El presente está encantador

“The present devours the past, but the past won’t stop chasing the present like karma.”

So said Javier Villa, the show’s curator. Built on the remains of a Picasso exhibition, Diego Bianchi’s new large-scale installation El presente está encantador incorporates works from the Museum’s permanent collection. As usual with his work, the installation feels like a post-apocalyptic playground. It features the artist’s signature use of found materials, waste and random objects bound or cemented together. By incorporating works from other artists and modifying them, Bianchi blurs the limits of authorship. Telling one artist apart from another can prove difficult, as he has brilliantly assimilated the works of his illustrious predecessors. The pieces of the collection find themselves stripped of their original meaning, but in the process gain a new breath of life. 

Before accessing the room you have to read the warning sign, enter a long hallway, turn left, climb up and down, turn right, crawl from under a collapsed roof, and step over a dirty mattress. Small windows filled with waste give you a peek inside the main room. Watch out for the cheap woodwork that seems on the verge of falling apart. You will come across some neon lights breaking through the walls and some ghastly sculptures on pedestals. The music becomes louder as you enter a white room filled with sculptures, mirrors, scaffolds and stroboscopic lights activating randomly. The best way to describe the scene is as if the artworks had come alive and got caught in a molly-fuelled orgy.

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Normally installations are not that fun (should art to be fun in the first place?), but this one feels like an artsy take on a broken haunted house. The notion of space is totally distorted: the hallway seems huge in comparison with the rest of the room. By subverting the white cube and exposing the museum’s negative space (behind the movable walls), Bianchi offers the viewer a look from behind the scenes of the art gallery. He shines a light onto the hidden mechanism that operates far from the public eye.

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Javier Villa and Diego Bianchi toy with the idea that the past can be reactivated, brought back from limbo into the present day. We commonly favor a more scientific approach of our cultural heritage; artifacts are sorted and classified in very specific categories and following a strict chronology. In doing so, alternative interpretations are dismissed. El presente está encantador challenges this rational model, showing us that the timeline can be messed around and that art should not be restrained by academia. By liberating the artworks from the clutches of the museum’s storage room, the artist infuses them with a new-found vitality and enables them to resonate in a more contemporary fashion.

Where

San Juan 350

When

Tuesday — Friday 11 am to 7 pm

Saturday — Sunday  11 am to 8 pm

How Much

Tickets

AR $20

Tuesday free

The installation will be on display until August.

How to Catch the Universe in a Spiderweb

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Drawing inspiration from a vast array of disciplines, Tomas Sarraceno’s first solo show in BA, How to Entangle The Universe in a Spiderweb, presents two immersive installations, the result  of a ten-year-long investigation. The exhibition takes up two floors of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA). The first one, Quasi-Social Musical Instrument IC 342 Built by 7000 Parawixia Bistriata – Six Months consists  of a series of hanging sculptures spun by spiders in situ over the course of six months. The second one The Cosmic Dust Spider Web Orchestra is a sound installation which converts spiderwebs into musical instruments.

“When cosmologists or astrophysicists were trying to explain how the universe formed, they attempted to compare it to cosmic webs; the geometrical analogy was a three-dimensional spiderweb,” said the artist back in 2015. Saraceno, a trained architect, has worked in various disciplines. His installations propose new sustainable ways of inhabiting and sensing the environment. His multiple interests are interwoven in a rich and diverse body of work that range from architecture to natural sciences, astrophysics and arachnology.

For the hanging sculptures, the artist brought over 7000 spiders of the Parawixia Bistriata species from Corrientes Province to take over a room. Several colonies worked secretly over six months and wove the biggest spiderweb ever to be shown in a museum. Saraceno has a long and well-established obsession with structures, both in the context of engineering and on a social level. How the physical space determines social structures and how the social body can modify its physical surroundings are recurrent themes in his work. The particular choice of species is due to their social proclivities. These spiders work, eat and sleep together.

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In the installation The Cosmic Dust Spider Web Orchestra, visitors find themselves part of a rhythmic ensemble. A beam of light illuminates a cloud of cosmic dust, as its augmented presence is projected in a dimly lit room. A number of cameras record the position and velocity of the particles as they travel through space, transforming them into musical notes that are reproduced by a set of loudspeakers spread out across the room. The frequencies produced by the elements in this composition are conveyed to a web, which is then plucked by a spider. The vibratory movements produced by the spider in its web are amplified through a loudspeaker positioned below the beam of light.

Where

San Juan 350

When

Tuesday — Friday 11 am to 7 pm

Saturday — Sunday  11 am to 8 pm

How Much

Tickets: AR $20

Tuesday free

The installation will be on display until August.