning of history for the Western world.” Her planisphere presents “an alternative world that bears in mind the feminine part of humanity—not only women, but an idea that goes beyond the biological fact of gender. The map proposes a world more organic and intuitive, less rational and scientific. The women portrayed played an important role in Latin American independence movements and in defending minority rights. The names of the stars have been replaced by an array of concepts, ideas, and information related to the history of feminism, colonialism, and the invention of the idea of ‘race.’”

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Adriana Bustos, Planisferio Venus, 2019, from the “Vision Machine” project, acrylic, graphite, gold and silver leaf, 370 x 370 cm. Ph: Courtesy of the Centro Pompidou
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Adriana Bustos, Planisferio Venus, 2019, from the “Vision Machine” project, acrylic, graphite, gold and silver leaf, 370 x 370 cm. Ph: Courtesy of the Centro Pompidou

Contenido producido por arteBA. Memoria anual de arte argentino contemporáneo.


Modern and contemprary artists at Roldán Moderno

Acople
Gabriel Chaile, Juan del Prete, León Ferrari, Mariana Ferrari, Jorge Gumier Maier, Silvia Gurfein, Mauro Guzmán, Alfredo Hlito, Guillermo Kuitca, Fernanda Laguna, Luciana Lamothe, Alfredo Londaibere, Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos, Emilio Pettoruti, Marcelo Pombo, Cristina Schiavi, Xul Solar, Lino Enea Spilimbergo, Pablo Suárez, Yente
Roldan Moderno
24.09.19 | 25.10.19

In order to “revalorize Argentine modern art in contemporary thought,” Roldan Moderno organized a year-long series of exhibitions curated by guest curators. In that framework, art historian and curator Jimena Ferreiro came up with the idea for Acople, an exhibition that staged “some idea-forces that articulate the narrative of local art through a matching system that takes the shape of tentative proximities, enlargements, duplications, oppositions, rivalries and admirations,” she writes in her curatorial text.

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Acople, 2019, view of the exhibition at Roldan Moderno. Ph: Santiago Orti. Courtesty Roldan Moderno

The Spanish word acople—coupling as well as audio feedback in English—makes reference, Ferreiro goes on, “not only to adhering, joining, and fitting together but also to sound distortion that produces a noise and something like an echo.” In the spheres of sound and of image, it is “a phenomenon produced by a system when it draws back onto itself its own signal, inserting it ceaselessly, time and again.” The show paired works, but also drew open relationships between them, connections that went beyond what might, at first glance, have looked like a back and forth between sets of mirrors facing one another. Ferreiro applies the term acople to twentieth- and twenty-first-century Argentine art to establish “a great conversation between works across time.”

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Acople, 2019, view of the exhibition at Roldan Moderno. Ph: Santiago Orti. Courtesty Roldan Moderno

The idea of the musical cover also ran through the show, albeit obliquely. “Cristina Schiavi (Buenos Aires, 1954) [for example] did a cover of a painting by Emilio Pettoruti (La Plata, 1892–Paris, 1971), one of the most important artists of the Argentine modernist avant-garde active in the first decades of the twentieth century. Through her work, Schiavi manipulates the objects produced by the heteronorm, producing a strangeness-effect in order to evidence the sex-genetic marks of geometric modernism,” the curator explains. The exhibition included other key figures in strains of modernism and the twentieth-century avant-garde: Xul Solar (San Fernando, 1887–Tigre, 1963) and Alfredo Londaibere (Buenos Aires, 1955–2017) share a single spiritual search that is “encoded and embodied in their works.” If observed carefully and from a certain distance, Londaibere’s work contains the declaration “Self is absolute” amidst so many colors and forms suggestive of a “lettrism linked to the experimentation of the constructive avant-gardes” (Ferreiro).

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Acople, 2019, view of the exhibition at Roldan Moderno. Ph: Santiago Orti. Courtesty Roldan Moderno

The art of Jorge Gumier Maier (Buenos Aires, 1953) is tied to the Argentine abstract avant-gardes in a very specific way. The show paired one of his works from 1992 with a work by Yente (Buenos Aires, 1905–1990) and Juan del Prete (Vasto, 1897–Buenos Aires, 1987). “My tie to abstraction,” remarked Maier in a 1993 interview quoted in the curatorial text, “lies, above all, in its appropriation by modern interiors.”

