Paradigms for Better Living
Ana Gallardo and Gabriela Cabezón Cámara in conversation
A couple of hours apart, in Buenos Aires Province and Mexico City, Argentinian writer Gabriela Cabezón Cámara and artist Ana Gallardo talk about the ways that art can accompany processes of change and growth, and about Gallardo’s School of Aging project. The School of Aging was born in 2004. It has since worked to identify and make adult lives more visible by leading them as utopias or realizing them in gatherings, dialogues and collective actions that, as Cabezón Cámara points out, shatter moulds and create paradigms to help us live better.
The Poetics of Care
Health has featured in the social, political and economic debate in recent months to an unprecedented degree, both nationally and globally. Behind the statistics and the numbers we read in daily reports are speculations around the future dynamics of the face-masks, social distancing and asepsis of our ‘new normal’. But the virus has also revealed that health is something far broader than the name of a disease. It raises awareness about the communities we live in: the larger body that contains us all and whose health we have to look after. The current circumstances remind us that health includes personal, family and community care: not just medical diagnoses but the need to share emotions, a sense of protection, contact with nature, a feeling of freedom, the practice of work and many other things besides. By understanding health like this in a broader sense – closer to a search for well-being, harmony and deep connection with our bodies, others and our environment, and for the amplification of our perceptions – different ‘care strategies’ emerge which many contemporary artists are investigating and make use of in their works.
In a movement back to the days when there were no differences between disciplines and knowledge travelled back and forth between art, science and spirituality, these artists have a comprehensive interest in the health of the mind and body in every condition and at every stage of life. Driven on by this idea, they propose spiritual journeys of meditation, devise palliative care projects where art is made by the patients themselves, or mental health group therapies that go beyond the physical body to imagine spaces for social contact, reclaiming old age as a vital stage of life where new horizons continue to open up. This set of works transcends the boundaries that have traditionally defined the ‘Work of Art’ to fuse completely with comprehensive health practices towards a new kind of well-being. Such works nurture self-discovery as the best conduit for promoting collective care and so contribute to the actual construction of a healthy, sustainable future. These artists and their works ask how we can strengthen our organisms not just physically and psychically, but emotionally and relationally. They therefore turn their attention to the exchanges encouraged by art rather than the objects it produces, reigniting the historical avant-gardes’ concern to alter at a single stroke the art we know and the social life that sustains it. This profile of contemporary art thus encompasses a broad idea of health and demands a transformative reading of the community we belong to.
By concentrating less on the biological certainties of modern science and more on the immeasurable wealth of sensitive approaches, art can go beyond the materiality of the body and try to remedy the ailments that undermine our health on various fronts. In the current context, when we are even more conscious of the complex regime of unhealth that reigns over inner and outer lives, we ask ourselves whether art and artistic strategies may provide a way, through innovative new profiles, to strengthen our fragile existence.
Destino [Destination, 2020
Nicolás Mastracchio ~. Destino [Destination], 2020, Video, 7' 58"
In a work specially produced for the Museo de Arte Moderno during his quarantine in Berlin, Nicolás Mastracchio~ builds an atmosphere of transformation and shelter using images created with simple analogue materials (coloured acetates and glasses of water), his digital camera and music specially composed. The colours that study, mirror and evolve each other in cyclical movements suggest a duct, a conduit, a place of containment and energy.
Nicolás Mastracchio~: Pulso
Compartimos en nuestra página web la publicación que realizó el Museo
de Arte Moderno en 2018 para acompañar la exhibición Nicolás
Mastracchio~: Pulso. Con un recorrido completo por la serie de fotografías
que se vieron en la muestra, acompañadas de un texto curatorial de Javier
Villa, en el que reflexiona a partir de sus conversaciones con el artista,
y un ensayo en el que el escritor Osvaldo Baigorria se detiene en los
aspectos místicos de esta producción.
Nicolás Mastracchio~: Pulso [Pulse]
‘Recorrido 1’ [Route 1]
Pulso [Pulse] - ‘Recorrido 1’ [Route 1], 2020, Audio, 22' 32"
After a meditation audio conducted by Nicolás Mastracchio~ as part of his exhibition
Pulso at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires in 2018, the artist brings us
a new guided visualization specially produced for this context. We recommend
listening in a locked, dimly-lit room. Arrange yourself in a comfortable position that
you can maintain throughout the audio. Avoid headphones so that any ambient or
bodily sounds become part of the process.
