The Argentine province of San Juan, home to important art exhibitions at BIENALSUR 2021

On August 20, at the Franklin Rawson Provincial Museum of Fine Arts, the group exhibition Give and Give and the BIENALSUR Video Program will inaugurate, and on August 21 at the Sarmiento Birthplace Museum and Library will take place the inauguration of Víctor Grippo. An oven for two tables.

San Juan once again participates in BIENALSUR and is the second province in Argentina to inaugurate exhibitions of the third edition on August 20 at the Franklin Rawson Provincial Museum of Fine Arts, with Give and Give (Dar y dar) and the BIENALSUR Video Program, and on the 21st at the Sarmiento Birthplace Museum and Library, with Víctor Grippo. An oven for two tables, three exhibitions that arose from the BIENALSUR Open Call which unite prominent artists from Japan, the United States, Colombia, Belgium, Angola, Poland, Thailand and Argentina and honor the father of Latin American conceptualism, Víctor Grippo.

With the participation of nearly 400 artists, BIENALSUR 2021 is celebrated in more than 23 countries, in more than 124 venues in 50 cities, which include the most important capitals of the art world such as Paris, Madrid, Tokyo, Bogotá and others; unique sites such as Cuzco in Peru, Manama in Bahrain, the Persian Gulf and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, modern center of commerce and the starting point of the pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina; as well as, once again, in Cúcuta, Colombia, and Crans-Montana, in Switzerland, sites recognized for their political and social importance.

The BIENALSUR 2021 exhibitions in San Juan count with the collaboration of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Secretary of Culture of the Provincial Government as well as that of the Secretary of Cultural Heritage of the National Ministry of Culture and the National Directorate of Museums.

The Franklin Rawson Provincial Museum of Fine Arts

Give and Give, which translates to Spanish as Dar y dar, opens on August 20 at 8:00 p.m. at the Franklin Rawson Provincial Museum of Fine Arts and shall continue throughout various activities until November 28. Curated by the Belgians Charlotte Crevits and Tommy Simoens and the Argentine Florencia Battiti in representation of BIENALSUR, it brings together 10 artists: the Japanese On Kawara and Yutaka Sone, the Belgian Gert Robijns, the Colombian Oscar Murillo, the Argentines Leandro Katz and Víctor Grippo, the Polish Aneta Bartos, the American Lydia Lunch, the Angolan Nástio Mosquito and the Argentine-Thai, Rirkirt Tiravanija.

In a world fundamentally guided by social, emotional and financial profit, ‘givers’ appear as a strange species that contributes and collaborates with others without expecting anything in return. Thus, the dynamic of ‘giving and giving’ enables sustainable and lasting affective relationships instead of short-term gains. Inspired by the generosity’s possibilities in today’s society, the exhibition aims to challenge the rigidity of the prevailing neoliberal order by fostering both dynamic flows and other frameworks from which to connect by implementing tangible gestures”, its curators point out.

Several of the works that make up the show are the result of the commitments that the artists maintain outside the art world. Together, the artists who are part of Give and Give (Dar y dar) geographically connect divergent economies and raise questions about their social, industrial and emotional heritage within the framework of our global society.

Japanese artist Yutaka Sone will throw two dice measuring 200 x 200 centimeters each from the ceiling of the Franklin Rawson Museum of Fine Arts. The action, entitled “Double Six Tres Maria’s”, previously carried out in other parts of the world, proposes a humorous reflection on chance and what it represents in our daily lives. At the same time, it sheds light on the difficulty of accepting the loss of control in a highly technical society and the margin of loss and profit implicit in each movement. Yutaka Sone’s works are, among other places, at the Los Angeles and Tokyo Museums of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Through his works, Gert Robijns establishes connections with his surroundings, the landscapes and the region and its inhabitants. On this occasion, in San Juan, he assembles “Reset Mobile”, a kind of parachute or tent that unfolds and temporarily transforms the space into a place where people come together.

Argentine artist, writer, and filmmaker Leandro Katz is known for his films and photographic installations. His works include long-term projects that address Latin American themes and that incorporate historical research, anthropology, and visual arts. “A love for 3 or 4 oranges” is a tribute to many Argentine myths, tragedies, dramas and comedies. On the Buenos Aires corner of Riobamba and Santa Fe, Pichirica Sánchez, better known as “El Pichi”, appears every afternoon to greet the world dressed in his bright colors and wearing costumes made by himself. From Monday to Friday, from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm, El Pichi puts together his free performance, his street show. He does not allow people to leave money after the show. The children who come out from the nearby school take pictures with him, the taxi and bus drivers do not pass by without greeting him, honking their horns.

Oscar Murillo presents an unpublished video, “Collective Conscience”, in which he uses effigies (also present in previous works) such as those traditionally burned in Colombia, his country of origin, on New Year’s Eve as a symbolic gesture of leaving the old and the bad behind to start the new year. In the representation of this tradition, he reviews the political history of his country as well as part of his own family history.

