Marta Minujín and Andy Warhol at the photoperformance
Marta Minujín and Andy Warhol in the photoperformance "El paga de la deuda externa argentina con maíz, 'el oro latinoamericano'" (1985). Photo: Leonor Amarante

The transforming dimension of art creates characters that stand out from the rest for their creative force and inexhaustible continuity. Marta Minujin: Live, on display starting this Saturday (29/7) at picture gallery Luz, reaffirms this maxim by exhibiting an allegorical, interstellar, timeless production that celebrates 60 years of art and delirium by the iconic Argentine artist.

Everything that can be seen behind this aesthetic repertoire has already broken conventions, created a lot of noise and does not dissociate life and work, also fed by collective energies produced by famous friends such as Allan Kaprow, pioneer of the happening and the legendary Andy Warhol.

The public that arrives at the Pinacoteca is welcomed by a giant inflatable work measuring 17 meters, the Sculpture of the Desires (Sculpture of Desires, 2022), in which Minujín explores the plastic nature of the materials that produce rhythm. This work with a festive atmosphere was made for Lollapalooza Argentino. Ana Maria Maia, curator of the exhibition, brings dozens of works that make up the “opera” Minujín, a synthesis of the typical desires of an artist born and socialized with ambitious and productive triggers, with the clear objective of creating unmistakable authorial art.

The exhibition is not traveling, it was designed and desired by the Pinacoteca, according to the curator. “Latin America is on the agenda for the next few years at the museum, and Minujín is one of the first names on the list. We started visiting her studio in Buenos Aires at the beginning of last year.” The show was conceived together, and the chosen works are the common thread of a production that crosses several international art movements. The director of the Pinacoteca, Jochen Volz, points out in the catalog that the idea of ​​​​holding an exhibition of Minujín dates back to 2018, when the artist participated in the collective Radical women: Latin American art, 1960-1985, organized by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta.

Minujin's inaugural exhibition was in 1959 at the Teatro Agón in Buenos Aires, when she was just 16 years old. Two years later, she obtained a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts, which allowed her to settle in Paris, where she began the habitable structures, covered with mattresses found among the waste of Parisian hospitals. In 1963 she created The destruction, his first happening, when he brought together works with mattresses and invited colleagues to destroy them. It was the beginning of a busy life with international performance experiences that allowed her, at a young age, to create an innovative female voice in the competitive and closed art scene in Buenos Aires at the time, dominated by artists dressed in tweed and ties. Opening paths, Marta invented her way of dealing with art and the system.

Among the various works on display at the Pinacoteca, El Batacazo (1965), for having been awarded at the Instituto Di Tella in Buenos Aires (1963/1969), when the space was the epicenter of the Argentine avant-garde and where international celebrities passed. From happenings, to installations and settings, almost nothing escaped the programming of this iconic institute that pulsated in the middle of Calle Florida. The Prêmio Internacional Di Tella became a showcase for the art world, when the institution formed a bridge with important museums such as MoMA and influential galleries, such as that of art dealer Leo Castelli, in New York. With this award, Minujín caught the attention of Aldo Pellegrini, poet, essayist and art critic, who participated in the jury, but who launched it, in fact, was Romero Brest, who ran Di Tella. Between 1970 and 1980, Minujín became an international artist, known for her unique performances and installations.

The artist has always worked in Brazil, where she has many friends. In 1978, at the invitation of critic Walter Zanini, she was part of the exhibition visual poetics, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (MAC USP), organized by Julio Plaza and Zanini, who was director of the museum at the time. Months later, he participated in the 1st Latin American Biennial of São Paulo, whose theme was myths and magic, which was turned into a parody myths and loafers, an intervention organized by Ivald Granato in a parking lot on Rua Augusta, with performances by various artists, such as Minujín, Oiticica, Aguilar and Regina Vater.

The exhibition's conceptual arc covers neoconcretism, tropicália, psychedelia, among other movements present in Minujín's production. In one of his media processes, in 1976, he created the action Communicating with the earth, in which she proposed to exchange Latin American soil with interlocutors from all over the continent. Marta went to Machu Picchu, in Peru, and collected 23 kg of earth, dividing it into one-kilogram packages, and sending 23 of them to artists in different cities in Latin America. In Brazil, it was José Roberto Aguilar who mixed the land received with that of São Paulo, and Hélio Oiticica joined the land of Machu Picchu with that of Rio de Janeiro. After receiving all 23 concoctions, she returned to Machu Picchu where she buried everything back.

Minujín often says that politics gets in the way of creation, but, in fact, her work touches on politics in her own way, in summoning the body, insurgency in dance, in play, in games. Ana Maria recalls that the artist has important series that speak of the fact that she is Latin American, of placing herself on the international scene as a Latin American woman. One of the most iconic works, and eminently political, is the one that reflects on the hole that the Argentine military dictatorship left in the government's coffers. The curator recalls that during the period of re-democratization, inflation became unavoidable, indebtedness with international powers skyrocketed. Then, in 1985, Minujín commented on this episode in the photoperformance Argentina with maíz, “the Latin American gold” (The payment of the Argentine foreign debt with corn, “Latin American gold”), in which she and Andy Warhol personified stereotypes of their countries of origin: in this case, an Argentine debtor and an American creditor. While Minujín forged a payment based on sacks of grain, inflation rates in Argentina reached very high peaks.

Another path that Minujín adopted to intervene in the regional geopolitical imaginary was to act in the public space, as can be seen in the works that occupy one of the exhibition rooms. After The obelisk lying (The fallen obelisk), from 1978, which created the imaginary journey of the monument from Praça da República, in Buenos Aires, to the interior of the pavilion of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, Minujín began to create a series of oversized projects to be installed on streets of different cities and countries. Today, the artist adds several of them and continues to be invited to create even more.

Marta Minujín: Live
Curator: Ana Maria Maia
Until 28/01/2024
Pinacoteca Luz (1st floor) – Praça da Luz, 2
Hours: Wednesday to Monday, from 10am to 18pm (entrance until 17pm)



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