Espíritu nómade
Xil Buffone, Cristina Coll, Josefina Labourt, Maruki Nowacki
Barro
31.08.2019 | 12.10.2019

Espíritu nómade was the second edition of a series of exhibitions that Barro has held in a new space adjacent to the gallery’s central space. Called “Cámara” (Chamber), the space is conceived as “a zone of intimate articulation.” As the gallery explains, “Cámara” is geared to “small curatorial exercises [to] stage, alongside the gallery’s main programming, works and authors relegated, marginalized, or incipient.” Each series is assigned an editor who organizes shows that may range widely in characteristics (group or solo, experimental or traditional, novel or unknown participants, etc.). Martín Legón, the editor of the 2019 edition, invited Guadalupe Creche to co-curate Espíritu nómade, an exhibition that explored the intersection between artists of two generations—over twenty years separated one group from the other: Xil Buffone (Bahía Blanca, 1966) and Cristina Coll (Buenos Aires, 1956), on the one hand, and Josefina Labourt (Buenos Aires, 1985) and Maruki Nowacki (Quilmes, 1981), on the other, were brought together by, as the curatorial text explains, “a like mode of thinking.”

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Espíritu nómade, 2019, view of the exhibition at Barro. Ph: Santiago Ortí. Courtesy of Barro

At the center of the gallery, Nowacki’s Real, absurdo, irreal (Real, Absurd, Unreal) formulates from its very title what the curators call “a passage of transformation.” “The order of her world is indiscernible: hard and heavy, the mummified lime-covered white hand runs aground on an ethereal structure leaving in its wake a hazy passage between the physical and the chemical, the amorphous and the anthropomorphic, the passive and the active, the metaphoric and the concrete. The materiality of Las flores de Aída (Aida´s Flowers)—a small work that cannot be defined as drawing or painting that the artist made at the age of seventeen—is similarly ambiguous.” On the walls to the left and the right were two little-known soft paintings by Xil Buffone entitled Repollo blando (Soft Cabbage) and Papa blanda (Soft Potato), both from 1998. In their text, the curators associate these works with “the sensuality of [Georgia] O´Keeffe and the sculptural pictography of [Claes] Oldenburg.” On a more abstract level where visual strategies can be linked to literary strategies, the curators underscore the affinity between these works and Marosa di Giorgio’s writing, particularly in the way they “equate forms; both creators treat mushrooms, cabbage, and green beans like organs or sexes.” Two works by Josefina Labourt also installed on lateral walls are described as “archaic linkages with variant symbols from different eras.” In Un agua sin límites (A Boundless Water), for instance “a womb with rag and leather innards might be a hypertrophied bone.” In Falta un umbral (Missing Threshold), “a chewing-gum lip gives context to a whole face, here twisted. Expanded plastic is the support for idealized anthropomorphic forms from cosmetics advertisements.” Regarding those ideals, the show featured a work by Cristina Coll from a series of home video performances in which the artist documents her daily tasks before an unmoving camera. The nine-minute-long Persona (Person) shows her putting on and removing makeup; the work has “no purpose other than recording the action. In its insistence, the face is like someone fighting against the memory of a material. It submits and deforms, clashing with classic images of the act of putting on makeup.” A selection of Coll’s drawings from the “Tortines” (Bull Dykes) series was also on exhibit. The artist made these illustrations of anonymous characters in 2007 and 2008 for the lesbian-feminist magazine Baruyera..

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Cristina Coll, Persona (Person), 2006, video performance (digital DVD), 9 min
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Josefina Labourt, Un agua sin límites (A Boundless Water), 2019, leather, elastic, sock, padding, wire, canvas, synthetic enamel, and EVA rubber.120 x 140 x 35 cm
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Maruki Nowaki, Lo real, lo absurdo, lo irreal (The Real, The Absurd, the Unreal), 2017, fabric, acrylic, acetate, aerosol, lime, pastel chalk. 130cm x 60cm x 80cm
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Xil Buffone, Papa blanda (Soft Potato), 1997, mixed media on burlap and glass, 90 x 70 x 20 cm
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Espíritu nómade, 2019, view of the exhibition at Barro. Ph: Santiago Ortí. Courtesy of Barro

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