Mildred Burton at Museo de Arte Moderno

Mildred Burton: Fauna del país
Mildred Burton
Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires
27.02.20 | 22.06.20

In its Project Room, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires presented Mildred Burton: Fauna del país curated by Marcos Krämer. Outfitted in Victorian-style furniture, rug, and orange-flower wallpaper, the gallery contained an overview of paintings, drawings, collages, and intervened photographs produced by Mildred Burton (Paraná, 1942–Buenos Aires, 2008) over the course of four decades, from the early sixties to the early 2000s. Stretches of the wallpaper on the gallery’s walls were torn from floor to ceiling, suggesting the ruptures that marked the artist’s imaginary. Her figurations, the Museum explains, “dialogue with fantasy, perversion, and humor at once, constructing family portraits, animated objects, and even imaginary animals through representations with a distinct surrealist bend.”

A number of visual references appear in Burton’s works, from the nineteenth-century English decorative arts tradition, the Arts & Crafts movement, and the surrealism of Max Ernst and René Magritte to the political realism of Argentine art from the nineteen-seventies and eighties. But the literary references are the ones that endure throughout her oeuvre, especially those related to fantastic literature and popular children’s stories—the basis for “a great visual novel of the family environment and its conflicts.” The exhibition included, for example, three portraits of members of the Rosas family (1974), each of which “slowly and delicately turns into the flower [the rose] that is their last name. From the son’s ears two thorns gently blossom; the grandfather’s hair assumes the rose’s spiral shape; and the father’s ear is an elegant bud,” describes the curator.

Burton’s art, like fantastic literature, witnesses transformations. Books open and from them emerge the characters, objects, and animals featured in their stories. Bye, bye… trencito mío… bye, bye (1994) and El tiempo náufrago de Gran Father Boat (The Shipwrecked Time of Grandfather Boat 1994-1996), for instance, “put the finishing touches on the exhibition’s domestic-fantastic space, proposing the home as a necessary platform from which the imagination tears up the limits of the known until lost in a reverie” (Krämer). The artist “merged two apparently contrasting worlds—nature and civilization—bringing human and animal forms into contact at the point of bestial transformation.” In Burton’s images, the domestic sphere is invaded by unbridled nature as basic tensions nestle in the heart of the home. In works like El primer dolor de Jean Jarrow (Jean Jarrow’s First Pain, 1992) and Los primeros días de Mayo (The First Days of May, 1978), meanwhile, Burton injects fantastic life into the most mundane objects like a cup—the landscape on its porcelain surface encroaches on the rest of the canvas—and a stool—the chimneys on it release smoke—“in pursuit of estrangement in the most ordinary reality,” says the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires.

Felipe Álvarez Parisi at Mite

Un collar con forma de estrella
Felipe Álvarez Parisi
06.03.20 | 07.04.20

In his show at Mite, Felipe Álvarez Parisi (Buenos Aires, 1992) presented a set of paintings and a single object, a floor-to-ceiling column in the middle of the gallery, a structure of eggs placed one on top of the other. Traced in pencil on the largest wall in gallery, the one where most of the paintings were laid out unevenly, was a pattern like a wall of hollow bricks; the blue rug covering the floor chromatically connected the interior with views from the gallery’s window, specifically to the also-blue façade of a store—a houseware shop—across the street. Both the store and the works are tied, in different ways, to the domestic sphere.

In the mostly small-format works on exhibit, the familiar is altered or rarefied by an element that has been displaced. In Mi ansiedad (My Anxiety, 2019), a fire burning up the edge of a curtain in the corner of a neat room threatens to envelop the rest of the house. In Café de nana (Nana’s Coffee, 2019), water is what threatens to overflow as its light-blue streams pour through holes in a red brick wall, the color of the water and of the brick in stark contrast. Liquid also streams in egg white-tears from the ten eggs on the green rungs of the ladder in Huevito llorón sobre escalera (Little Crying Egg on Ladder, 2019). The image of the egg reappears, distorting a still life with its double yoke, in Huevo de dos yemas (Two-Yoked Egg, 2019), as does water in Tus vasos viendo como entras otro al cuarto (Your Glasses Watching as You, Someone Else, Walk into the Room, 2019), where vessels holding liquid come to life and seem to run amok as they take over a room.

In the text written for the show, Ramiro Birriel and Nicolás Moguilevsky speak of “consecutive accidents as tragedies still unfolding” that combine with the “joys of morning and flirtation with an imaginary unsettled by those fevers that never abate.” In these works, stillness is seen from a naive perspective of curved and organic lines.

