Argentinian art is gaining international recognition this year, notably featuring at the Venice Biennale, Documenta in Kassel and Pacific Standard Time LA/LA in southern California. On the commercial front, Argentina was the guest country at the Arco fair in Madrid in February, while Art Basel is partnering with Buenos Aires on its new Art Basel Cities initiative.
The organisers of the ArteBA fair, founded 26 years ago, hope to build on this newfound visibility on the international circuit. Fair director Julia Converti says the “pulse of artistic production and the sex appeal of Buenos Aires” is part of the international pull. “Local support is multiplying, and so are new audiences who are interested in contemporary art around the world.”
Fairgoers can expect a range of works by international and Argentinian artists, including paintings by the Argentinian figurative artist Antonio Berni (Galería Sur) and photographs by the Buenos Aires-based artist Tomás Maglione (Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte).
More than half of the galleries at ArteBA are international this year, similar to last year, with 17 countries represented. Newcomers include Steve Turner from Los Angeles, Klemm’s from Berlin, and Galería Cayón from Madrid.
Despite a flourishing art scene, Argentina has a relatively subdued art market thanks to a struggling economy. Figures from last year’s fair are cause for hope, however. The 2016 event drew 100,000 visitors—more than Frieze London or Art Basel in Basel—and 53 works were bought by 23 museums and organisations through the fair’s acquisition programme.
A little Argentinian poetry by Roberto Juarroz
como pájaros repentinamente enloquecidos
por sus propios movimientos,
como objetos que pierden de pronto su equilibrio,
como hombres que tropiezan sin que existan obstáculos,
como muñecos enajenados por su rigidez.
Entonces, desde el suelo,
las proprias palabras construyen una escala,
para ascender de nuevo al discurso del hombre,
a su balbuceo
o a su frase final.
Pero hay algunas que permanecen caídas.
Y a veces uno las encuentra
en un casi larvado mimetismo,
como si supiesen que alguien va a ir a recogerlas
para construir con ellas un nuevo lenguaje,
un lenguaje hecho solamente con palabras caídas.
like birds suddenly driven crazy
by their own movements,
like objects that suddenly lose their balance,
like men who stumble even when there’s no obstacle,
like dolls estranged by their own rigidity.
Then, the words themselves build a stairway
from the ground,
to climb up to human discourse,
to its stutter
or final sentence.
But some words remain forever fallen.
And sometimes we find such words
in an almost larval mimesis,
as if they knew someone were going to come
gather them up and build a new language,
a language made up entirely of fallen words.