Fantastical, historical and natural visions flow together in this exhibition of three leading artists in the Argentinian contemporary art scene. The works of Adriana Bustos (Bahía Blanca, 1965), Claudia del Río (Rosario, 1957) and Mónica Millán (San Ignacio, 1960) are key to understanding and rewriting the local imagination. Their poetics have a close relationship with the environment that nurtures them, from the alchemical presence of the River Paraná and the dense Guaraní jungle to the tense relationship they have with the colonial heritage. Also percolating through their pieces are the emotional and political interactions that each artist has established with different communities through their fieldwork, which ranges across practices that are artisanal, scientific, pedagogical and spiritual.
Produced over the last thirty years – some especially for this exhibition – their drawings, paintings, textiles, sculptures and videos are organised in large, open spaces that unfold outwards from the centre of the gallery. From there, we plunge into the works of Millán, whose images convey her variegated vegetal sensibility and recapture an ancestral atmosphere. Likewise, the works of Bustos, whose maps overlap social and economic history with magical thinking, invent new sciences that illuminate language and heal heritages. And we can lose ourselves in the boundless drive of the works of Del Río, whose drawings, for example, humanise ears of corn, a gesture that successfully and exponentially condenses South America’s colonial history. With these coordinates, the exhibition opens up to possible interactions between nature, the social field and spirituality, generating events that interfere with language and lead astray the laws of time.
So, from a centre which assembles iconic works by the artists, the exhibition breaks out towards reflections on landscape, the relationship between bodies and territory, and the more subtle enigma of their poetic experiences. Landscape here furnishes a generous expressive repertoire of colours and forms, while also being a magnet for fantasy and a space of dispute with the extractive cultural and economic forces that be.
Through a fertile bond with inherited knowledge, the fragility of the relationship to the world is manifested in unceasing acts of meditation. The works transform manual labour into rituals, as close to the arts and crafts as they are to spiritual exercises. From the virgins floating in mighty rivers and the mythological beings, to the repetition of the geometric circle, everything embodies a radiant glow.
Curated by: Carla Barbero
Assistant Curator: Ángeles Ascúa
Adriana Bustos (Bahía Blanca, 1965) is a graduate from the Escuela de Bellas Artes Figueroa Alcorta and the Faculty of Psychology of the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. She has participated in the visual artists’ programmes of the Centro Cultural Rojas, the Fundación Antorchas, and in the Inter-Campos Programme of the Fundación Telefónica. Her recent exhibitions include Cosmopolis 2: Rethinking the Human at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2019), La máquina de visión. Ejercicio 3: El retorno de lo reprimido [The Vision Machine, Exercise 3: The Return of the Repressed] at the Fundación Klemm (2018), Prosa del observatorio [Prose from the Observatory] at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2017). She has been an artist-in-residence at San Art (Vietnam), Latin American Roaming Art (Colombia), El Basilisco (Avellaneda), the International Residency for Artists in Argentina (Ostend), Braziers (Oxford), Phoenix Art (Brighton) and La Guarda (Salta). She has participated in the biennials Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2020); Sharjah, UAE (2019); Global Sur, Argentina (2017); Asunción, Paraguay (2015); Site Santa Fe, USA (2014); Montevideo, Uruguay (2014 and 2019); Rennes, France (2012); Istanbul, Turkey (2011); International Art Encounter of Medellín, Colombia (2011); End of the World, Ushuaia (2009); and Mercosur, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2005). Her work is present in the collections of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, the Kadif Foundation Collection (USA), the Sharjah Biennial Foundation (UAE), the Asiacity Foundation (Australia), the Fundación Federico Klemm, the Fundación Osde, the Museo Arte Contemporáneo de Rosario (Argentina), the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, the Banco de la República de Colombia, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lisboa (Portugal), the Fundación Arco Ifema, (Spain), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Spain), Braziers International (UK) and the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation, Modena (Italy). Adriana Bustos lives and works in Buenos Aires.
