Over a career spanning more than four decades, Mónica Giron (San Carlos de Bariloche, 1959) has essayed different models to tackle with internal violence, social violence and the violence we inflict on the planet, as well as love, loneliness, unseen forces and the unquantifiable. For Giron, art enables us to discern and understand that which overwhelms us, opening the way to projection, imagination and transformation.
Giron’s practice has always been in perpetual motion, appealing to a way of conceiving art and life through nomadism, hybridism and transformation. This has led her to work in various media – sculpture, painting, drawing, mural and digital – with materials precisely tailored to each investigation, including: beeswax to refer to the social binding agent; watercolour to give form to the liquid currents of the body and the planet; 3-D printing in biodegradable materials to quantify the proportions of the seas and continents; the blackboard to appeal to learning, among others.
The exhibition establishes connections between a series of new projects and works from other periods in Giron’s career. Through these connections, the artist endeavours to stabilise the disruption that the world and also her work may provoke without losing sight of it, as it is a substantial tool of art in beginning to reconnect us not only with our present but with our predecessors and successors, so improving our relationship with the biosphere.
After Argentina’s economic and political crisis in 2001, Mónica Giron began to shape Neocriollo [Neo-Creole]: a monumental beeswax sculpture that took her five years to develop. The work is a response to the divided, broken society we found ourselves immersed in. A being with twenty-one heads and forty-two eyes, erected upon its forebears. It is an image that may be viewed as utopian, but it is also shocking: a creature as beautiful as it is suffocating, a communion that feels necessary but can also entrap us and disenable diversity.
Giron produces dense, hybrid images, loaded with paradox and bewilderment. Her MED drawings attempt to accommodate the energy of individual suffering bodies, while her SX watercolours probe the fusion of forces between two bodies, and Lagunas [Lagoons] give form to a confusing, unknown mental space that can surface in response to the social bond. This passage between the individual body, and its relationship with an other and with a social body stem from a search for greater understanding of the environment or critical space – local and global – in which they are inscribed. The local is developed in her series ‘Lugares desolados’ [‘Desolate Places’], works that reflect on empty habitats, Patagonian wilderness and the historical extermination of their original inhabitants. The paintings of Enlaces Querandí [Querandí Connections] build up an idealised projection interlacing the past and future of the River Plate Basin. Global geography is explored by Giron in order to quantify, objectualise and so understand the corporeality of continents, the movement of land masses and the circulation of energy through the seas and marine currents.
Mónica Giron was born in San Carlos de Bariloche in 1959. Although she has resided in Buenos Aires since 1985, the Argentinian Patagonia and its geographical, historical, social and environmental qualities and conflicts, is the lens through which we can view the different facets of her artistic production.
She studied at the Escuela Nacional de Arte Prilidiano Pueyrredón in the late 1970s and received her Diploma in Three-dimensional Expression and Knowledge of Art from the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel of Geneva, Switzerland, in 1984. Her work is characterised by a prolific experimentation with materials, ranging from large-scale pieces created from beeswax, as seen in Neocriollo (2002), to her use of digital 3D technology for the 6 continentes [6 Continents] project (2014–2022). Since the 1980s, she has featured in numerous solo exhibitions, the most recent being Mónica Giron: Enlaces Querandí [Mónica Giron: Querandí Connections] (2022), at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, where she presented works from different periods of her career as well as her most recent piece, from which the exhibition took its name. Highlights of her solo shows include: Neocriollo (2007), at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; Ejercicios con el modelo terrestre [Exercises with the Terrestrial Model] (2015), at the Centro Cultural Recoleta; Zonas reflejas [Reflex Areas] (2019), at Galería Barro, and Obrador y Miedo existencial democrático (MED) [Workshop and Existential Democratic Fears (Democratic Existential Memory)] (2004), at the Galería Cu4rto Nivel in Bogotá, among others. She has also participated in several group shows both at home and abroad, at institutions such as the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Colección Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, the Centro Cultural Kirchner, the Centro Cultural Parque de España in Rosario, the Ludwig Forum Aachen in Germany, the Borås Konstmuseum in Sweden, the Casa Encendida in Spain, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Carrillo Gil in Mexico, the Galería del Instituto de Cultura Argentino Brasileña in Brazil, the Museum of Modern Art of Oxford in the USA, the Südwestdeutsche Landesbank in Germany, and the Centro Cultural Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico, the Südwestdeutsche Landesbank in Germany, and the Centro Cultural Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico. She participated in the Mercosur Biennial of Brazil in 1997 and in the Arte Sociedad Reflexión, Sección entornos y circunstancias [Art Society Reflection, Environments and Circumstances Section] of the Havana Biennial in 1994, held at the Museo Nacional, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Cuba. In 2022, she was awarded the Artistic Achievement Award by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes of Argentina. In 1993, she received the Young Argentinean Art Award from Deutsche Bank and, in 2013, she was selected to participate in Traces from IAAB, the Dock Exchange Residency URRA-IAAB in Basel, Switzerland. In addition to her work as an artist, she has had an extensive career as a teacher and has taught courses at different public and private institutes, such as the Oslo and Bergen National Academies of the Arts in Norway, the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella Artists’ Programme, and at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM) in Argentina.
Mónica Giron: Enlaces Querandí [Mónica Giron: Querandí Connections]
Artist Mónica Giron and curator Javier Villa tell us about her solo show, Mónica Giron: Enlaces Querandí [Mónica Giron: Querandí Connections] and the works it includes.
Public Programmes – Master Class by Mónica Giron
On Wednesday 11 January, artist Mónica Giron, born in Bariloche, gave a Master Class in the auditorium of the Museo Moderno, thus marking the opening of the 2023 Public Programme calendar. Accompanied by Javier Villa, curator of the anthological exhibition of the artist, and Fernando García, curator of Public Programmes, Giron held the audience’s attention as she discussed the inner life of her works, where uncertainty is one of the central components of contemporary sensibility. Weaving together narrative and philosophical readings (from the Tao to George Gurdjieff and Gilles Deleuze) and unexpected discussions on art history (from Auguste Rodin to Carlos Alonso) and popular culture (from Winnie the Pooh to Patoruzú), Giron arranged the images of Enlaces Querandí [Querandí Connections] in relation to the new perspectives provided by Google Earth, climate change and the rescue of a native culture at the edges of fiction. The recording of her keynote lecture, available on the Museo Moderno’s YouTube channel, also reveals the mechanics of the working relationship between the curator and the artist, the result of their long interaction. The “Master Class” cycle has been conceived as a platform for artists to use their own voices to respond to the inquisitiveness of the museum’s audience.