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Acople, 2019, view of the exhibition at Roldan Moderno. Ph: Santiago Orti. Courtesty Roldan Moderno

In distinctive ways, Alfredo Hlito (Buenos Aires, 1923–1993) and Guillermo Kuitca (Buenos Aires, 1961) both explore “that indiscernible—and infrequent—zone between abstraction and figuration,” is how Mariano Mayer, whom Ferreiro also quotes, puts it. In both artists’ work, lines form structures (they do so explicitly in the case of Kuitca, who uses maps and architectural floor plans in his paintings). Along those lines, Luciana Lamothe (Mercedes, 1975), an admirer of modern architecture, “makes works with piping connected with hinges and like devices, the same materials she uses in her functional installations and sculptures—works like constructive structures that have turned against themselves.” One of Kuitca’s floor plans outlined in a crown of thorns (that is, in fact, the work’s title) was paired, in the show, with a sculpture by Lamothe—a cylinder of iron pipes whose surfaces have been cut down, shaping multiple sharp tips. Gabriel Chaile (San Miguel de Tucumán, 1985) would have liked to be an archeologist, Ferreiro says, explaining “magic orbits his work, as does faith in the capacity to transform matter, the very stuff of miracles.” Therein lies his tie to Hlito, who lived in Mexico from 1964 to 1973, where his work took on aspects of pre-Columbian culture.

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Acople, 2019, view of the exhibition at Roldan Moderno. Ph: Santiago Orti. Courtesty Roldan Moderno

In her works, Fernanda Laguna (Buenos Aires, 1972) creates forms of communication where artistic language acts as “a way to speak outside the art system,” writes Inés Katzenstein, whom Ferreiro also quotes. In the show, that “poetic force” was matched with the inscriptions of “poet, showman, minstrel, and performer” Federico Manuel Peralta Ramos (Mar del Plata, 1939–Buenos Aires, 1992). “A remarkable figure on the Buenos Aires art scene, one as extravagant as he is essential, with work that dematerialized to the point of becoming a simple vision of immediate experience.” “Pablo Suárez (Buenos Aires, 1937–2006),” Ferreiro goes on, “rematerialized his work to similar end. Outside was genocide [in reference to the bloody Argentine dictatorship in power from 1976 to 1983], inside the bed, plants, sheets, pleasure.” Acople coupled his nudes and drawings by Mauro Guzmán (Rosario, 1977) that “call forth unruly crowds, the excesses of the grunge aesthetic and queer androgyny.”

Marcelo Pombo (Buenos Aires, 1959) and the artists of his generation rediscovered “common beauty.” At a roundtable in 1994 with León Ferrari (Buenos Aires, 1920–2013) and Luis Felipe Noé, two politically committed artists, Pombo explained—as Ferreira recounts—that “he did not feel drawn to the great struggles of his nation and the world. All he really cared about was what was happening within a meter of his person.” The show matched his Guirnaldas con frutos podridos (Garlands with Rotten Fruit, 1993) and Ferrari’s Sin título (Untitled, 2006).

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Acople, 2019, view of the exhibition at Roldan Moderno. Ph: Santiago Orti. Courtesty Roldan Moderno

In recent years, Mariana Ferrari (San Miguel de Tucumán, 1975) has produced a series of paintings that takes apart the mountain landscape painting tradition, the iconography and earthy atmosphere that Lino Enea Spilimbergo (Buenos Aires, 1896–Unquillo, 1964)—who taught at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán—painted. Ferrari takes those landscapes to the field of gestural abstraction. “She uses the English word painting rather than the Spanish word pintura because it refers to both the thing and the action. That dynamic force is key to understandings her art, always on the vague limit between annihilation and vitalism, between disintegration and reunification in a very personal way of understanding painting in relation to territory and tradition,” Ferreiro goes on. Those extremes of the vital and the inert are also at play in the painting of Silvia Gurfein (Buenos Aires, 1959), who “wavers between the ghost of the form, its past life and ultimate disappearance until it turns into sheer color, blotch, mist, vibration, suggestion.”


Lucas Di Pascuale at Hache

Querido margen
Lucas Di Pascuale
HACHE
01.10.19 | 09.11.19
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Lucas Di Pascuale, Querido margen, 2019. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE

The recent works that Lucas Di Pascuale (Córdoba, 1968) presented at HACHE explore the relationship between figure and background and between drawing and color. The palette in the works in Querido margen is yielded by combining lines in ballpoint pen, ink, pencil, and oil paint, always on paper. The works make use of graphisms, messages, quotations from the artist’s readings, and references to other works of art in a weave of lines and figures that sometimes extends into large formats. His procedures lead to a deceptively simple question, “Is drawing color?—a query that the gallery formulates time and again in its information on the show.

