No. 172 – April – May 2010
On March 22nd, between 10 am and 12 pm, Nicolás García Uriburu returned to the arena with the colorings he has been doing since 1968 when he intervened the Grand Canal at the Venice Biennale. On this occasion, Uriburu colored the Riachuelo green. The action is part of an artwork made especially for the “Bicentennial Utopia – 1810-2010”. 2010 is taken as a key date, since the original source of pollution of the Riachuelo comes from the installation of the first salting plants on its banks in 1810, taking as an axis the arrival of the Bicentennial of the Argentine Nation with a problem of environmental pollution that has been without apparent solution for two centuries. This would be the first unfulfilled commitment assumed by authorities who, throughout 200 years of history, could do nothing to improve the situation of the Matanza-Riachuelo River Basin.
The action that Uriburu carried out is an intervention in nature that temporarily modifies the landscape and is related to the actions of Land Art, an avant-garde movement that works using nature as a medium. It is a gesture that aims to generate awareness through a symbolic protest using an aesthetic action. Uriburu has been carrying out these actions since 1968. After Venice followed the “Intercontinental Hydrochrome” in 1970 (the East River in New York, the Seine in Paris, the Grand Canal in Venice and the Rio de la Plata in Buenos Aires). Between 1970 and 1990, he colored fountains, rivers and ports in various cities in Europe and Asia. In 1981 Joseph Beuys collaborated with him by coloring the Rhine. He then continued to work with the German artist on the planting of 7,000 oak trees during Documenta 7 in 1981. Together with Greenpeace, who collaborated with Uriburu in the coloring of the Riachuelo, he also carried out the “Yaguareté Project” in 1998, “Stop Contaminating”, in the Riachuelo of Buenos Aires in 1999 and “No to Nuclear Waste” in 2003.
Along with this action, the artist produced 10 artworks using intervened photos. These pieces and the bottles with colored water from the Riachuelo action will be part of an exhibition to be held in Roldán between April 7 and 13, which will conclude on April 14 when everything will be auctioned in the same house, becoming the first author auction in Argentina.
Along with this event, Roldán has published a book containing a photographic record of other actions carried out by the artist and a DVD with the filming of the performative event. The publication, sponsored by Greenpeace and with graphic design by Manuela López Anaya, will feature texts by art critic Pierre Restany and the curator Joaquín Molina.
“Bicentennial Utopia – 1810-2010”, Nicolás García Uriburu”
Roldán Art Auctions, April 7-13. Auction on April 14th. Book presentation. Juncal 743.
BY LAURA BATKIS