(Photo via MACBA)

The Buenos Aires Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is one of those galleries that is frequently overlooked in favor of the more established players of the Buenos Aires art scene. Even location-wise, its close proximity to the much better-known MAMBA (Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires) in San Telmo means that it finds itself literally in the shadow of the city’s official modern art gallery.

All that looks set to change however with the new exhibition opening this Friday: ‘Latin America: Back to the Future.’ This audacious show seeks to reveal the connections between regional modernizing projects and contemporary artistic practices. Starting with works from the 1950s, this exhibition, curated by Federico Baeza, is composed of works which ‘explode any linear conception of the temporal passage.’

This is in keeping with the ethos of the MACBA. Its founder, Aldo Rubino, began collecting art in the late 1980s, which a particular emphasis on pieces demonstrating geometric abstraction. With the aim to allow the general public access to his extensive portfolio, he opened the MACBA in 2012.

His particular interest in this movement is evident throughout the exhibition, which tackles the issues such as the refoundation of languages of visuality, the reconfiguration or urban environments and, most importantly, the relationship between the constructive avant-garde in Latin America and artistic production.

Untitled piece by Argentine artist Roberto Aizenberg. The son of a Jewish-Russian immigrant, he is one of the country's best-known surrealist artists.
Untitled piece by Argentine artist Roberto Aizenberg. The son of a Jewish-Russian immigrant, he is one of the country’s best-known surrealist artists.

 

Having escaped relatively unscathed by the massive global conflicts of the early twentieth century, the mid-1950s was a time of nation-building in Latin America. Across the continent, domestic policy was shaped by concerns of refounding, development and modernization.

While the Europeans dealt with the pessimism of the post-war years, Latin America saw a period of relative optimism, before the tensions of the Cold War in the 1960s and 1970s and the international chess-playing by the US and the USSR brought an end to this period with a new advent of the hardening of political repression.

This show is a particularly self-reflexive consideration of what contemporary art represents and is as much about the art of curation itself as the pieces it displays. The period covered by modernism saw massive shifts in the institution of museums and exhibitions and the way that art was made accessible to the public. Most importantly, the exhibition is a reflection on temporality as experienced by contemporary art. As a movement that is in itself defined by its modernity, it is inextricable from the human drive to modernize and move forward into the unknown. In that, it is the ultimate expression of the environment in which it is created.

'Vibrante' by Uruguyan painter, sculptor and art critic Maria Freire, one of the principal founders of the concrete art movement in Uruguay.
‘Vibrante’ by Uruguyan painter, sculptor and art critic Maria Freire, one of the principal founders of the concrete art movement in Uruguay.

 

The exhibition shows the work of more than 70 Latin American artists, such as Roberto Aizenberg, Maria Freire, Matilde Pérez and Manuel Espinosa. A full list of the artists being shown can be found on the MACBA’s website.

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MACBA (Av. San Juan 328) | Until March 3, 2019  | Free entrance to exhibition  | General Entry to Museum AR $70  | Concessions AR $40  | Discounted entry Wednesday | Mon, Wed – Fri 11 AM – 7 PM | Sat – Sun 11 AM – 7.30 PM | For more information, click here.