The wide spectrum of what violence can mean, from more subtle forms such as a sign indicating that a cultural and public heritage is for sale – the work of artist Leandro Erlich – to the figure of Christ crucified on a military plane – by León Ferrari- is combined in the impressive exhibition “Argentina. What the night tells the day”in the Pavilion of Contemporary Art of Milan, a municipal museum of 2,000 square meters that aims to bring to the public of this cosmopolitan city a panorama of Argentine contemporary art, with a summary of the last half century.
Maybe because since “El Matadero” by Esteban Echeverría Violence is a founding theme in Argentine literature, It is not inappropriate to take this topic as a starting point to display an important and imposing section of Argentine art of the last half century through 22 artists from various generations, in the exhibition curated by the Argentine Andrés Duprat and the Italian Diego Sileo, director of the PAC, who structured the set into three axes: irony, literality and quotation.
“Calm down, calm down, madam. The PAC is not for sale since it has a cardinal importance in the life of the city of Milan,” Tommaso Sacchi, Minister of Culture of the Municipality of Milan, said this Monday in the central room of the museum. sitting next to the pictorial installation made up of 11 large pink canvases by Mariela Scafati, in a press conference before the Italian media – where Télam was present – to bring the highlights of this exhibition closer.
“The exhibition does not attempt to account for all Argentine art. That would be absurd and impossible,” details Andrés Duprat in dialogue with this agency, about the group that begins in the first room with “Western and Christian Civilization” by León Ferrari, kickoff to a story that unfolds throughout the different rooms and includes names such as Adriana Bustos, Ana Gallardo, Jorge Macchi, Miguel Rotschild, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Adrián Villar Rojas, Juan Sorrentino, Tomás Saraceno and Nicolás Robbio.
In this way, a final representation of Albiceleste contemporary art will meet until February 2024 in this city, “the capital of fashion”, where the best-known haute couture brands multiply along its streets, which receive million tourists a year, who sell Milan and Inter shirts on almost every corner for 35 euros each and where you can visit a milestone in art history, “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci in the Santa Convent Maria delle Grazie.
“For seven years we have dedicated an annual exhibition to a non-European country, to get to know it through the eyes of the artists. It is not a geographical, ethnographic or anthropological approach but it is a political look at the culture and society of that country. country, always through contemporary art. We started with China, we have continued with Japan, with Brazil, and it is Argentina’s turn, an opportunity to present and promote its culture,” Diego Sileo, the director of the PAC, explained to Télam. a museum that receives 50,000 visitors a year and is located in one of the artistic areas of the city, adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art, in front of the Museum of Natural History, near the Planetarium and less than a kilometer from the Duomo, the most big of this city.
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the exhibition is “Western and Christian Civilization” by León Ferrari, a work from the 60s that was censored at its premiere but with which the Argentine also won the Golden Lion in Venice, here in this same country: “A work that demonstrates its validity,” says Duprat during a tour of room. Just to one side but facing the entrance door is the installation “The Sweeper” by Liliana Porter, used to placing small figures in front of excessive situations or dramas, as is the case of this tiny sweeper in front of her. the task of cleaning hundreds of objects including violins and cellos that far exceed it, with references to “The Man with the Axe” that was seen at Malba.
“The sweeper is in those kinds of situations where you want to erase everything before or you want to start over. It serves for me as a metaphor for time, for the things that are happening. There are situations, there is someone who cleans and there is someone who breaks. Yes “As you get closer, you find other stories, as in reality. It can show things that you would like it to be or what you remember,” says Liliana Porter in dialogue with Télam, shortly after the inauguration. Also included are some historical photos of her that she took in the 70s with Luis Camnitzer, in New York. “It was a time when she played with the idea of representation,” she says of the black and white images with drawings on their faces, fragmented.
Also there at the entrance are four pieces by Lucio Fontana, “the artist in dispute,” Duprat suggests with a laugh, since Italians usually present him as their own despite the fact that he was born in the city of Rosario. “He is a key artist who articulates both scenes,” adds the Argentine curator. There are three drawings of him made in Buenos Aires where he was already beginning to rehearse what would later give him notoriety in Italy: spatial concepts, fabrics cut with cuts.
