Life in the Abstract

The imaginary of abstract art still reverberates today in various public and private spheres. Its propositions, underlying ideas and technical and experimental inquiries went beyond the boundaries of the visual arts and became as entrenched in everyday life as they are in art.

Life in the Abstract is an exhibition devoted to the Museo Moderno’s collection of abstract art, one of the most important in Argentina. It also ushers in a new dynamic in the way the Museum’s assets are exhibited, which will change over time and put works from the historical collection, as well as recently donated or acquired works, in dialogue with pieces by guest artists in order to draw connections between the first decades of last century and the present day. In this edition, we are proud to present some important works recently added to the Moderno’s collection alongside pieces by guest artists Magdalena Jitrik, Mariela Scafati and Cristina Schiavi.

From its inception, modern abstraction broke with the idea of the ‘open window picture’ that looks at and represents the world. In its place, it set about blurring the borderlines between art and life, and focused its investigations on the creation of new compositional forms and systems that make allowance for the complexity of perception. This led to the highly diverse movements and individual developments represented in the Museo Moderno’s collection, which includes important works created in the period between the 1940s and 1970s.

In different conceptual cores, this exhibition traces abstract art’s interest in the construction of space, its relationship to the human body, the dialogue with scientific research, the search for spirituality and the fruitful exchange with design, decoration and domestic objects.

Life in the Abstract points to how the powerful utopian gaze made abstraction a legacy to which contemporary Argentinian art constantly returns in order to produce images that interrogate the present.

La fábrica: Vida abstracta [Life in the Abstract]

Watch a new episode of “La fábrica” [The factory], featuring the exhibition, Vida abstracta [Life in the Abstract]. Through the accounts of the curator Clarisa Appendino, head of collections Alejandra Aguado, and producer Julieta Potenze, we learn about the contributions each of their departments made during the process of conceiving and producing this exhibition. Vida abstracta is one of the 11 exhibitions that make up the Museo Moderno’s 2022 program, Un día en la tierra [One Day on Earth]

Restoration – Pino Monkes

Today, Pino Monkes, the head of conservation at the Museo Moderno, tells us about the restoration of Tomás Maldonado’s work Una forma y series [A Form and Series] The oil on canvas artwork is part of the Pirovano Collection and is currently part of the Vida Abstracta [Life in the Abstract] exhibition.

Portrait - Lucrecia Lionti

Lucrecia Lionti (Tucumán, 1985) is participating in the Un día en la Tierra [One Day on Earth] programme at the museum, showing two of her works in the Vida abstracta [Life in the Abstract] and El límite [The Limit] exhibitions. Lionti’s artistic output includes embroidered textiles and installations that display words and phrases related to the political, social and cultural context of Latin America. In her work, Exaltar la economía [Exalting the Economy], the artist combines references to the emblematic discourse and shapes of the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención [Concrete-Invention Art Association] and the Madí movement with her own personal and pictorial concerns. In one of her pieces, inspired by the cutout frame technique, she displays the words “Exaltar la óptica” [“Exalting the Optics”]. This is one of the key phrases of the 1946 Inventionist Manifesto and yet, here, she superimposes a new phrase on top of it: “Exaltar la economía” [“Extol the Economy”], pointing to an issue that troubled her at a time of deep financial unrest and instability. Elsewhere, her work Piedrazo y escala de negros [Stone and Black Scale] focuses on the police shootings that occurred between 2017 and 2018 in Argentina. The artist was deeply moved by these situations and decided to create this work in which she combines the roughness of sacking with a soft felt to represent the fragility of civilians in the face of police violence.