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Lucas Di Pascuale, Querido margen, 2019. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE

The gallery also indicates that the artist’s actions begin “in a sector of the paper like … a humidity stain that sends him to the edges. That paper starts clamoring for larger and larger dimensions.” The works were organized on the walls of HACHE in groups where red, green, blue, brown, or black predominates. In each color group, there is one large-format work and other smaller works whose titles make reference to a book, for instance Un foquito en medio del campo (A Dim Light in the Middle of the Country) by Daiana Henderson, a young poet from Entre Rios province. A number of phrases-quotes appear in the interweave of straight and curved lines that make up the drawings and words. In Un foquito en medio del campo, for instance, the color blue predominates with a few touches of green and yellow. “The drawn text, the overflowing text” with no interruption—to use Tulio de Sagastizábal’s description in the exhibition text—grows inward from the edges. In shades of green, red, and black, another work holds, among other words, “adrift,” “text,” “body,” “language,” and “power.” Entitled El placer del texto (The Pleasure of the Text), this work is dedicated to the classic essay Roland Barthes wrote in 1973. Both works form part of the “Libros” (Books) series, as do the works dedicated to La revolución es un sueño eterno (Revolution is an Endless Dream) by Andrés Rivera and to Argentine theorist and psychoanalyst Oscar Masotta. “Authors that, whether tragic or joyous, always move us. But these are tatters of phrases and thoughts, words cut up, turned by the alchemy of drawing into another way to voice images,” De Sagastizábal goes on.

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Lucas Di Pascuale, Querido margen, 2019. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE
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Lucas Di Pascuale, Querido margen, 2019. Ph: Ignacio Iasparra. Courtesy of HACHE

Another group of works in the exhibition represents classic painting motifs. The lines in Jarra (Jug) and Pagoda, for instance, are concentrated in the middle of the sheet to highlight the contrast between figure and background with a wide blank border. Tejado (Tile Roof) and Pinar (Pine Forest) formulate another variant on the figure-background relationship. In them, the smooth texture that expands endlessly to the edge of the paper does not mean that the figure blurs into the neutral background. Textures and weaves can also grow in thickness to the extreme of Pleno (Complete), a work in marker and brown oil paint. And so the question the gallery asks returns; “Is drawing color?” De Sagastizábal seems to reply when, in closing his text, he affirms that “drawing is fragment. We are interested in those totalities that make up Querido margen because they are composed of endless slivers of time and, mostly, because after looking at them, forgetting sets in.”


Alfredo Londaibere at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires

Alfredo Londaibere. Yo soy santo
Alfredo Londaibere
Museo de Arte Moderno
26.09.19 | 01.03.20
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Alfredo Londaibere. Yo soy santo, 2019, view of the exhibition at Museo Moderno. Ph: Guido Limardo. Courtesy of Museo Moderno

The Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires presented the first panoramic exhibition of work by Alfredo Londaibere (Buenos Aires, 1955–2017). Curated by Jimena Ferreiro, Yo soy santo featured over one hundred works, ranging from early pieces produced in the seventies to the artist’s final series of paintings and collages produced from 2013 to 2017. The selection narrated in images the artist’s gradually turn to religion and his ties to spirituality.

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Alfredo Londaibere. Yo soy santo, 2019, view of the exhibition at Museo Moderno. Ph: Guido Limardo. Courtesy of Museo Moderno

Londaibere engaged painting as language and as field of action. He was not only an artist, but also a curator and teacher. His logic always revolved around his craft and art history. As the museum explains “His works were a coming together of classic European art, primitive Christianity, baroque colonial painting, pagan, Catholic and Afro-descendant beliefs, central and peripheral modernisms, east and west, the avant-garde and local appropriations, the artisan system and the learned arts, elite culture and popular consumption. Painting also gave him a field of research that he explored through diverse techniques and materialities which he used to revisit traditional genres, and which at the same time became a way to reach a spiritual state that became increasingly explicit in his themes, his procedures and his vision of the world.”

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Alfredo Londaibere. Yo soy santo, 2019, view of the exhibition at Museo Moderno. Ph: Guido Limardo. Courtesy of Museo Moderno

In the eighties, Londaibere’s production became more systematic (it was often divided into series). Notwithstanding, he did not participate in the exhibition circuit or in juried shows. He was involved in the Grupo de Acción Gay (GAG), with which he read social theory, engaged in micro-activism, and socialized with figures like Jorge Gumier Maier and Marcelo Pombo. In the late eighties, he took part in critiques held at the Centro Cultural Ciudad de Buenos Aires (today the Centro Cultural Recoleta) with artists Pablo Suárez, Luis Wells, and Kenneth Kemble. Pombo remembers—and Ferreiro recounts—that in those critiques Suárez encouraged Londaibere to pursue collage. He formed part of the group of artists close to the art gallery at the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas from the time of that venue’s opening until the end of Gumier’s tenure as its chief curator. In 1989, he exhibited Mapas y pinturas at Rojas. His first solo show, the artist also considered it a retrospective. He exhibited at Rojas two more times, once in 1991 in a show curated by Magdalena Jitrik and finally in 1992.

