Three decades of Argentine art on show

By Silvia Rottenberg For The Herald Monday, February 8, 2016
Borges Cultural Centre hosts massive exhibition offering tour de force for the senses
The Diagonal Sur — Arte Argentino Hoy exhibition opened at the Centro Cultural Borges on Friday. For little over a month, 400 art works of Esteban Tedesco’s private collection provide an insight into three decades of Argentine contemporary art.
Some important artists, such as Guillermo Kuitca or Eduardo Stupia, are not included, confirms the curator, Philippe Cyroulnik, especially invited to create the show, but “that’s what happens when you work with an existing collection.” Nevertheless, the show rightfully fills the 3000 square metres of the entire Centro Cultural Borges and gives a good overview of what has been happening in the last 30 years in Argentine art, presented in an associative manner by the French curator.

El principio de la belleza está en el fin de la misma, installation by Chaile Gabriel.

“Philippe Cyroulnik,” explains Lia Cristal, producer and associated with the CC Borges, “is an expert in Argentine art. He has shown many of the artists featured in this show in France and has this certain look from the outside, which provides a different point of view. We are very happy to have him here. It’s a large production – with support from the Tres Pinos foundation, in the process of setting up the new MArCO museum in La Boca, and the Del Infinito Art Gallery. We have been working on this for more than seven years…”
Cyroulnik shares that, when he selected the works from Tedesco’s collection for this exhibition, he was looking to create new relationships: “It’s such a large collection. It includes artists from different generations, different aesthetics and different ways of thinking. I wanted to show analogies between works as well as their juxtapositions, while reflecting on the width of the Esteban’s collection. I have taken into account such parameters as generation, aesthetics and thought while installing the exhibit. The association you notice is indeed present — not just formally, but also sensitively.”
The viewer is beautifully, almost manipulatively, led by the senses, invited to make associations and connect works by artists who may not have been shown next to one another previously. In one of the exhibition rooms, one wall starts with a work by Mariela Scafati; five differently-sized framed canvases connected to one another, each in different shades of pink. Next, an abstract work by Fabian Burgos, hazy red and white stripes. The haze produces a pink colour.
This is followed by two works by Feliciano Centurion; red and white chequered plaids with crocheted flowers on top. The abstraction continues with large works by Pablo Siquier and slowly moves from straight lines to rounder shapes until, at the end of the wall, we find an organic net of black MDF lines — a work by Beto de Volder. With the exception of Max Gomez’s “head,” the way this wall is curated makes perfect sense. It is a pleasure for the eye, which is being led through different forms of abstraction, all linked through colour and shape, while also strong and unique in their own right.
On the opposite wall, the abstraction is juxtaposed by works relying on nature. It starts with a work by Ernesto Ballesteros, 50 lines 2207 intersections, a delicate mapping of a delta. This is followed by three triptychs by Rosana Schoijett, who has layered images of leaves on top of one another. Then a drawing of insects by Matias Duville, followed by a lightbox by Andres Paredes who skilfully places paper cutouts behind one another, creating depth for the imaginary insects housed in this fairytale box. Next to it, a fantasy-like monster, seemingly made of plants, made by Fernando Brizuela.
Around the corner, works by Diego Bianchi, who, though using his material in an organic manner, manages to evade recognizable nature. This is enforced by two excellent works by Marina de Caro, where one can distinguish the human shapes in the frenetic compositions.
There is a large collection of photography, a space half filled with works by Jorge Macchi, offering a nice addition to his solo show opening soon at MALBA, and another exhibition space centred more around “the object,” to just name some more of what there is to see.
“Each visitor can choose their own path. There are many narratives to be found in this exhibition. And every viewer can create a path for themselves,” says Cyroulnik. It is a broad collection.
How does the collector choose? “Well,” says Esteban Tedesco, who does not like to talk about art too much because it is not his specialty — he is a plastic surgeon — “I have started collecting at a young age. I began when I was 18. So what you see here is the result of over 42 years of collecting. I do not have a curator who advises me. I choose everything myself. I go to a lot of art fairs and have had great advice over the years from gallerists such as Orly Benzacar and Marina Pellegrini.”
“Also, in my free time, I spend time with some of the artists. I follow their work and accompany them in their careers — which I believe to be important,” Tedesco says. Over time, Tedesco has collected so many works, that only now, at the Centro Cultural Borges, he sees some of the art exhibited for the first time. “I have to keep them in storage, as I don’t have enough space in my house. I can only hang some 300 works in my house, which, yes, I do try to change every six months.”
The Herald asks him if he ever thinks of opening a museum. He laughs. “No, I am not that rich. I can’t even imagine having to buy or built a place and have people on a payroll. No… I am a surgeon and happy to do what I know best and I just keep on enjoying collecting.” He adds that he usually makes such long days, that if it weren’t for the summer holidays, with most of his clientele out skiing, he probably wouldn’t even have the time to attend the preview of the show of his own collection. “And now,” the collector urges, “you have to talk to someone who really knows about art.”
Viewing the works of Diagonal Sur — Arte Argentino Hoy nevertheless proves that this collector knows very well what he is doing — following his senses. Rather like we are invited to see this show.
when and where
Diagonal Sur — Arte Argentino hoy is on view until March 27 at the Centro Cultural Borges (Viamonte 525). Monday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm and Sunday from 12pm to 9pm. Admission fee: 40 pesos, students and seniors – 30 pesos, free admission for children under 12. More information online at: http://www.ccborges.org.ar.