Matilde Marin (Buenos Aires, 1948) is an Argentine academic and contemporary artist who develops work in multiple disciplines including printmaking, photography and video. Marín has been a visiting professor giving postgraduate seminars at universities in Argentina, Santiago de Chile and Barcelona, Spain. Marín is a Fellow of the Institut d’Études Avancées de Nantes, France (2020).
She graduated as a sculptor from the School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires and continued her studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, Switzerland where she trained in graphic techniques. She began her work on paper in a constant search to break with the traditional techniques of the discipline and since the late nineties she has incorporated photography and video into her artistic practice, creating large-format installations.
Since 2008 she has been a Full Member and as of 2019 Vice President of the National Academy of Fine Arts and President of the Federico Jorge Klemm Foundation in Buenos Aires. Marín has worked and lived in Caracas (Venezuela), Zurich (Switzerland), Washington (USA). She is currently based in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
About her work
Matilde Marín’s work has been widely studied in theoretical and critical texts internationally. Her work emerges from a rigorous research process and a critical and reflective argument about the events that leave their mark on humanity and the artist’s role as an active witness who records and elaborates reflections on contemporaneity.
Marín began her artistic career in the field of engraving, standing out for the development of innovative experimental techniques that involved non-toxic materials. During the 80s and part of the 90s she worked on engraving media in its different techniques, incorporating her own codes and symbols, seeking to broaden the horizons of the field and move it away from the traditional two-dimensional context and take it to the sculptural volume. During this period her large-format rolls of paper stand out, where the artist engraves handmade papers with fire that, despite the graphic imprint, are associated with the universe of sculpture.
During 1992, Matilde investigated “technical codes for engraving”. With freedom of interpretation, what Umberto Eco (1968) called “Transmission codes”. They are those that structure the sufficient conditions for the perception of the image (such as the reticulation of press photography, in which the artist is interested), hold not only the aesthetic qualification of the work, but also the codes of taste, the tonal codes and stylistic codes.
In 1993, her artist book ‘Myths of Creation’ was published together with Arte Dos Gráfica, Bogotá; a work inspired on her passion for archeology where she artistically develops the myths that are rooted in ancient cultures and are recorded in those peoples despite the passage of time, giving rise to the ‘internal memory’ of our humanity. ‘Myths of Creation’ was later acquired by the Collection of the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Reina Sofía in Madrid. Her second artist book was published in 2001 by Raiña Lupa Ediciones, Paris for the Luis Seoane Foundation of Galicia, Spain. For her outstanding contribution to the discipline of engraving, Marín was a special guest at the 100 Miast Graphics Triennial in Krakow, Poland; Print International Exhibition Macau, China (2002); Millenium Graph of Japan (2001); International Biennial of Ljubljana, Slovenia (1999). In 1998, the MANGHA Center for Contemporary Art in Krakow held a relevant exhibition of her production on engraving media. Recently the University of Tokyo has incorporated images of her graphic work into the study book on the technique of engraving used at the prominent Musashino Art University of Japan.
Her current production is focused on the role of the artist as a witness, recording through photography and video, stories about the world we inhabit, situations that are related to the pure landscape and its natural or artificial alteration. The themes that Marín chooses go from urban to nature, and from there to the breadth of the horizon. In her work nature enters as something greater, which must be respected in its harmony. It enters as equilibrium and infinity and stands as a model of life subsuming everything else. In this context, Marín’s work assigns a political character to human crises.
The social register of the urban environment is also present in the iconic series ‘Contemporary Bricolage’ (2002–2005) that includes photographs along with videos and a publication presented at the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA); where the artist portrays the political and social outbreak of December 2001 in Argentina, redefining the concept of bricolage and focusing the harvesting activity necessary to survive today, based on the figure of the “cartonero”. The series ‘Pharus Project’ (2010 – 2020) once again places the artist as a witness of her time, capturing in photography and video, lighthouses in multiple geographies as a metaphor for the light that guided men for centuries and today faces disappearance. Both series were part of the anthological exhibition ‘Matilde Marín: De Natura (Zona Alterada)’ held in the Cronopios Room of the Recoleta Cultural Center under the curatorship of Mercedes Casanegra. The exhibition included a catalog specially edited by the Recoleta Cultural Center for the occasion.