Claudia del Río (Rosario, 1957) holds a degree in Visual Arts from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, where she has been teaching since 1982. Between 1981 and 1983, she was a member of the CEAC (Grupo Experimental de Arte Contemporáneo) and between 1984 and 1986, of the Colectivo APA Artistas Plásticos Asociados de Rosario. Since 2001, she has been a member of the teaching staff in the art clinics organised in various provinces by Trama, Fundación Antorchas and the Fondo Nacional de las Artes. In 2002, she cofounded the Club del Dibujo, a space for thought and action. Since 2006, she has been developing the Pieza Pizarrón (Lehrstücke) project, a device for drawing, theatre and pedagogy. In 2007, she started RUSA, the Residence for a Single Artist. Between 2013 and 2018, she was part of the Archivo Enciclopedia Oliveros, an archive of the visual output of artists living in the Oliveros Psychiatric Colony. She has participated in biennials in Havana (Cuba), Mercosur in Porto Alegre (Brazil), Medellín (Colombia) and Salto (Uruguay). She travelled to the residencies Programa do Largo das Artes, Espazio Vazio and Cooperativa de Mulheres Artistas, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Apotheke, Udesc, Florianóplis (Brazil); Casa B, Museo Bispo do Rosario, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Espacio Recombinante y Dobradiça, Santa María (Brazil); Taller 7 and Museo de Antioquia, Medellín (Colombia); Kiosko, Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia); Fundación Valparaíso, Mojácar (Spain); RIAA, Ostende (Argentina), and Arteleku, San Sebastián (Spain). Her works are featured in the collections of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes ‘Juan B. Castagnino’, Rosario, the Osde Collection, the Banco Supervielle Collection, the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes ‘Timoteo Eduardo Navarro’, Tucumán (Argentina), the Museo de Bellas Artes, Salta (Argentina); the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas (USA), and Karno Books, Los Angeles (USA); the Centro Wifredo Lam, Havana (Cuba); the Museo Bispo do Rosario, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); the Fundação Vera Chaves Barcellos, Porto Alegre (Brazil), and the MACBA, Barcelona (Spain). She is author of the books Litoral y Cocacola [Littoral and Coca-Cola] (2012), Pieza Pizarrón [Blackboard Piece] (2013), Ikebana política [Political Ikebana] (2016) and the cover for Hola, sol gigante [Hi There, Giant Sun] (2018), published by Iván Rosado. In 2019, the London-based publisher Peter Lang launched a new edition of Ikebana política. Notas, cuadernos y ejercicios [Political Ikebana: Notes, Notebooks and Exercises]. She lives and works in Rosario.
Mónica Millán (San Ignacio, Misiones, 1960) studied at the Profesorado de Dibujo y Pintura Antonio Ruiz de Montoya in Posadas. She has received grants from the Fundación Antorchas, the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fundación Telefónica, the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes and, in 2000, was awarded the Trama grant. She was selected to participate in residencies in Banff, Canada, and Bellagio, Italy. She has been curating and coordinating art clinics and seminars since 1997. She has worked in Paraguay since 2002 at a village of weavers, advised by Ticio Escobar. Her major exhibitions include: Anotaciones y algunas flores [Annotations and Some Flowers], Palatina Gallery, Buenos Aires, 2019; 11th Mercosur Biennial ‘O Triângulo Atlântico’ [The Atlantic Triangle], at the Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, 2018; Solo Project, Zavaleta Lab Gallery, Arco Madrid, 2014; Bienal del Sur, Panama, 2013; El nacimiento de los colores [The Birth of Colours], Oscar Cruz Gallery, São Paulo, 2012; XI Havana Biennial, 2012; Vento Sul Biennial, Curitiba, 2011; El río bord(e)ado [The Embordered River], La Línea Piensa, Centro Cultural Borges, 2009; Spanierman Modern Gallery, New York, 2007; Studio situation El vértigo de lo lento [The Vertigo of the Slow], Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador, 2004; the Rockefeller Foundation and the Museo del Barro, Yataity, Paraguay, 2002; Jardín de resonancias [Resonance Garden], Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de la UNAM, Posadas, 2003; Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, 2002; and The Other Gallery, Banff Centre of the Arts, Canada, 2001. She won the First Fundación Trabucco Drawing Prize, organised by the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes, Argentina (2011), and was also awarded the Roggio Prize of the Museo Caraffa, Córdoba (2008), the 2004 edition of the Bienal de la Cuenca in Ecuador, the Fundación Osde’s Salón Artistas del Río de la Plata, the Arandú Prize of the Municipality of Posadas, Misiones, Argentina (2004); the Fundación Klemm Prize (2003) and the Banco Ciudad Salon, Buenos Aires (2001). Her works form part of the collections of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Salta, the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Emilio Pettoruti in La Plata, the Museo Castagnino+macro in Rosario, the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Juan Yaparí in Misiones, and others. She lives and works in Buenos Aires.