I visited MAMBA today thinking it was MACBA (but the BA one, not the Barcelona one) in order to compare it to MALBA. But this understandable mixup was worth it because I got to see Ana Gallardo’s exhibition “A place to live when we are old.” In the written introduction of this exhibition it says, “The artist fears old age. She fears it as she as fears death.” Of course this hooked my interest immediately. The theme of negotiating age and death is explored through installation, video, sound, and drawing, but one of my favorite works is “Sketches for the reconstruction of a landscape. The Zempoala Lagoon, 1965, 2010.” A large white room in the basement of the museum is filled with black and white drawings of large swamp nature scenes. These drawings look like copies of large high contrast photographs, but still maintain a sense of freedom and human imagination from the artist’s hand hand, which photographs do not. They are all recreations of scenes where she scattered her mother’s ashes in Mexico. She finally chose this spot after her mother’s remains were exhumed and cremated, floated from place to place in a urn, and finally ended up in a plastic bag. This take on the “cemetery” was so interesting to me because while the final burial is essentially still impermanent (it is completely absorbed into the hands of nature), the artist clings on to her body by preserving various versions of her resting place though drawing, always reconstructing it and claiming ownership of it. You can read the text she included with the exhibition below.
A different work by Gallardo that she dragged through the streets of Buenos Aires like a miniature shelter home. This simple image explains Argentina. Tango mosaic graffiti in San Telmo.
Yesterday my host Barbara and I made a list of all the different foods in Argentina that I must try! Today we knocked off the list covered churros, sweet potato pastelitos, and chipas. Everything tasted even better than it looks. It is pretty good to be here! Thanks Barbara!