Up until 1 November, the artwork Basta de contaminar [Stop Polluting] by Nicolás García Uriburu was on display on the Museo’s façade
Nicolás García Uriburu, Basta de contaminar [Stop Polluting], synthetic enamel on canvas, 5 x 15 m, 1999. Banner produced for the dyeing of the Riachuelo in collaboration with Greenpeace. Colección Azul García Uriburu
Reflections and Conversations about People of African Descent
National Day for Argentinians of African Descent and African Culture
Today we celebrate the National Day for Argentinians of African Descent and
African Culture established by Law 26,852 passed on 20 May, 2013. The objective
is to promote inclusion and respect for communities of African descent and the date
was chosen to honour María Remedios del Valle, who was born in Buenos Aires
between 1766 and 1767 and who took an active part in the Argentine War of
We have organized a programme of activities to encourage a range of reflections
about communities of African heritage, the racism from which they suffer and the
opportunities we have to create a more egalitarian society. Don’t forget to share
Thinking about racism. How does it manifest itself and exist in a society? We
suggest that you talk to your family and friends and try to think of the different
ways in which we can eradicate the racism from which people of African descent
suffer and also make their culture more visible. Then, all together you can make an
artwork that represents these solutions. It might be a poster, a watercolour, a
collage, a sculpture or an installation. Choose the technique or materials you like
best, or have closest to hand.
*This artwork was made by the Afro-Argentine artist Hector Oscar Mayato together with Carmen
Bonino, members of the Grupo Cosmos. Rojo astral (Astral Red), oil paint on backdrop paper glued
to canvas, 117 x 158.5 cm. Acquisition, 1963/h6>
Contemporary art faces up to the climate emergency
For some time now the pollution, devastation and imminent catastrophe have been
impossible to ignore: we’re experiencing them at first hand, they’re already affecting
our everyday lives. Over the past year, the pandemic has made itself felt in every
home across the world, while locally wildfires are raging all over Argentina,
consuming vast tracts of land with no indication of when or where they might be
stopped. These emergencies leave no room for doubt: the damage is being caused
by human activity, we can no longer take refuge in ignorance or false reassurances.
Artistic practice – which has never been afraid of questions, exploration or
reassessment – offers us different paths of thought and imagination within a
framework in which natural exhaustion, ambition and fear are linked to opportunities
for change and renewal, to rethink the terms of social and environmental justice. The
artistic gaze – at times critical and incisive, at others more poetic – is an important
tool in raising awareness of the merciless damage we’re causing to the earth, our
home. But it can also help to reinforce and repair frayed bonds of respect and
empathy towards our surroundings.
Nicolás García Uriburu, boceto del proyecto en el Riachuelo Basta
de contaminar, 1999. Colección Azul García Uriburu.
Nicolás García Uriburu, boceto del proyecto en el Riachuelo Basta
de contaminar, 1999. Colección Azul García Uriburu.
During a historical period when disaster seems inevitable and our hopes for change
feel at risk of being choked off by smoke from the blazes, or drowned in flood water,
art can be a liberating practice. With its means of re-educating the perception and
exposing the bond between our bodies and the environment, its elegant but revealing
ways of laying bare situations that might otherwise go unnoticed and its stubborn
faith in the future of the world, art acts as an emotional and intellectual guide toward
a new kind of human, harmonious, respectful and egalitarian growth. With its varied
forms; research, editing, juxtaposition, drawings, sculpture, installation, images both
subtle and provocative and many more, art emphasizes the value of learning through
the senses, keeping one’s gaze, hearing and touch alert so as to awaken a more
profound sense of time, balance and understanding.
Over the next three weeks, the Museo Moderno will highlight the work of a group of
artists from Argentina and overseas that either reveal and expose the historical and
social processes that led to this emergency or present micro-political aesthetics aimed
at redirecting environmental strategy and policy. As the Argentine artist Nicolás García
Uriburu, a pioneer in the combination of art and ecological activism, says: ‘We still have
time to rectify our mistakes, take care of our environment and become more worthy of
living on this wonderful planet.’
