Years ago I read an autobiography by Marina Abramovic and I was impressed by the closeness of her story; She also made me think about whether we artists should endlessly list our achievements or talk about the essential things that happened in our lives linked to art or vice versa. The OSDE Foundation team gave me the opportunity to put together this autobiography for the catalog that is published in relation to my exhibition Archaeologist of herself in the Art Space of the OSDE Foundation; this is a desired challenge.
In relation to biographies and autobiographies, Thomas Wulffen says that ‘the biographical is not part of the present or of history; biography and autobiography are always middle history and never simple past’.
I start this story by the beginning. I was born on June 25, 1948 and, from an astrological perspective, to which Shakespeare was attentive, I am of the Cancer sign with Sagittarius ascendant and moon in Aquarium. For many this may mean nothing, and for others, it may mark a route that can influence life.
My education included the two schools of Fine Arts of Buenos Aires, Manuel Belgrano and Prilidiano Pueyrredón, and a short training at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, during my stay in Switzerland. This last learning greatly influenced my way of approaching engraving media, a discipline that I developed during a very long part of my artistic career. In Zurich I was able to fully understand engraving media, and the engine that it requires to investigate it.
In this context I developed several print series that had different fates between the years 1982 (when I returned to the country) and 1993. I consider that ‘From the wall’, and the artist book ‘Myths of creation’, produced in Arte Dos Gráfico in Bogotá; were the most important works of that period. With these pieces came the Grand Prize of the National Salon, the Konex of Platinum, and the Prize of the Biennial of Puerto Rico, an Ibero-American biennial conducted at the time by Maricarmen Ramírez, who has now changed its format.
I go back. In 1975 I began a journey without a destination that marked my artistic desire and my learning. I decided to tour Latin America inch by inch or country by country. I did it out of a need for knowledge in a period of life where there were no determining commitments yet, apart from those that one could attribute to oneself. Latin America then became Europe, including Eastern Europe, reaching as far as Central Anatolia and on the other side, Morocco and the desert. I was able to make this trip that marked a way of life and work towards the future, brought deep knowledge and a view of the world, while I was still quite young.
Upon choosing Argentina again as my place to live and develop my artistic production, I began to work on “the internal memory of man” still influenced by American cultures. Currently my production is focused on the role of the artist as a “witness” and stopping at that point, I record stories of the world we inhabit through photography and video.
As of 1998, photography returned with great strength to be part of my productive horizon. I develop two emblematic series within my current production: Playing Hands and Contemporary Bricolage, the latter presented at MALBA in 2005. The history of Bricolage is linked to the fracture that we Argentines lived in 2001. Walking the streets and seeing the collapse of the country and its inhabitants was something difficult to forget. So, I asked myself, what can the artist do …? Work with what he sees and feels; the artist knows that the world will not change, yet he knows that he can leave a mark, a documentation, and that footprint is valid.
It took me time to make Contemporary Bricolage and as always, I not only took photographs, but also included a video in the series. These two projects gave me great satisfaction. Many times, seeing how my work travels through various destinations, I feel that it has a life of its own. The two series were requested and exhibited in important Latin American museums and galleries, in the continent in which I feel most comfortable working.
Throughout these years that I have been producing works, I have shared ideas, consultations and teachings with some personalities from our environment. Jorge López Anaya was my first support: he saw that I had something to communicate; Libero Badii, with his artist’s books and his permanent exchange with my work; Roberto Aizenberg, my workshop neighbor who dazzled me with his conversation as sharp as his vision of art; Alejandro Puente and our discussions about engraving versus photography… With León Ferrari we organized some exhibitions, among them The Graphic Object; and with Juan Carlos Romero we shared friendship and educational projects. In these years, all of them were part of my construction process as an artist.
The international came in different ways to my work; sometimes with presentations at international biennials, such as in Cuenca, Ljubljana, Havana, Curitiba or Puerto Rico. Several individual exhibitions toured, such as Incisions & Fragments, which for two years traveled extensively through the main exhibition centers in Poland, including the Manggha Contemporary Art Center, whose building donated by Japan to the city of Krakow simulates the movement of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by my favorite Hokusai. Xogo de mans, a video installation exhibited at the Fundación Luis Seoane de Galicia; The Nomadic Work of Matilde Marín, at the School of Arts & Performing Arts at the State University of New York and, more recently, as part of the exhibition Realidad y Utopía, Argentina’s Artistic Road to the Present at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and, of course, projects in Latin America, such as When I Sight the Blue Smoke of Ithaca at the Experimental Center of the Teatro Colón; Indeterminate landscapes, in the Del Infinito Gallery; Displacements in the Alon Foundation of Buenos Aires; The shudder of poetry at the Casa Castelvi, in Asunción, Paraguay, and Visual Routes, at the Museu de Arte Contemporánea de São Paulo, Brazil.
I teach Visual Arts as a cultural mediator; I was not interested in teaching formally in institutions, but through short seminars that I was constantly dictating in art universities in my country, as well as in Santiago de Chile, Porto Alegre (Brazil) and Barcelona (Spain). In the past, I created work projects, such as ‘Contemporary Graphics’, a platform aimed at updating contemporary themes and techniques for art professors and artists. Teaching is a space where I have always felt useful and comfortable.
Currently, photography has strongly rooted in my production, but once again turning to paper media. With this technique, I have created a series of works, such as ‘The Imaginary Journey of Kazimir Malevich’, ‘The Persistence of Art’ and ‘When I Sight the Blue Smoke of Ithaca’.
Several years ago, Fabian Lebenglick, speaking of my work, said something that I valued a lot: ‘When you included photography in your production, the world entered into your work differently’, and now I can recognize it. Photography facilitated the social documentation and the possibility of registering nature and editing it with intense tones that were previously part of my engraving works and now became part of my photographic approach.
In this 2017, I have to thank many people whom I met throughout this journey of work and production: critics, historians, curators, collectors, cultural managers and friends. Someone in our environment talks about ‘the art tribe’, and that’s the way it is; we are a spontaneous association that share this belief, but luckily do not obey any boss.
Autobiographical text included in the catalog of the exhibition “Archaeologist of herself”, OSDE Foundation Art Space, Buenos Aires 2017.