Critics’ Picks

  • Sara Facio, Cierre de campaña de Hector J. Campora, Avellaneda. 08.03.1973, 1973, giclée printing on cotton fiber base paper, 11 8/10 x 15 8/10.”

    Sara Facio

    Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Malba)
    Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415
    March 8 - July 30

    This exhibition comprises one hundred and fifteen mostly never-before-seen photographs concerning Juan Domingo Perón, one of the most famous—and polemical—populist leaders in Latin American history. The works in this show differ from other photographs of the political leader because, firstly, they were taken by a female photographer. Sara Facio was a photojournalist working for the French agency Sipa Press in the early 1970s, a time when there were virtually no Argentinian women working in photojournalism. Secondly, these pictures were chosen from thirty-one rolls of film that were left in the bottoms of boxes in the artist’s archives for decades; Facio eventually grew more interested in portraiture and photographic essays than in journalism and documentary.

    She did not bring these photographs to public attention sooner in order to not “take advantage of the country’s political context”—the most recent period of Peronist governments in Argentina came to an end in 2015. Facio is reluctant to engage politics head-on: She does not consider herself an activist or a Peronist. She simply sensed that what she witnessed in Argentina in the 1970s was historic and worth documenting. Although an insightful distance makes itself felt in these images, her point of view is sympathetic to the people; unlike the aerial views of the masses taken by the press photographers covering politics and the Casa Rosada, Facio’s vision of the marchers near the Plaza de Mayo is captured on the ground, up close.

    Peronism has been born, has died, and has been reborn over the course of decades. These works portray the fanaticism occasioned by a political leader’s return to his country in 1972 and the wails unleashed upon his death in 1974. Chaos, violence, resistance, utopia, struggle, hope, bloodshed, sorrow, darkness—those are the words that describe Argentina and South America as a whole in the years immediately before the long night of military dictatorship set in.

    Translated from Spanish by Jane Brodie.

  • Guillermo Kuitca, David’s Living Room Revisited, 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view, Centro Cutural Kirchner, Buenos Aires.

    “Les Visitants”

    Centro Cultural Kirchner
    Sarmiento 151 (C1041AAC)
    October 18 - June 24

    To what extent does sex drive determine the tone chosen for a carpet? And how much death drive is at play in the choice of a wall color? Guillermo Kuitca seems to have contemplated the unconscious inquiries that underlie interior design when he prepared this selection of works from Paris’s Fondation Cartier, translating questions of architectonic process into interrogations of the psychic terrains we inhabit. Often turning to now-classic images by artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller, Nan Goldin, and Nobuyoshi Araki—the exhibition includes a great deal of photography—Kuitca has filled twelve galleries with works that plunge viewers into the erotic and ominous aspects of daily life.

    For instance, while a sculpture by Adriana Varejão titled Linda de Lapa (Beauty from Lapa), 2004, is ostensibly rubble—a corner depicting three tiled domestic interiors, one red, one white, and one green—a closer inspection reveals that the debris isn’t made of brick or cement; the structure’s exposed materials resemble flesh and innards. With that surreal twist, Varejão spoils the aesthetic aspirations of the Minimalist grid.

    Themes of macabre mundanity continue in David’s Living Room Revisited, 2014, a black-and-scarlet muraled room designed by Kuitca inspired by a drawing David Lynch made for “The Air Is on Fire,” a retrospective of the auteur’s paintings, drawings, and photographs organized at the Fondation Cartier in 2007. The installation contains drawings, paintings, and furniture by Lynch and a sound piece he made with Patti Smith (Falling Backwards Once Again, 2011). The space is dreamlike, mysterious, and somewhat suffocating.

    Translated from Spanish by Jane Brodie.