Nicolás García Uriburu
My Art is a Protest
Graciela Borges presents a selection of texts written by her great friend the artist
Nicolás García Uriburu. Her inimitable voice introduces us to the thinking behind the
Argentine artist’s actions, images and artistic campaigns. Committed to raising
awareness of environmental crises such as water pollution and forest depletion with
artworks such as the dyeing of the Grand Canal in Venice in 1968, García Uriburu
became one of the first Latin American artists to make the connection between art
All images: © Nicolás García Uriburu, reproduced with his permission
Nicolas Garcia Uriburu (2014)
An Interview with Paula Toto Blake
In this interview, produced by Micromundos Cine in 2014 for the Department of Culture
via CePIA, the artist Paula Toto Blake speaks to Nicolás García Uriburu. The
conversation spans his artistic interests and environmental concerns. In his workshop,
García Uriburu says: ‘The thread that runs throughout my work is green, it’s ecology.’
Produced by Blas Eloy Martínez and directed by Cecilia Priego.
‘Enie’ means ‘earth’ in the language of the Uitoto, an indigenous people from the
Araracuara region in the Colombian Amazon. Enie is also the name that the artist Delcy
Morelos chose for one of her immersive installations from 2018, which featured more
than ten thousand earth biscuits kneaded with raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, clay and
beeswax, and other organic components. Morelos’ artwork is inspired by an ancestral
technique in which the earth is sweetened, hydrated and greased in an ancient ceremony
of thanksgiving to Pacha Mama. In Enie, direct contact with the colours and textures of
the earth is complemented by the olfactory stimulation of ingredients that make up the
exhibition space to create a multisensory bond with the material and symbolic planes of
the earth. The act of viewing and entering into the installation transforms it into a sacred
space, offering a moment in which to heal and be in communion with the ground on
which we live.
Artwork photography: Ernesto Monsalve. Courtesy of NC-arte Drone images:
Josue Mejía. Courtesy of NC-arte
FFerrowhite Museum Workshop
The Port and Atilio Miglianelli
As part of our digital programme #MuseoModernoEnCasa, which over the next few
weeks will concentrate on the link between art and the environment, we invited the
Ferrowhite Museum Workshop of Bahía Blanca to share some of their artworks and
activities from the past few years that focus on these themes.
Nicolás Testoni, Director of the Ferrowhite Museum Workshop (Bahía Blanca,
Argentina) says: ‘Atilio Miglianelli was a diver. Even though he spent a large part of
his life under water, he always managed to look tanned, even in freezing temperatures.
Atilio was our first guide to the sinuous waters of the Bahía Blanca river. With him we
learned that a worker’s life is never synonymous with their work; what they do to earn
a wage, it’s everything else: their fears and desires, what they eat and how they dance,
the clothes they like and the hours they spend lying in the sun. Listening to him
describe a port with a beach and industry isn’t an act of nostalgia, it’s assimilating
some more of the story that helps us to understand how Ingeniero White came to be
what it is, it helps us to imagine the things that were and how they might be different.’
Julián d’Angiolillo, Speleovivarium, 4’48”, 2020
The artist and filmmaker Julián d’Angiolillo started to immerse himself in the world
of speleology in 2010 when he joined a series of expeditions to caves around
Argentina, Italy and Cuba. Since then, his documentary career has taken him to
numerous hidden landscapes and secret havens, as well as introducing him to
many different speleologists (specialists who study caves and work to preserve
them) who, through his lens, become prophets of a natural equilibrium. The
scientific discoveries of his interviewees act as a symbolic compass pointing the
way to a more natural, harmonious way of living, a pointer to the importance of
taking care of our inner world and protecting our sanctuaries. ‘The earth has a
fever,’ says one of them. In this concise video of a visit to a museum in Trieste
– taken from Julián’s rich cave archive, which has provided the material for
several artistic projects – we see much piercing, sensitive and symptomatic
evidence. Gathered together as if they were a discovery at a moment in which it
is essential that we listen to the rhythms of the earth again, they are heard as a
revelation. After all, these testimonies come from people who have learned to see
in the darkest spaces.
