Palais de Glace,|
Feb 15, 2006 - Mar 19, 2006
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The construction of çLa Normalidadç in Buenos Aires ç Project Ex Argentina
by Viviana Usubiaga
Between February 15 and March 19, 2006, the show "La Normalidad" was exhibited at the Palais de Glace in Buenos Aires, featuring the participation of 45 artists and groups from Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Austria, the Netherlands, France and Russia. The exhibition is the third part of project Ex Argentina, carried out since 2002 by Gabriela Massuh, director of Cultural Programming for the Goethe Institute of Buenos Aires, along with the German artists and curators, Alice Creisher y Andreas Siekmann, and with the financial support of Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation).
After the extraordinary crisis that struck Argentina in December of 2001, many came to observe and document the devastating consequences of the neoliberal economic model. The focus was on the phenomena of the counter-offensive created by the social movements that arose in response to the crisis, which necessitated the definition of a vocabulary that was consistent with the new social practices: "neighborhood assemblies", pot-bangings", "pickets", "cardboard-dwellers", "recovered factories". Thus, the Argentinian political, economic and social collapse became an object of study and speculation in diverse spheres, from economic congresses to social forums, ultimately reaching the curatorships of the international art circuit.
From the beginning, project Ex Argentina tried to differentiate itself from the aforementioned, from the stereotypical lectures on the Argentinian "disgrace", and from the panoramic visions of the local art scene. To this end, Creischer y Siekmann, its artistic curators, adopted a viewpoint close to the phenomena that they proposed to research. They remained in the country between November 2002 and April 2003, and from then on met periodically with different intellectuals and innovators in Buenos Aires, Rosario, La Plata, Bahia Blanca and Posadas. Together, they developed a body of artistic and theoretical research into the factors that led to Argentina’s economic crisis in its international context, at the same time they sought to displace the boundaries between artistic and political practices. The nucleus of contributors was augmented by other European groups and artists. During the subsequent four years, they organized hearings, exhibitions and publications. In November of 2003, an international congress was held in Berlin on political information and artistic methods called "Plans to Flee from Panoramic Visions" , that represented the first presentation of Ex Argentina in Germany and was a preamble to an exhibition realized months later in Cologne. During the month of July, an international conference was held in Buenos Aires on "The Crisis of Representation in Art and Politics". In March of 2004, the exhibition "Steps for Fleeing the Work to be Done" was presented at the Ludwig Museum (Cologne, Germany), accompanied by ample documentation published in book-catalogue form under the same name. All of the information involved in, and generated by, the process of the project--the proposals, the commentary from the encounters, and the correspondence carried on between some of the participants--may be consulted online at www.exargentina.org.
On this occasion, the exhibition "La Normalidad", presented in Buenos Aires, has as its objective, "[the construction of] a decentralized space for debate and exchange not limited strictly to the field of visual arts". To this end, a program of activities was organized that included open workshops, poetry recitals, documentary film screenings, a cycle of Argentinian video-activism and a week of free programming for more in-depth analysis of certain subjects. These encounters were held not only at the national exhibition halls (Palais de Glace) - the "official" art space, dependent on the Ministry of National Culture - but also at independent venues, as satellites of the show, that were chosen for the