Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Contemporary Uruguayan Artists at the IDB

The exhibit Contemporary Uruguayan Artists will open March 5 in the Cultural Center Gallery of the Inter-American Development Bank, in Washington, DC, in conjunction with the 53rd Annual Meeting of the IDB’s Board of Governors in Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo.

The 17 works include painting, print, sculpture, mixed media, and photography by 13 contemporary artists at a critical point in Uruguay’s history. While each of the works stands out as an individual artistic expression, as a group they reflect a common history and tradition and provide a window on current trends that are transforming the country’s culture and environment. They challenge the viewer to consider certain overarching questions: What is the perspective of each artist and of the group as a whole? What is the cultural and physical landscape that influences their mode of expression?

The exhibit is part of a project called About Change: Art from Latin America and the Caribbean organized by the World Bank Art Program in cooperation with the IDB’s Cultural Center and the Organization of American States’ AMA | Art Museum of the Americas. The project consists of a series of exhibitions being presented in various venues in Washington during 2011–12.

“The IDB is proud to host this exhibition honoring Uruguay and its capital city, Montevideo,” says Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno.

Iv├ín Duque, Chief of the IDB’s Cultural, Solidarity and Creativity Affairs Division, highlights the exhibit’s role in celebrating the Cultural Center’s two decades of activities. “During these 20 years, the center has gained international recognition for bringing the artistic and intellectual heritage of Latin America and the Caribbean to a broad audience,” he says. “The Cultural Center will continue to build on this foundation, which is based in a conviction of the enormous value of the region’s cultural treasures as part of the world’s cultural legacy.”

Marina Galvani, Curator of the World Bank Art Program, describes how the works speak to contemporary issues. “Along with the rest of Latin America,” she says, “Uruguay has reason to celebrate its growing role in the global economy, which even includes signs of reverse migration.”

“But at the same time, artists are moral commentators and often harsh critics,” she continues. “As such, the works clearly express the social and moral collapse of the middle and upper-middle classes, employing in some cases irony, in others, a sympathetic touch. They also reflect delicately—even poetically—on many global subjects, such as the environment, consumerism, and urban decay. ”

Dr. Christina Rossi, art historian from the University of Buenos Aires, was invited by the IDB Cultural Center to write the essay for the exhibit catalogue, which is entitled, “Re-situations.” ”These works grapple with the construction of memory—personal, national, regional, global—as a critical act expressed from the perspective of Uruguay,” she says. “There is no doubt that the realities of Latin America are best interpreted in a global context, and that today’s communication tools enable us to reach well beyond our national borders.”

Artists whose works are represented in the exhibit are Santiago Aldabalde, Ana Campanella, Muriel Cardoso, a group comprised of Gerardo Carella, Federico Meneses, and Ernesto Rizzo, Jacqueline Lacasa, Babriel Lema, Daniel Machado, Cecilia Mattos, Diego Velazco, Santiago Velazco, and Diego Villalba.

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