The exhibition, Graciela Hasper: The Grammar of Colour, held at the Museo de Arte
Moderno in 2013, presented a look around twenty years of Hasper’s painting to bring
the public the key works of one of Argentina’s greatest living artists. This book set out
to go beyond: in addition to the corpus of images of the paintings displayed in the
Moderno’s galleries, it includes paintings not exhibited, as well as extra-pictorial works
like watercolours, photographs, digital projects, atmospheres and public art projects.
Alongside this important selection of images it offers a gateway into Hasper’s prolific
visual world, accompanied by critical texts from Roberto Amigo and Laura Isola.
Draw your experience
Draw Your Experience In this video the artist Catalina León creates a visual outline
interrelating fundamental concepts that link art, health and education. Through her
experience as co-founder and director of the NGO, Vergel, Catalina León conveys
to us what she has learnt about the importance of artistic endeavour in building
and preserving health and well-being.
Vergel is an NGO created in 2010 that brings together art, health and education,
and puts artistic practices at the service of public health and well-being. Through
implementing artistic programmes, training schemes, outreach actions and content
development, Vergel promotes the importance of art as a complementary tool in
medical treatments and works towards a humanized, holistic approach to health.
In the current health emergency Vergel is accompanying patients at the Ricardo
Gutiérrez Children’s Hospital and the José de San Martín Teaching Hospital via
WhatsApp, and is currently working with Argentina’s Ministry of Culture on an idea
for COVID patients.
En la producción que conformó la exhibición realizada en el Museo de Arte
Moderno, Catalina León se inspiró en las investigaciones del antropólogo
francés Jean Duvignaud sobre las fiestas rituales y la religiosidad, en las
que describe al "sacrificio inútil” como una acción despreocupada que
permite al yo desprenderse de las imposiciones y abrirse al infinito.
Compartimos hoy la publicación realizada por el museo para acompañar la
íntima obra de Catalina León, que incluye un texto de su curadora, Alejandra
Aguado, y fragmentos de una conversación entre ambas.
Working with What’s Wasted
In one series of works Silvia Gurfein uses nuggets or chips of oil-paint recycled
from her palette to build images in which explosion maps processes of change and
transformation. In this video Gurfein discusses the relations between the practices
of caring and painting, expanding on areas in her work where these become ways
to get in touch with entropy and highlight our fragility and that of the world around us.
Movimiento perpetuo [Perpetual Motion]
Based on film fragments exploring instructions about health, hospital regimes,
physical training, hygiene and the use of physical violence, Marcelo Grosman
investigates the link between the image and the domestication of the body.
The artist inscribes his researches within a ‘crossing of modernities’, where there
is a convergence between the idea of Public Health, consolidated simultaneously
to the industrial revolution, and the creation of industrial devices like the photographic
camera, which has been responsible for the mass reproduction of the human image.
One Work, Three Views
A collective dialogue around a work from the Moderno Collection
This first edition of Audio Obra [Audio Work] features Luis Felipe ‘Yuyo’ Noé
(an artist in the Museum’s collection), Pino Monkes (a Moderno conservator
and restorer), Andrea Mathov (a psychiatrist and coordinator of the Employment
with Support Programme), Fernanda Cermelli (a psychologist and member of
the Department of Inclusion with Mental Health). The Museo Moderno’s
Communities Area and the Mental Health Cultural Inclusion Programme of the
City of Buenos Aires are working to bring together health, art, thought and
creativity. The proposition aims to strengthen the ties between individuals, the
Museum and the city’s mental health facilities.
En esta oportunidad el taller sonoro Una Nube y el Departamento de Educación
proponen una actividad para los más pequeños. A partir de juguetes y elementos
del hogar te mostramos cómo se puede crear diversos sonidos y melodías para
estimular a los niños.
¿Armamos una torre?
Que nadie diga cómo debe ser
y que del error salgan mágicamente
donde el sonido juega como la imaginación
y crea sus propias reglas;
¡desarmar para volver a armar!
Así, entre juegos, sonidos y vuelos de la imaginación, nos proponemos pasar estos
días con los más chiquitos de la casa.
Que esta sea una oportunidad para estrechar vínculos. Para construir nuevas torres.