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Curatorial Practices
Report from Rosario, Argentina
by Roberto Amigo

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Carlos Trilnick was one of the first Argentine artists to select new technologies. Although born in Rosario, between 1977 and 1983 he lived in Israel, where he undertook his studies. In his work he has utilized certain topics of Argentine culture such as the view of the pampas, rescuing it from the forgotten traditional art of landscape painting and mimetic representation in order to generate an unreal and, paradoxically, recognizable scenario.

The pictorial work of Daniel Garcí­a is a lengthy question on the nature of icons where the representation of symbols, objects and faces is depicted in a synthetic and ambiguous manner. During the month of March 2003, Daniel Garcí­a exhibited a disquieting collection of his work, depicting objects of sexual play and bondage at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine art Museum) in Buenos Aires. He not only presented objects of sexual play, dominating cloth like icons - in some their titles there is a subtle irony, such as Abstracción lí­rica — but he also used the walls of the Museum as a support for wrapping or wallpaper. The latter refers to cheap hotels where these sexual practices may occur and acted not only as a visual contrast between the textures and designs of the wallpaper and the image of the sexual object, understood as fetish and reiteration, but also suggested a narrative. The pictorial work of Daniel Garcí­a thus takes a new direction, which is open to interpretation. This may be the reason for the conscious contrast between the fragility of the support and the reiterated force of the same image.

By displacing objects of cultural significance, such as animal food — in a process of elementary taxidermy based on embryo and piglet extracts- a displacement which, however, refers not to moral questions but simply shows the occult perversions of cultural activities, Nicola Costantino has created a body of work that has had a great impact on the viewer. At the beginning of the nineties she executed a disturbing performance entitled Cochon sur Canapé, in which she placed a piglet and roast chickens, which were eagerly devoured by the spectators, on a waterbed surrounded by embalmed chickens and rabbits. The evolution of this idea has been to compress and assemble pipes encircling the walls of colt and calf embryos in polyester resin. The initial cruelty is submerged in the distancing produced by the neat serial design of the objects. More disturbing is the design of clothes and accessories (handbags, shoes) in simulated human skin. Repeated in the design are masculine nipples, anuses and navels, and, at times, real hair as in a suggestive overcoat (which is worn at times by the artist). Paulo Herkenhoff (Nicola Costantino, Museo Castagnino, 2001) has correctly indicated that the work of Costantino has distanced itself from the rhetoric of the traditional body in Argentine art in order to inscribe itself in a history of art as a history of the skin. However, the work of Costantino is recorded in a tradition of greater scope, that of rural Argentina and its "barbaric" connotations: of butchering animals and the handicraft manufacture of saddles, harnesses and utensils with the enemyí­s skin during the civil wars of the XIX century. If the plastic tradition of the body in Argentine art mentioned by Herkenhoff was fundamental to the possibility of denouncing the disappearance and torture of State terrorism, the leather goods of Costantino (who took advantage of the local surge in fashion design) perhaps expresses the new relation of capital in the Argentine metropolis and the superficiality of Menemistic narcissistic simulacrum.

Román Vitali has accomplished one of the interventions which will assuredly be included among the most outstanding this year: the appropriation of the architecture and lighting of the lobby and stairs of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires — Colleción Costantini (Latin American Art Museum in Buenos Aires- Costantini Collection). The multi-faceted acrylic beads attached to fluorescent tubes; a festive act affirming the sanctity of light and the ascensional nature defining the conservative architecture of Malba. If the work of Vitali as a member of the aesthetics of the nineties centered on the Galerí­a del Rojas (Centro Cultural de la Universidad de Buenos Aires/the University of Buenos Aires Cultural Center), the physical space where it is developed moves it from meaninglessness to the possibility of interpretation both as a subtle parody of Minimalism, and as a rigorous system for reading the museographic space.

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