Nora Fisch Gallery introduces in Europe the work of Claudia del Río, an “artists' artist”, whose contribution to the Argentine art scene from the end of the dictatorship in 1983 until the present has been vital, and who in 2021 is scheduled to exhibit at Buenos Aires’ two main contemporary art museums, MALBA and Museum of Modern Art. We present artworks from the last twenty years selected from the universe of images and processes that inhabit her production.
Born in 1957 in Rosario, Argentina, she is a visual artist, poet, and educator. Her work has gained international recognition thanks to her participation in Biennials in Havana, Medellín, and Salto, as well as the Mercosur Biennial.
While del Río’s artistic project is broad and multifaceted, encompassing a number of media and techniques, her underlying interest is constant: the ways art and its practice are tied to public happiness. Trained as a painter, her interest in communication, contact, and networks of sociability led her to participate in the performance and mail art scenes of the eighties. In the nineties, she produced a vast body of work informed by tensions between the local and the global and questions of how national and gender identities are constituted and transformed. At once political and humorous, her works in collage, drawing, embroidery, and photomontage address the effects of public imaginaries (consumerism, schooling, newspapers) on collective life.
Like an underground storm, drawing brews in all of Claudia del Río’s art. It is not only the technique that—as stroke, stitch, or calligraphy—materially informs her production, but also the crux of the artist’s conversations and pedagogical, relational, and aesthetic hypotheses. Drawing is the unusual vehicle for her “mini theories.” It induces a state of absolute openness that brings reflection on learning and unlearning, on representation and imagination, on present and future. As del Río herself puts it, drawing is capable of a “frontier surrealism.” Against the grain of notions of style, control, and mimesis, drawing has a critical power that interrogates habitual, traditional ways of thinking.
With the collage as a tool, del Río delves deeper into those techniques by layering cutouts of magazine ads and combining them with bits of aluminum coke-can typeface, pencil and pen drawings, and liquid paper erasures.
Since 2002 del Río’s project expanded to encompass relational devices, her engagement with other artists, institutions, and the general public has blossomed. She co-founded the Club del Dibujo (Drawing Club), an ongoing venue for reflection and action. Since 2006, she has coordinated the Pieza Pizarrón (Blackboard Piece) project, a traveling device for drawing, theater, and education. Also in 2006, she and fellow artist Carlos Herrera formed the duet Trulalala out of their shared attraction to the formal, material, and social aspects of traditional craft production (clay and pottery workshops, cut glass, bronze casting). From 2001 to 2015, she was a guest artist at the critique program organized by the Fundación Antorchas, the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, and the Centro Cultural Haroldo Conti. She has published a number of literary works: Litoral y Coca Cola (Ivan Rosado press, 2012), Pieza Pizarrón (Club del Dibujo press, 2013), and Ikebana política (first by Ivan Rosado press in 2016 and, in 2019, by Peter Lang press in the United Kingdom).
She has been invited to artists’ residencies such as Apotheke, Udesc, Florianópolis (Brazil); Casa B, Museu Bispo do Rosário, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); Espacio Recombinante y Dobradiça, Santa María (Brazil); Taller 7 and Museo de Antioquia, Medellín (Colombia); Kiosko, Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia); Fundación Valparaíso, Mojácar (Spain); RIAA, Ostende (Argentina); and Arteleku, San Sebastián (Spain). In 2017-2018, she and Enrique Lozano—author of Las Esferas, a theater piece for Piece Pizarrón—took part in the Cali Theater Festival. In 2018, she presented Quién quieres que te eduque (Who Wants To Be Schooled?), by Pieza Pizarrón, at Museo Krekovic in Palma de Mallorca (Spain). Her Pieza Pizarrón was presented in CCK, Buenos Aires in 2019.
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