Dandyism is Resurfacing

No. 2 – May 2004, Buenos Aires

December 20, 2001 changed everything: the crisis that had already been in place for decades was accelerated and new inhabitants began to circulate. Art began to live moments of unusual enthusiasm, with exhibitions in new spaces that began to cover the shortcomings of the traditional galleries and were a relief in the face of the malaise, with a neo-seventies feel.

With the new moldings of the building designed by Le Monier in 1927, Zabaleta/Lab, the new gallery managed by Hernan Zavaleta, was inaugurated on March 25. “A laboratory of contemporary art,” as Clara Caputo says, the director’s assistant. His style: young lover of antiques, of the 20s of the last century, of exquisite refinement, jacket, tie and that pale skin tone that makes him look like a character out of a novel by Oscar Wilde. It presents itself with exhibitions of the French Sigismond de Vajay (1972) and the Argentine Silvia Gurfein (1959). Gurfein’s exhibition is titled El oído (The Ear), and alludes to the musical reminiscences of colors, following in the footsteps of research on the subject done by artists such as Kandinsky. She uses horizontal and elongated formats that are installed on the wall like a pentagram. Lines that emerge from the superimposition of layers of paint, which are then revealed by a scraping. She takes the color of the paintings she is most interested in from the history of art, and breaks them down into a pictorial writing of lines, rhythms, pauses, silences and intervals. 

Mixing the times of painting and music, the artist says that “Painting for me is to place myself at the moment of intersection between the high speed of my musical mind and the slow ancestral time of oil painting. The time machine”. 

A techno gallery 

In an area also full of sixties history, Alberto Sendrós installed his own gallery. Oreo dandy with a sporty profile, jeans, sneakers and all the ingredients to not go unnoticed. He is young, cultured, very tall, muscled, dark complexion. Closer to a rave than to the Colon Theater, he was a collector and now he has decided to transmit his desire to own paintings to those who are willing to pass by his gallery.  Located in the strategic Pasaje Tres Sargentos, near Bar Baro, where Jorge de la Vega painted the windows of the mythical bar that in the late 60’s Luis F. Noé set up, and which was the meeting place for artists and intellectuals of the time. The gallery has a techno and stripped down style, like a New York warehouse. It exhibits Sanacabeza, a group of artworks by Beto De Volder (1962), which are pieces that result from cutting out wooden decorative fragments, painted in different colors and placed with magnets on metal supports. The idea is to play with the work and for the viewer to participate by assembling his or her own model.

Dada and surrealism

If in the Renaissance Leonardo Da Vinci wrote “Painting is a mental thing”, we should rethink today what we mean when we talk about conceptual art. Nothing better than going to Malba (Buenos Aires Museum of Latin American Art) to see the exhibition “Soñando con los ojos abiertos” (Dreaming with open eyes).  It consists of more than 200 pieces of dada and surrealist art. The exhibition is set with a historical and educational intention. It is recommended to pay close attention to the dates. When Duchamp sets the bicycle wheel on a stool it is 1913, and he strongly declares that it is anti-art. And he even goes further. It is not “original” but multiple, a manufactured object (which he baptizes readymade) and yes, as opposed to the typical phrase “I can do it”, let’s see if anyone does something as forceful today.  And it is not about criticizing the past, but, on the contrary, reinterpreting it. What better than to grab a reproduction of the Mona Lisa and draw a beard and mustache on it. He uses a play on words and titles it L.H.O.O.Q. (She’s Got a Warm Butt)… warm from sitting in the Louvre wondering what so many people are crowding around to see her. The mockery is about the circuit it legitimizes, and not about Leonardo, whom the artist admires. Man Ray’s photographic documentation looks like the future that has already arrived, and without computers or digital tricks. Duchamp photographed by Man Ray, dressed as Rrose Sélavy, his “female alter ego” in 1920, is still today a kick in the scandal not only to the bourgeois, as they claimed at the time. This exhibition requires visiting it without solemnity, to remember the humor with which they worked as a team, and for that reason it is a good idea to go to the film cycle with films by Buñuel among others.

From Tucumán to Buenos Aires

Another new gallery just opened in this noisy city of Buenos Aires. In Pasaje Bollini, Daniel Abate set up his shop on the street with the production of Sandro Pereira from Tucumán. This artist portrays himself in an almost cartoonish way, from the very small size to the gigantic Sánguche de milanesa (Milanesa sandwich), a sculpture of enormous proportions, which was the great success of arteBA 2001. The artist has just won a scholarship to study with Kuitca in the Rojas program from the Buenos Aires University (UBA).. 

Love stories

Ana Gallardo presents the exhibition Tía Rosita (Aunt Rosita) in Room 11 of the Recoleta Cultural Center. It is an artwork that reconstructs a love story, with videos, photos and drawings on the wall. 


Portraits for two at Sonoridad Amarilla. Frontal and enigmatic, cut out on a white background in Verónica Sanes’ paintings. The more than reduced format (7x7cm.) is used in the portraits of Rosalba Mirabella, who notably covers the walls of the room with an installation of her 105 paintings.