Another type of violence, much more thunderous, is that immense mass that pretends to be made of black tar – although it is in fact an ultra-light material – that unfolds in one of the main places in the room – next to the museum’s 35-inch windows. meters by six- from the artist Eduardo Basualdo, in line with what he recently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, a monocolor catastrophe of crushed bodies. “All my work speaks of something as anecdotal as it is existential, such as a catastrophe. A force that is beyond your decision, whether it is the eruption of a volcano or a genocide, a human being is trapped in a scale of movements,” The artist who created the work especially for this space with the help of four local Fine Arts students tells Télam.
Just looking towards the main room of the museum, you can see in the heights, overlooking the balcony, the “Puffs” of Graciela Sacco, a very long wall thirty meters long full of those screams, those screaming mouths, which were born in ’93, “designed for public space, ephemeral, which are given new meaning each time they are installed in a space and with the passage of time. time,” Sacco’s children, Marcos and Clara, who arrived for the premiere, tell Télam. “It is 30 years since the series ‘Bocanada’,” they point out, pointing to its validity.
In the main room of the museum it is possible to find, for example, the piece of Christina Piffer, who focuses his work on violence against indigenous peoples through the image of “Two Hundred Pesos Strong”, sealed on a display case with powdered blood – an industrial product. A screen print with blood powder stencil, which replicates the image of the banknotes that were issued in Argentina in the mid-19th century, with cattle and land: “The issuance of these banknotes coincides with the desert campaign. These banknotes show the country model that was being thought of. The bills with their watermarks, the winner with his marks, and the land also with its property marks,” defines the artist who recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In the most “historical” part of the exhibition, next to the record of “The Parthenon of Forbidden Books” by Marta Minujin -between photographs and videos- and the photo performance by Liliana Maresca, titled “Maresca surrenders, all destiny” -where she puts her body as an element of commodification in a decade -the 90s, where everything was salable- a controversial performance is located of Alberto Greco. “A delirium, a madness, an irreverent work and against the Church,” defines Duprat about that piece displayed here in 16 photographs: Greco, the creator of the Vivo Dito, stripped naked, kissed another man, represented Jesus, and that’s why they took him to prison, threw him out and never allowed him to re-enter Italy. But that was well before he decided to take his own life, that night in Barcelona when he decided to write the word “end” on the palm of his hand and swallow a bottle of barbiturates.
“Violence – Diego Sieleo now assures during the press conference before the Italian media – can be deployed on the Argentine reality in different ways: conceptual, metaphorical, radical. The name of the performance that today opens the exhibition to the public, ‘World of shit’, from the artist Mariana Bellottois allusive thinking about what is coming at this moment in Argentina,” the PAC director slipped in reference to the results of the electoral runoff.
It must be said that, as a prequel if this were a movie, the façade of the PAC building is taken over by the “For sale” sign – in Italian and with a contact telephone number that is nothing less than the museum’s own telephone number – work of Leandro Erlicha gesture similar to the one seen in his “Liminal” exhibition in Malba.
“There is an act of irony that is playing with the idea that cultural heritage is at the service of the real estate market and that things are transacted; that a cultural space like this can be lost overnight. It seems to me that it is an act of violence,” the artist tells Télam. The illusion is already unfolding and it will be a matter of seeing if someone calls the phone number on the poster asking about the property for sale.
Then, between the façade and the entrance to the room, the installation of Matias Duville“Precipitate a species”, a powerful combination between natural and artificial, between steel pipes, crushed by immense rocks, at the ends of which some species of plants grow randomly, and which was initially born as a drawing, like the most of his works: “This installation began with some drawings that united two apparently opposite landscapes. There is the connection with the title of the exhibition, of day and night, of two inmixible things and how they could be fused,” says the artist and He adds that his drawings are “almost designs of catastrophes, spaces of freedom, where opposites can be mixed,” he details.