As Argentina celebrates 200 years of independence, a remarkably curated show is taking place at the Kirchner Cultural Center. The show, entitled 200 Years: Past, Present, and Future, is an in depth look about the country of Argentina, it’s people, and what they stand for. Multiple curators worked together, and as a collective have assembled a landscape show, bringing together works ranging from the 18th century up until 2016. The show is divided into four parts. One of those parts, “Future” remains to be opened. The other three parts, located on the sixth floor of the cultural center, are entitled “Encounters,” “Landscapes of Our Territory” and “Identity,” and will be on display until December.
Including works from the likes of eccentric Marcos López, whose exhibit on Identity is called “Be National.” Dramatic and soul-searching, he says: “It is not meant for outsiders, it is for us, locals. If you don’t understand the references, that’s fine. I don’t particularly care if all visitors understand everything.”
While there is a broad range of possibilities in showing a country through its artists, it is an entirely different -and more daunting- task in pinpointing its identity, which this show aims to do. The “Encounters” portion of the exhibit contains experimental work, and is sandwiched in the corner between the other two exhibits. It contains installations by Pablo La Padula, who invited other artists to join him in filling three cabinets full of curiosities. Positioned and filled with various objects arranged in such a way so as to bring to mind the cases one might find at a natural history museum or in an anthropological study. There is a recreation of a Patagonia adobe house here as well, with a take on a set of classical paintings of a French battlefield. This re-creation, however, has a local twist. There is a large clay box visitors must sick thier heads inside of to view a surreal landscape of cave-like rocks, crystals, butterflies, and skulls, by artist Andrés Paredes.
From artists working with natural material to 19th century oil paintings, the exhibit is ambitious and varied but cohesive in feel. There are more than seventy artists represented here, as well as many artistic disciplines, but they all stand out in artistic merit at the same time they blend together into the context created for the show. From sculpture of man laying on a dirty mattress next to a box of cheap wine to the piece from Argentine master Antonio Berni hanging right above it, the heart of Argentina and it’s people are the common thread that sews the eclectic collection together.
And again, opening the “Future” part of the exhibit weeks after the opening of the show lends it’s own commentary to the exhibit as well. From the website for the exhibit: “This section, to be launched in the second half of August, raises a random tour of images, ideas, inventions and oddities, through works related to technology, science and design. The exhibition also has a program related activities: lectures, conferences and performances.”
This bustling exhibit is a meeting place to see a tangible heritage, as well as trying to put a finger on the common intangible heritage of a vibrant country. See the hard work of Ana Maria Battistozi here, as well as pieces from Alberto Passolini, the contemporary artist Nicola Costantino, and many, many more.