Entering into an Extraordinary Reality
Access to the sublime in the creative processes of Charly
In this conversation held specially for #MuseoModernoEnCasa, Charly Nijensohn
speaks to Andrés Denegri (curator of our Cinema is Something Else cycle), revealing
details about his creative process when producing projects such as El ciclo de la
Intensidad [The Cycle of Intensity], Dead Forest and El naufragio de los hombres [The
Shipwreck of Man]. All the images in them arose out of a delicate balance between the
power of nature and different human bonds. The artist also offers a glimpse of the
projects he’s currently working on and his plans for future enterprises.
Charly Nijensohn on the Uyuni salt flats during the filming of El naufragio de los hombres (2008).
Photo: Juan Pablo Ferlat.
Jonathas de Andrade
O Peixe [The Fish], 2016
The work of Jonathas de Andrade (Maceió, Brazil, 1982) is closely tied to the stories
and history of northeast Brazil, where he lives and makes anthropological installations
and films. The power of his pieces arises out of the way in which he blurs the division
between fact and fiction and how through minor narrative interventions into everyday
acts he examines the natural and cultural history of his country and its relationships of
class, race and work. In his artworks, we observe relationships of domination and
power that still exist today. The film O Peixe [The Fish] (2016) was made with a group
of fishermen, depicting their everyday routine. The moment of the catch, however, is
followed by a long, unusual embrace of the fish: a ritual gesture to accompany it on its
passage into death that exposes the ambiguous ties that bind us together. Sustained
by a naturalized history of dominance among the species, it combines love and respect
with need and violence. ‘Nature almost makes us forget the perverse aspects of feeding
on the flesh of another creature, but it’s also a test for the audience,’ says Andrade. We
are thus encouraged to think about and reassess notions of beauty, care, violence,
economic urgency and survival.
Jonathas de Andrade, O Peixe [The Fish], 2016, 16mm film digitized in 2k, 39’16”.
Courtesy of Galería Vermelho, São Paulo, and Alexander and Bonin, New York.
From Children of Soybeans to Children of Fire
In this audiovisual presentation, the Argentine artist Eduardo Molinari invites us into
his Walking Archive, a visual archive in which he explores the relationships between
art, history and territory that he began in 2001. Tied together by a detailed narrative
and drawing on his own work and images taken from the media, Molinari offers in his
own voice a visual reading of the economic, historical and political context that is
driving the ecocide of Argentina. Returning to his 2010 project ‘Children of the
Soybeans’, the artist offers a new reading of the worrying deterioration of the
environment over the past few decades and shows how it is connected to the recent
wildfires in the Paraná wetlands. Moving on from a condensed overview of the past
decade, Molinari allows himself to expand his visual thinking beyond recent history
and local geography.
In Praise of Slowness
Virginia Buitrón (Quilmes, Argentina, 1977) has spent more than five years working with
different non-human creatures and natural organisms. Through close observation and study
of the organic waste that makes up compost, Buitrón has discovered a fascinating habitat
full of life through which she endeavours to achieve an artistic understanding of natural life
having set aside anthropocentric prejudices. In her drawings, inspired by the behaviour of
the larvae of the species Hermetia Illucens, Buitrón emphasizes the creativity harboured by
even the smallest participants of the ecosystem. In this audiovisual piece, the artist relates
the emotional and conceptual context to her link with the different natural actors she chose
as subjects of her work to reveal the inter-species network we must protect if we are to have
a sustainable future.
Jimena Croceri shares with the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires her thoughts
on Cascada [Waterfall], an act that she has been performing in different locations, most
recently in the Botanical Gardens of the city of Berne in 2019 featuring visitors to the
garden. During the act, water is supported and moved and bodies are refreshed.
According to Croceri, ‘It all began with a very intuitive interest in contemplating, working
with and wanting to be close to this apparently tame but actually active, transformative
element: it sets everything in motion. Right from the start I have been interested in its
morphogenic powers, its ability to create forms for itself.’ As we watch images of the
exercise, in which touch is emphasized as a positive act of connection, the artist references
the research of Astrida Neimanis and conversations she’s had with members of the
Mapuche community who believe in the sacred nature of water, combining them with her
own thoughts about an evocative gesture that has something balm-like, playful and
revelatory about it.