In San Juan, the Polish Aneta Bartos presents several works, among them the video “Trampoline”. About 20 years ago, the artist bought a piece of land near the idyllic place where she grew up. The objective of this acquisition was to make sure that this piece of land does not undergo any change, that it does not get affected by “progress” or gentrification. For some time now, the artist permanently installed a diving board there. Through video and photography, Bartos’s work explores the complex dynamics in the father-daughter relationship, focusing on conflicting notions such as childhood, femininity, the passage of time, and sexuality.

The controversial post-punk singer, artist, poet, writer, photographer and actress Lydia Lunch, icon of the American counterculture, has an extensive multimedia work of more than 30 years of history which is characterized by her extreme obsession with the darkness within the human psyche, often focusing on nihilism, rage, violence, eroticism, surrealism, and pornographic art as key themes. In this case, she will present the video “Dump Trump”.

The Angolan Nástio Mosquito often plays roles that do not reflect his own beliefs, but are rather sharp observations about the “human follies” that occur in today’s society. The artist stands in a central place, but we did not get to see the real Nástio Mosquito. His video “Another Leader: Act II” tells the life of A.L. Moore, a 42-year-old human being that presents himself as the President of Botrovia.

A nomadic installation of seven of the paintings from the “Today” series exhibited in kindergarten classrooms around the world for periods ranging from a single day to approximately two months, in which only children between four and six years of age “live” next to the works, is the proposal that the Japanese On Kawara brings to BIENALSUR 2021 under the title “Pure Consciousness”. The documentary photographs show the children learning, playing and even sleeping with the works as a backdrop.

About the father of Argentine and Latin American conceptualism, Víctor Grippo, who will also be honored in another exhibition in San Juan at the Sarmiento Birthplace Museum and Library, a photographic record of his authorship is presented, the only surviving testimony of one of his most important works, “Construction of a popular oven to make bread“. In 1972, as part of an exhibition that lasted only a few days and was destroyed by the police, Grippo built a bread oven in the central Roberto Arlt square in Buenos Aires, together with the artist Jorge Gamarra and the rural worker A. Rossi, in which they baked bread that was later distributed to the passers-by. The police destroyed the traditional oven that offered free bread to almost 5,000 people. Although the curator Jorge Glusberg had an official permit to develop an event in the public space in this Buenos Aires square, the generosity of these bakers apparently felt threatening to the government authorities, perhaps because the popularity of the gift recalled the prevalence of hunger.

In the same exhibition, the artist of Argentine-Thai origin, Rirkrit Tiravanija, proposes to reactivate this same work by Grippo, Gamarra and Rossi as a tribute by installing five rural ovens in different public spaces in the city of San Juan. Tiravanija’s action proposes to return the work to its original context multiplied by five. The ovens will be lit and used by San Juan bakers who will distribute the bread to neighbors and passers-by.

A BIENALSUR Video Program will also take place, with selected works from the Open Call curated by the Argentines Florencia Battiti and Violeta Böhmer. Works by Rodrigo Etem (Argentina), Louise Botkay (Brazil), Vivian Castro (Chile), Felipe Lozano (Colombia), Victor Arroyo (Canada/Mexico) and Erdem Colak (Turkey) are included in this program.

In addition, the artist Carlos Herrera with his work “Ingrávido” will be present at the same institution, within the BIENALSUR 2021 exhibitions framework, with an experience to be held in the province of San Juan during the months of September 2021 to March 2022 that will involve territorial work, anthropological development, and the practice of linking with the craft materiality and the work of the local population.

Sarmiento Birthplace Museum and Library

The exhibition Víctor Grippo. An oven for two tables will be inaugurated at the Sarmiento Birthplace Museum and Library on August 21 at 12 o’clock. This time, BIENALSUR counts with the support of the Secretary of Cultural Heritage of the National Ministry of Culture.

Curated by the Argentine Carlos Godoy, it presents three works by the conceptual artist Víctor Grippo that propose to think about food in times of crisis, the role of humanity vis-à-vis nature, citizens vis-à-vis the community, and producers of meaning vis-à-vis an audience overwhelmed by urgency.

Made in different periods, the chosen works are: “Naturalize man, humanize nature” (1977), “The artist’s food” (1991) and a tribute to the performance “Construction of a popular oven to make bread“, carried out in 1972 in co-authorship with the artist Jorge Gamarra, who will attend the inauguration in San Juan, and the collaboration of the rural worker, A. Rossi.

As in 1972 were the residents of Buenos Aires, on this occasion the people of the provincial capital of San Juan will be invited to recreate an artistic intervention that is part of the history of international art. A celebration of doing in community and of honest work that could not be done anywhere but in the birthplace of that great doer that was Domingo Sarmiento, carefully and respectfully revisiting the dimensions of the province’s heritage and, in turn, drawing new glances on it.