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Alfredo Londaibere, Sin título (Untitled), 1993, oil and acrylic on wood, 45 x 40 cm. Ph: Gonzalo Maggi. Courtesy of Museo Moderno

Organized in a chronological sequence that “strays occasionally,” the curator explains, Yo soy santo began with four walls under two intersecting arches from which four central works hung. One of them contains an encoded message amidst constructivist-like lines and colors: the phase from which the exhibition gets its title (I am holy).

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Alfredo Londaibere, Sin título (Untitled), 1990, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 50 cm. Ph: Gonzalo Maggi. Courtesy of Museo Moderno
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Alfredo Londaibere, Sin título (Untitled), 2001-2003, oil on wood, 43 x 50 x 8 cm. Ph: Gonzalo Maggi. Courtesy of Museo Moderno

The exhibition continued with a selection of small and medium-size works produced from 1983 to 1992. In them, the artist uses collage and assemblage to decontextualize images and objects from consumer culture—women’s magazines, gay porn, and art history—but also images of Sai Baba, Saint Sebastian, and the Virgin Maria along with Spanish playing cards, Tarot and other fortunetelling decks, and characters from comics like Don Fulgencio. These images are sometimes combined in what Ferreiro calls a “decorative dripping.” In his paintings on wood in particular, nails make reference to wounds and lacerations. The exhibition included as well his works made from crushed soda cans, where “the beauty of consumption [is] affected by waste and scavenging. These works bring together some of the key visual themes of the 1990s and early 2000s, including the recuperation of ‘minor’ techniques and popular materials in the quest to reinstate their sacredness,” the museum goes on. Also on exhibit were the backs of works bearing prayers and laudations.

Londaibere also made sculptures, which he exhibited in 2005 at the Centro Cultural Borges in a show curated by Fernanda Laguna and featuring as well paintings by Florencia Bohtlingk. Those works were exhibited in another gallery alongside works from the 2000s. According to Ferreiro, “a more direct gesture predominated” in Londaibere’s work from this period. “He felt that he was painting for the first time.” This gallery contained a selection of his final paintings, works that make use of large formats in an effort to grapple with the “isms” of the historical avant-gardes by, for instance, using a constructivist style in an image of decorative flowers.


Walter Barrios at the Rojas Cultural Center

Un enigma y un ojal
Walter Barrios
Centro Cultural Rector Ricardo Rojas, fotogalería
13.09.19 | 27.11.19

In a show curated by Alberto Goldenstein, Walter Barrios (Mar del Plata, 1977) exhibited a group of twelve large- and small-format color photographs, some of them recent and others produced between 2013 and 2017, at the Fotogalería del Rojas. Thanks to the use of contrast and flecks of light, the eye sets out to explore every last detail of the image, searching, perhaps, for a hidden code that it will never manage to decipher.

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Walter Barrios, Un enigma y un ojal, 2019, view of the exhibition at the Centro Cultural Rojas fotogalería. Ph: Walter Barrios

In their stark clarity, the images recall, at first glance, the series of “Interiors” with which Thomas Ruff registered the Germany of the eighties and works by Humberto Rivas from that same period. Barrios’s use of the photographic medium in, for example, the works’ framing and reflections ties them, at least in appearance, to documentary registers of residential spaces. But in the rooms he photographs there are details that deviate from the logic of interiors and, hence, from photographic realism: monochrome planes, plants growing through shutters, milk spilled around an unpotted aloe vera plant in the middle of a painted tile floor, to name just a few. To make the works, the artist photographed everyday spaces to then “work on top of them.” Specifically, he made a digital sketch to plan and then produce, in the actual space, a scene. “I decorate using elements I build or buy to instill a new aesthetic—a game in which I dress an everyday space in clothes, but also in patterns and even—for good measure—jewelry, like a flower in a buttonhole.” Most of the works on exhibit are photographs of those scenes, which Barrios carefully constructs in his house in Mar del Plata, where he lives, works, teaches, and organizes exhibitions.