In 2012 she published together with the historian José Emilio Burúcua ‘When I sight the blue smoke of Ithaca’’, a publication presented at the Centro Experimental del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Subsequently, she carries out an exhaustive investigation documenting historical events that she reconstructs from her singular vision of our troubled times, giving rise to the series of works ‘When I sight the blue smoke of Ithaca’ recently presented at the XIII Biennial of Havana, where documents, videos and photographs recounted the fears and threats of an entire century.
In 2014 she produced the artist book ‘The Imaginary Journey of Kazimir Malevich’ with texts by the historian José Emilio Burucúa where he recounted his hypothesis from which Malevich found inspiration to carry out his great work. The first chapter shows photographic records made in the artist’s workshop from books on Malevich and black and white oriental papers. The second chapter is made up of photographic records of Matilde Marín collected between the years 1997 to 2013 in various cities around the world where Marín found images that refer to the work of the Russian artist.
In 2017 the OSDE Foundation presented the anthological exhibition “Matilde Marín: Archaeologist of herself” under the curatorship of Adriana Almada where the most representative works of the artist from the 90s to the present were exhibited, along with publications, writings and historical documentation of her career. The exhibition included a catalog with texts by Adriana Amada and Guillermo Saavedra and an autobiographical essay.
Marín has exhibited his work in more than 20 countries and in numerous group exhibitions including The Berlin Graphotek; The National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires; Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires; Museum of the Americas, Washington; Bronx Museum of the Arts; Santa Barbara Museum, California; Museum of Oaxaca; National Museum of San Carlos, DF., Mexico; Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago de Chile; Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago de Chile; Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas; Museum of Modern Art, Cuenca, Ecuador; Museu de Arte Contemporánea, São Paulo; House of the Americas, Havana, Cuba; Museo del Barro, Paraguay; Frac Franche Comté, Besançon; Santillana Foundation, in Santillana del Mar; Luis Seoane Foundation, Galicia; Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
She has participated in numerous Biennials such as the XIII Biennial of Havana, Cuba (2019); Bienal SUR (2019); Karachi Biennale KB17 Pakistan (2018); SIART International Biennial, La Paz (2017); Nice Video Festival, France (2016); XXII International Biennial of Curitiba, Brazil, (2015); VII International Biennial, Cuenca, Ecuador, (2001); ‘Bridge to the Future’, Krakow, Poland, (2000); ‘Millennium Grafica 2000’, Yokohama, Japan, (2000); International Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia, (1999) International Biennial of Puerto Rico (1988).
Her work is part of private and public collections, including the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires, MACRO Rosario Collection; FoLA – Latin American Photo Library in Buenos Aires; Foundation of the Cuenca International Biennial, Institute of Culture, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Museum of Contemporary Art in Sao Paulo; Museum of the Americas, Bronx Museum of the Arts.
• Artist’s Book: Myths of Creation (1993).
• The Promised Land (1996).
• Itinerary (1998 – 2001)
• Playing Hands (1999 – 2002).
• Contemporary Bricolage (2002 – 2005).
• Initial Games (2006).
• Cold River (2008).
• Pharus Project (2010 – 2020).
• Mantles (1997 – 2017).
• South Atlantic (Video) (2011).
• The Imaginary Journey of Kazimir Malevich (2014).
• Indeterminate Landscapes (2016 – 2017).
• When I sight the blue smoke of Ithaca (2012 – 2019).
• Grand Prize of Honor, National Engraving Competition, Argentina (1985).
• International Prize for Graphics, Listowell, Ireland (1985).
• Facio Hebecquer Award, National Academy of Fine Arts, Argentina (1988).
• First Latin American Prize, Biennial of Puerto Rico (1988).
• Kónex Platinum Award (1992).
• Award for the best teaching action by the Argentine Association of Art Critics (1995 | 1998).
• Leonardo Prize for Creation, National Museum of Fine Arts of Buenos Aires (1997).
• Prize VII International Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador (2001).
• Award from the Chilean Association of Art Critics (2001).
• Sigwart Blum Award for video art of the year with the work ‘Game of Hands’, Argentine Association of Art Critics, Argentina (2002).
• Grant from the National Directorate for Cultural Policy and International Cooperation (2005).
• ‘Jorge Romero Brest’ Award for career, Argentine Association of Art Critics, Argentina (2009).
• Outstanding Personality of Culture, Legislature of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (2010).