A Strategic Turn

Supplement dedicated to arteBA. May 18, 2013.  

More quality, less quantity. With greater requirements than in previous years, an international committee selected 52 galleries, 16 of which are foreign, to integrate the main body of the fair.

Twenty-two years after the inauguration of the first edition of arteBA, this year the fair took a strategic turn to position itself in the global art scene, which demands increasingly strict criteria due to the strong competition between these events. The Selection Committee was made up of Eduardo Brandão, Sonia Becce and Henrique Faría, along with Estela Totah representing the local galleries. The result was to optimize quality over quantity, with a total of 52 galleries, 16 of which are foreign.

There is an outstanding group of international artists who in many cases are presenting their work in Argentina for the first time, encouraging local collecting to expand into new horizons. With shows at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco), Nicolas Consuegra presents an installation of books with gold sheets in which he meditates on the art market (La Central, Colombia). A device similar to the one used by Luis Hernandez Mellizo (Nueveochenta, Colombia) and in Emilio Chapela’s biblioratos (Henrique Faria, New York), next to the historical neon of Marta Minujin’s Batacazo. The work of Ricardo Alcaide, collected by Cisneros and the Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo, is exhibited in Baró (Brazil).

José Alejandro Restrepo (Valenzuela Klenner, Colombia), a pioneer of video art in Colombia, reinterprets religious iconography in his Variación sobre el purgatorio (Variation on Purgatory). With a career that includes the Shanghai and Mercosur Biennials, Jose Carlos Martinat creates installations such as his Ambiente en estereo realidad (Revólver, Peru). It is essential to stop and take a look at the works of Nicolás Robbio, an Argentinean with a relevant international career, who subtly calibrates the art of ideas and poetry (Vermelho, Brazil). Lina Kim questions the fall of utopias in their collapses and explosions (Oscar Cruz, Brazil). Iosu Aramburu’s neon paintings are an example of last year’s winner of the Arcos Dorados contest (80m2 Livia Benavides, Peru). At Del Paseo (Uruguay), Ana Tiscornia’s objects stand out. Another unmissable stop is the Leon Cathedral made of chocolate, a typical sample of the quotationist art of Vik Muniz, a worldwide referent of contemporary Brazilian art (Xippas, Uruguay). On the national level, a return to painting can be glimpsed among the artists of the 2000 generation. The cross between Aizenberg’s metaphysics and Flemish rigor in Max Gomez Canle (Ruth Benzacar), variants of abstraction in Rosario Zorraquin (Meow Meow) and Sofia Bohtlingk (Alberto Sendros) and the revision of landscape painting in Adriana Minoliti (Abate Gallery) and Ana Clara Soler (Holz). Taking stylistic references from the 1940s and historical political iconography, Rodolfo Marqués (Proyecto A – Arte Contemporáneo) and Larrambebere (Schlifka | Molina Arte Contemporáneo) are worth mentioning. Among the artists recently acquired by Malba (Buenos Aires Museum of Latin American Art) are Alfredo Londaibere (Cosmocosa), Nicolás Mastracchio, one of the most interesting artists of the new generation (Zavaleta) and the remarkable drawings by Lux Lindner (Nora Fisch). In a modern version, Juan Carlos Romero revisits the installation Violencia presented at CAyC in the 1970s, a reference of Latin American conceptual art (Carla Rey Arte Contemporáneo). Among the new additions to the Fair is Slyzmud, the Chacarita gallery, with Daniel Basso’s furniture-objects, a limit between art and design that can also be found in Cristina Schiavi (Van Riel) and Marcolina Dipierro’s minimalist structures (Jorge Mara-La Ruche). The drawings of Ana Gallardo’s Sicaria series are striking, combining social criticism with self-referential stories (Ignacio Liprandi Arte Contemporáneo).

Jacques Martínez rescues the realisms of the 1970s with paintings by Héctor Giuffré and sculptures by Norberto Gómez. Photography gained a privileged place in today’s art through Luis González Palma (Arte x Arte), Bruzzone and Grosman (Foster Catena), Valansi and Jacques Bedel (Rolf) and Jorge Miño (Dacil). Kinetic and optical art is represented by Julio Le Parc and Tomasello (Del Infinito Arte), Polesello’s 60’s acrylics (Ro Galería de Arte), Karina Peisajovich and color in its lowest key with Cambre (Vasari). The masters are led by Noé and Xul Solar (Rubbers International), Alicia Penalba (Palatina), Pettoruti and Raul Lozza (Alejandro Faggioni Estudio de Arte), Berni (Sur), Leon Ferrari (Teresa Anchorena) and Arden Quin (Van Eyck Art Gallery). As a well-deserved tribute to the recently deceased Clorindo Testa, at Matilde Bensignor Gallery you can see Grids of Cities, the last series of one of the most brilliant architects, artists and thinkers of our country. Finally, at Castagnino Roldán there is a preview of the presentation of Nicola Costantino’s photographs and video on Eva Perón at the Venice Biennale and the presentation of the book documenting the 20-year career of the artist from Rosario.