Critics’ Picks

Marcella Cabutti, Solar pieces, 2021, stone and clay spheres from Sierra La Bachicha, 4 x 8 x 4".

Marcella Cabutti, Solar pieces, 2021, stone and clay spheres from Sierra La Bachicha, 4 x 8 x 4".

Buenos Aires

Marcela Cabutti

Del Infinito
Av. Pte Quintana 325 PB
July 16–September 3, 2021

In 2020, Marcela Cabutti was invited to make a work in Balcarce, Argentina. The site of a long-ago meteor impact, the city is rumored to have a strange energy. What’s more, Balcarce is located on part of the Río de la Plata Craton, a 2,200-million-year-old Precambric territory that has the same geological composition as Namibia, with which it was once joined. Determined to tap into this energy, but also to keep her environmental impact to a minimum, Cabutti took samples of clay, kaolin, and stones from the neighboring quarries to design small-scale models for larger sculptures to be realized later at Balcarce.

These models form the basis of Cabutti’s solo exhibition, “Balcarce, Topographic Memories of a Landscape.” For the wall-mounted triptych of her “Geo Impact” series (all works 2021), the artist bought thin stone plates mottled with sedimentary strata in shades of black and light brown. Atop these surfaces, she placed a constellation of spheres modeled in clay from Sierra La Barrosa and kaolin from the abandoned Sierra La Bachicha quarry. Solar piece I and II flank a spotlight with two small shelflike plinths that jut from the wall. Atop each is a natural rock whose shadow is carefully outlined with a trail of small clay orbs. Stone Rain strings up a mobile of granite stone shards in various sizes, the remnants of blasting within the quarries, while Dynamite Bubble threads explosive wires into a delicate crystal bulb.

Cabutti rounds these pieces out with a series of small installations adorning real branches with crystal leaves or, in the case of Tree with rain scene, black blown-glass spheres, the technique the artist is perhaps best known for. When this piece is realized in Balcarce, Cabutti will replace the glass with the more environmentally friendly material of clay, furthering her engagement with the landscape.