Art, Ecology and the Future
From Paris, the Argentine artist Carlos Ginzburg (La Plata, Argentina, 1946) held a
conversation with the Museo Moderno to discuss the connections between his most
iconic pieces from the 70s and his more recent installations and performances. In a
profound dialogue, the artist narrates the different ways in which his ecological
concerns and the climate crisis have affected his career of over half a century. From
his first urban signalling to his most recent installation Post-madre tierra [Post Mother
Earth], Carlos Ginzburg allows us a glimpse of his thought processes and artistic
methodology against the background of an emergency that we must be aware of
and find ways to reverse.
Ambá. A Kind of Paradise
The video Ambá. Una especie de paraíso [Ambá. A Kind of Paradise] (2010) presents
a visual memory, dream and reflection on the Paraná Ra'anga cultural and scientific
expedition held in 2010. The interdisciplinary project gathered together about thirty
artists, writers, historians, musicians and scientists to sail up the La Plata, Paraná
and Paraguay rivers, from Buenos Aires to Asunción in Paraguay with the objective
of rethinking the idea of the river during a transformative period, when the imminent
construction of the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway was threatening to change the
Laura Glusman was part of the crew and filmed the shores of the river in a long,
serene travelling shot. She also recorded interviews with fellow expedition members
who spoke about how they imagined the future Paraná ecosystem. Her film is thus a
juxtaposition of a filmed present and an imagined future: two incarnations of a river
that can be brought together and compared in the viewer’s mind. Ten years after the
trip, when reality appears to have exceeded our worst expectations, it is inevitable
that we associate the images of wildfires raging across the landscape over the past
few months with those seen in the film. Ambá is not just a record, it also raises
A Line into Infinity
In this audiovisual compilation of videos, recordings of installations, and images of
drawings and paintings, the Argentine artist Matías Duville (Buenos Aires, 1974) takes
us on a journey through the desolate landscapes and those in a state of constant flux
that he explores in his work. Having suffered from cataclysms, they make us feel the full
power of nature, its reactions and shifts, emphasizing its sublime and terrifying power
against which human agency seems volatile and enfeebled. Tied together by a seductive
soundscape, the images remind us of the earth’s capacity for change and reinvention
once it has been hit by catastrophe – a power infinitely greater than that of our species.
They also explore the bonds that we establish with it: of failed domination on the one
hand, but also the potential harmonies we perceive in psychedelic visions. The video
and laboratory of ideas are part of Duville’s ‘line into infinity’ – the name of the project,
which refers to time and the essential element of the drawing that drives his work
– a series of work produced over the past fifteen years in Argentina and overseas,
exhibited at institutions in France, Brazil, and the USA.
His most recent projects and exhibitions include: Desert means ocean (MOLAA, Los
Angeles, 2019); The Valise Project (MoMA, New York, 2017); Mutações (MAM, Rio de
Janeiro, 2015); Safari (Malba, Buenos Aires, 2013) and Alaska (Drawing Center, New
York, 2013). His work is featured in the collections of the MoMA, New York; Tate,
London; Centro Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Solomon R. Guggenheim
Museum, New York; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection; and the Museo de Arte
Moderno de Buenos Aires, among others.
The stories and images of Lugar fósil [Fossil Place] dilute references to time as part
of a stimulus for thinking about necessary change. Through diverse testimonies about
environmental and economic phenomena – events that have occurred in different cities
in China over the past forty years – Florencia Levy’s audiovisual piece constructs a
dystopian narrative in which what we see and hear is recognizable as both an urgent
present and an imminent future. In March 2020, the artwork received the Trabucco
Otros Soportes Acquisition Prize organized by the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes
and is currently going through the donation process.
