ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Métaforas para abrazar al mundo-Arte y sustentabilidad IV edición
Ana Laura Cantera-Joaquin Fargas-Daniel Fischer-Romina Orazi-Hernan Paganini-Marina Zerbarini.Curaduría Rodrigo Alonso
Art and Sustainability IV
METAPHORS FOR EMBRACING THE WORLD
Unlike other professional spheres, such as architecture or design, art cannot easily contribute to the actual material transformation of the planet. None the less, if any one thing can be claimed as appropriate for it throughout history, it is the possibility to stimulate thought and reflection on the great problems of humanity. Artists, as shrewd and analytical witnesses of their time, have never ignored these themes, but rather have tackled them, and tackle them still, through their specific tools: symbolization, metaphor, marking and signaling, poetry.
The authors gathered into this exhibition call attention to some of the resources that shape and define our lives. In their works, nature persistently appears, yet not from some idealized or bucolic view, but rather as a field of tensions, anxieties, and conflicts. Unlike land-art, here there is no formal or estheticized closeness to the landscape. Instead, it is a matter of thinking of the natural world as that necessary space, beloved and problematic, on which, all the same, the future of the species continues to depend.
Joaquín Fargas designs various windmills that bring their energy to a cooling system, and he places them over the surface of Argentine Antarctica in order to maintain the coldness of its glaciers. The disproportionate figure they cut against the infinite frozen expanses calls attention to the difficulties posed in the challenge to preserve the world’s largest ice reserve from the effects of global warming. The piece is titled Don Quijote Against Climate Change. On the other hand, the artist creates a set of technological organisms, as if they were some new populating species, by which he also takes pains to recognize the contributions science makes to the biodiversity of the planet.
An important part of the scientific effort is oriented today toward the analysis and control of the variables that allow for the diagnosis of the ecosystem’s “state of health.” Marina Zerbarini allows us to approach these variables in real time, through a hypnotic cartography of colorful light. Her purpose is to spur an awareness which will enable us to transcend the singular surroundings we live in, and which presents climate and its effects as a phenomenon that unites all the inhabitants of the Earth. To raise such awareness is also to underscore and implicate us in our responsibility.
Responsibility is at the core of Romina Orazi’s work. In it, the life of a plant depends on the direct action of the spectator, who must contribute with aid (economic) to its survival. The crucial element of the installation is not the plant in itself, but rather that decision which, as Jean-Paul Sartre would say, proceeds from individual freedom yet does so knowing that it will affect others: the basic principle that makes possible the existence of the entire human community.
Ana Laura Cantera presents a project begun in the Altamira region, in the south of Brazil. There, she created a community of dolls, ‘action figures’ made out of biodegradable plastic and banana fiber – the region’s main product – and immersed it in the Río Preto until the action of the river’s ecosystem transformed that community into a network of microbial cells. Through a circuit of cables and electrodes, the dolls were turned into interfaces for extracting energy from the river water. Reconstruction of that circuit in the gallery extends the generosity of nature into the city.
Hernán Paganini, for his part, brings the wholesomeness of the forests into the gallery. Out of recycled barks and woods, he constructs a huge organic tapestry that functions as a sort of blanket or wall, a vast coat or protection. The starting point is a memory of his childhood in the countryside where his grandparents lived, in San Andrés de Giles; and of the shop, from which hung, on a stout beam, the provisions waiting to be used at the right moments, respecting the natural cycles of abundance and scarcity. The elements that make up that installation come from the yearned-for countryside of his family.
Finally, Daniel Fischer celebrates the ever prodigal vitality of the organic universe, which thrives in any surface whatsoever, in the most inhospitable spaces, in the most inauspicious settings. In the very heart of the white cube, where art at times takes refuge from the buffetings of the world, the artist cultivates resilient vegetation, in a gesture that reminds us that the key to sustainability does not lie in using available resources but rather in knowing how to renew them – no longer in gestures of exploitation or indifference, but rather in respect and embrace.