Fabián Burgos at Vasari

Fuera del cuerpo
Fabián Burgos
11.03.20 | 24.04.20

Thanks to the work he has produced consistently since the nineties, Fabián Burgos (Buenos Aires, 1962) is a major exponent of geometric abstraction and neo-kinetic painting. After creating Stay in Space (2017), a mural covering over thirty-two hundred square meters on the facade of Brickell Heights in Miami, he showed seven recent works at Vasari that explore the potential of pictorial material. Fuera del cuerpo featured two large-format kinetic paintings and five other works in which motion is gradually brought to a standstill.

From the start, Burgos has used oil paint, not acrylic, which would be more practical for the precision of hard-edge abstraction. In Espectro 1 (Specter 1, 2020), the kinetic work on display in the gallery’s front window, three planes of green, black, and white lines respectively are superimposed. The lines curve and crisscross, distorting the expected straightness. If, by looking at the painting from a distance, say, the eye is able to forget each line for an instant, it can detect that behind the surface of parallel strips of color lies a vague black figure (the “specter”). Gravedad en negro (Gravity in Black, 2020), the other kinetic work in the show, also consists of parallel lines that curve and crisscross, as if they existed in flat worlds that are superimposed on the same surface though they never intersect.

The illusion of movement diminishes in the next works, in “the forms in spiral,” to use the artist’s term, on white background that have straight edges and sharp points. In Espiral con límites (Spiral with Limits, 2020), for example, a thin light-blue line traces the perimeter of a pink shape as if trying to hold it at bay to keep it from advancing from the right side of the painting.

In the other paintings in the show, the movement of the figures or, citing the artist again, of the “cut-out shapes” gradually comes to a halt, as if frozen in a photograph. Unlike in the kinetic paintings, in these the brushstroke, the painter’s gesture, and the background color all make themselves seen. Though the “cut-out” figures are arranged differently in each of the works, they always stand out “from behind” in a textureless matte black. They are not, in other words, painted on the background: the background paradoxically surrounds them without covering them.

Movement and stillness, figure and background, but also the trace left by the hand that paints and hard abstraction are the most visible tensions Burgos formulates in an exhibition that, in just seven works, sums up two opposing but not contradictory ways of painting.

A book of activities, by Luciana Marino et alii

Un Libro de Actividades. Experiencias en primera persona sobre la educación en el arte
Txt: Luciana Marino (comp. y ed.). Diana Aisenberg, Joaquín Aras, Gabriel Baggio, Ernesto Ballesteros, Diego Bianchi, Delfina Bourse, Juliana Ceci, Ariel Cusnir, Marina De Caro, Tulio de Sagastizábal, Lucas Di Pascuale, Leopoldo Estol, Mónica Girón, Verónica Gómez, Max Gómez Canle, Eva Grinstein, Silvia Gurfein, Cynthia Kampelmacher, Bárbara Kaplan, Silvana Lacarra, Catalina León, Karina Peisajovich, Inés Raiteri, Mariana Rodríguez Iglesias, Rosana Schoijett, Luis Terán, Leila Tschopp, Lucrecia Urbano, Paola Vega, Santiago Villanueva, Osías Yanov, Dani Zelko
Buenos Aires, 2019
224 pp, 23 x 16 cm

Luego de casi tres años de trabajo, Luciana Marino reunió en un libro las experiencias de un conjunto de docentes dedicados a educación en el arte. “No hay un único modo de aprender, como no hay un único modo de enseñar. Tampoco un lugar exclusivo para hacerlo. Un Libro de Actividades surge del deseo de visibilizar las prácticas elaboradas por un grupo de artistas y curadores pertenecientes a distintas generaciones y con diversas trayectorias, que eligen el campo de la educación como plataforma para sociabilizar e intercambiar experiencias de aprendizaje, considerando a la docencia una herramienta de investigación íntimamente relacionada con sus búsquedas creativas”, escribe Marino.

El libro se propone como un espacio de acción y reflexión en el que las actividades funcionan como una llave para descubrir las analogías latentes entre la figura del artista/curador y el docente, dando a conocer las estrategias, métodos, intenciones, problemáticas y referentes vinculados a la enseñanza y a la producción artística. Los textos tienen su origen en una serie de encuentros con los docentes-autores: cada uno propone un ejercicio y relata una experiencia personal. Fueron editados conservando las marcas de oralidad y, en su conjunto, abarcan un amplio espectro de consignas y ofrecen recursos para grupos de distinta cantidad de participantes.

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