Florencia Levy (Buenos Aires, 1979) studied at Central Saint Martins College of Arts in London and the
Universidad Nacional de Artes de Buenos Aires. Her practice is founded in long term research into
different subjectivities related to history, architecture and the public space. She has been on artistic
residencies in the United States, Taiwan, China, Israel and Cuba, among other countries. Her artworks
have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art of Moscow, Arko Art Center in Seoul, South Korea,
and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago de Chile. This year, she received a Pollock-Krasner
Foundation grant and won the Trabucco Otros Soportes Award from the Academia Nacional de
A playlist from Listen [Visual Sounds] cycle
Francisco López (Spain)
The Jungle (1998)
An immersion in the sound environment of the tropical jungle in Costa Rica. In
Francisco López’s words: ‘An incredible natural sound network created by a
multitude of sounds including rain, waterfalls, insects, frogs, birds, mammals and
plants, across a single diurnal cycle in the rainy season. A powerful sound and
broadband acoustic of exciting complexity. And above all a tour de force of profound
listening.’ Francisco López moves away from traditional bio-acoustics, which he
considers to be a reductionist approach to field recordings, preferring sound material
over representation (‘That’s not the jungle,’) to build a non-bucolic world across a
Link to the Spotify album
Jakob Kirkegaard (Denmark)
4 Rooms (2006)
This piece is based on recordings made in spaces in the Chernobyl exclusion zone in
Ukraine, nineteen years after the nuclear disaster there. To compose these pieces,
Jakob carried out the same technique used by Alvin Lucier in his famous I'm Sitting in
a Room artwork. The name of each track refers to the space in which these poetic,
spine-tingling recordings were made.
Link to the Spotify album
Jana Winderen (Norway)
Energy Field (2010)
This artwork of three pieces is made up of sound material recorded in the Barents Sea
(north of Norway, Russia and Greenland) deep among the cracks of its glaciers, in the
fjords and on the open sea. These basic sound components are joined by the open
areas of Greenland, its winds, crows, wild dogs and fish. It thus recreates a frozen
landscape little known to most humans but that is vital to the natural equilibrium of the
planet, which is currently suffering from a phenomenal transformation due to the climate
Link to the Spotify album
Chris Watson (United Kingdom)
Weather Report (2003)
This is the first artwork in which the soundscape artist Chris Watson, an expert in field
recordings, combines several recordings of the weather in different natural environments
to compose a triptych of sound collages. Weather Report presents three imaginary
locations within which time is compressed and there is an underlying awareness of the
influence of the environment on living creatures.
Link to the Spotify album
The Student’s Perspective
In this interview with Giovanna, a nine-year old student at the Sustainable School of
Mar Chiquita, we reflect on educationally and environmentally aware practices.
Giovanna shares a new way of living in schools and in her experience we see how our
educational institutions can help us to build a different relationship with the environment
through everyday actions.
Challenge: Portray a Better World
To help us think about the environmental damage being done to the world,
we invite you to imagine how we might create a better one. What are the
possible solutions to pollution?
Draw, paint or depict your idea of a better world. Between us, we can build a
positive message. Take a photograph and don’t forget to share your results with
us by tagging us on your social networks!
Trying Out New Worlds
Transformative experiences in art and education
We invite you to take part in the cycle: ‘Trying Out New Worlds’. In these meetings we
think about possible sustainable dynamics and approaches through ongoing projects.
The Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, together with different institutions such
as the Arte Como Educación foundation (with the participation of Luis Camnitzer, María
del Carmen González and Sofía Quirós), the gallery SOA arte contemporáneo
(represented by Vivian Honigsberg, Ana Gotta Ibarra and Marina García López) and
the TAGMA organization (Ana Kondakjian and Martín Espósito) suggests new ideas for
artistic-educational experiences that encourage environmental, sustainable and more
aware thought and practices.
Ideas for the classroom or at home
Activity designed for primary school teachers
The museum invites you to do the following activity, which encourages us to take
another look at forgotten or neglected objects.
1 – Look for an object you have at home that you’ve kept but no longer have any
use for (a broken vase or plate, a memento from a trip, an item of clothing, etc.)
2 – Take a sheet of paper and design your project. Think about the different ways in
which you might alter your object to lend it new meaning: you can write about it,
embroider it, stitch it up or even highlight a crack using whatever technique you
prefer. Write down the phrases that come to mind. Do drawings of the project and
its possible transformations. The idea is for you to enjoy the process.
3 – What did you turn your object into?
4 – Suggest a name for your object that relates the artwork to its new use.
5 – Share your project with us. If you like, you can upload the photo of your projects
to IG and tag the museum.
A journal of art and thought for older people
Inspired by the gender equality guidelines that form part of the sustainable
development objectives of the United Nations, we invite you to learn more about
some of the women artists in the museum collection, energizing your body, mind
and imagination with Rhizome, our journal of art and thought for older people.
Click on the image to access the journal.