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Walter Barrios, Un enigma y un ojal, 2019, vista de exhibición en fotogalería del Centro Cultural Rojas. Ph: Walter Barrios
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Walter Barrios, Un enigma y un ojal, 2019, vista de exhibición en fotogalería del Centro Cultural Rojas. Ph: Walter Barrios

As the gallery text explains, his work “makes undeniable reference to Mar del Plata as stage and to the materials most prevalent in its original and its contemporary architecture: stone, wood, and majolica.” The images also blossom with the plants typical of that city: “the costillas [Swiss cheese plants]; the aloe vera with its red flower that lasts the entire frigid coastal winter to then burn and vanish when summer comes; the lazo de amor [spider plant] found on so many porches; palm trees and palmitos [European fan palm]; Portuguese tiles in hotel lobbies; wallpaper lining apartments; granite wall and floor tiles; wood for real estate agencies and kitchen walls; shutters,” Barrios goes on. All of those materials, as well as views where the urban and the natural mix, confront residents of Mar del Plata as they bustle around the city. Indeed, they make up “a compendium of elements that allows us to look at our immediate reality with sculptural vision,” the artist asserts.

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Walter Barrios, Un enigma y un ojal, 2019, vista de exhibición en fotogalería del Centro Cultural Rojas. Ph: Walter Barrios
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Walter Barrios, Un enigma y un ojal, 2019, vista de exhibición en fotogalería del Centro Cultural Rojas. Ph: Walter Barrios

That sculptural vision asks itself about what the appearance of these materials means in the urban environment in which homes surrounded by gardens reside, not without conflict, in the lingering style of the seaside resort that the city was from the time of its founding until Juan Domingo Perón’s first term. From then on, pursuant to the enactment of the Ley de Propiedad Horizontal in 1948, those materials were used to construct tall apartment buildings with units bought mostly by middle-class residents of Buenos Aires. At the same time, workers and their families began arriving. Thanks to what was called “social tourism” and paid vacation, they stayed in small hotels or in large union-owned complexes, built in their own distinctive style. “That intersection, fusion, confrontation leaves us with countless symbologies. From our tangled Mar del Plata, we draw elements to construct and re-signify in the work.”

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Walter Barrios, Un enigma y un ojal, 2019, vista de exhibición en fotogalería del Centro Cultural Rojas. Ph: Walter Barrios

In his stagings, Barrios creates a conversation of elements to generate an image, product of an imagination molded by its environment. In the artist’s logic, elements and materials are organized in ornamental constructions that escape the norm of interior or landscape design. In that operation, stone, plants, tiles, and other materials veer away from their original point of reference: they are now pure visuality. They turn into elements found in German photography from the eighties—but only for an instant. They then move back from that unknown space and dwell instead in their own place and history. On the intense surfaces of Barrios’s photographs, Mar del Plata returns with a different might, one that can push it, if only for a split second, elsewhere.

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.


Manuel Espinosa and Luis Tomasello at MACBA

Tomasello y Espinosa. En torno al cuadrado
Manuel Espinosa, Luis Tomasello
MACBA
20.09.19 | 10.11.19

The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires | Fundación Aldo Rubino and the Asociación de Amigos del MACBA presented Tomasello y Espinosa. En torno al cuadrado. Curated by Ayelén Vázquez and Joaquín Almeida, the exhibition formulated an unprecedented dialogue between the work of Luis Tomasello (Buenos Aires, 1915–Paris, 2014) and Manuel Espinosa (La Plata, 1912–2006). Its proposal revolved around the square, the shape both artists used to explore color. With this show, the museum once again confirmed “the importance of Latin American kinetic art and the foundations of its international significance.”

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Manuel Espinosa, Axchawz, 1973, acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm. Ph: Courtesy of MACBA

The two artists differ, however, in their chromatic choices which, in both cases, are not only distinctive but also central to their artistic thought. Also different is their treatment of the square. Transparency is essential to Espinosa’s art, whereas in Tomasello’s reflected light predominates. While Tomasello is interested in the cube and all its formal variants, Espinosa studies the dynamic and displaced square in planes of color. “Through the use of these resources, both generate impressions on the canvas that demonstrate the difficulties of visual perception, while introducing a reflection on the act of seeing, where appearances make the ability to apprehend the reality of things complex.” Notwithstanding, MACBA concludes, through the exhibition, that it was “perhaps more because of the geographical distances that separate them—Tomasello moved to Paris in 1975 and Espinosa lived in Buenos Aires until his death—than [because of] aesthetics [that] these two artists had never done an exhibition together, until now. The passage of time represented in their work would be in charge of joining them in the same space, full of that color and light that they so longed to discover.”

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Luis Tomasello, Objet plastique N° 687, 1990, relief, 125 cm x 125 cm x 7 cm. Ph: Courtesy of MACBA

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art.