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  • ICAA Record ID
    Tucumán Arde
    [Rosario, Argentina] : [S. n.], [Octubre de 1968]
    Other – Other
    "Tucumán Arde," 1968. Sticker. Personal archive of Graciela Carnevale, Rosario.

Adhesive stickers like this one were pasted on public spaces, walls, doors, public restrooms, and mass transportation in Rosario, Buenos Aires, and Santa Fe. Flyers with the same design as the stickers were given out on the streets at the exits of cultural events, movie theaters, in the university campuses, and so forth. Juan Pablo Renzi reminisces about the design of the sticker in the interview with Guillermo Fantoni in Arte, vanguardia y política en los ’60 [(Buenos Aires: El cielo por asalto, 1998), 62]: “Posters with flame-like letters, made ad hoc, thinking that this could be a [good enough] presentation of the theme; and it was communicative, even though we thought of them as aesthetically gross.”


Tucumán Arde  [Tucumán Is Burning] is the most famous collective production of emerging vanguard art in Argentina, both in Buenos Aires and Rosario, and it took place at the turning point of the artists’ political and artistic radicalization in 1968. Its design implied a complex process of research and counter-information as well as a mass-media campaign. Given the fact that they were an integral part of the investigation, many artists (mostly from Rosario) traveled to Tucumán for a second time in October 1968. It was in that province that, with the support of trade-union members, journalists, and other collaborators, the artists developed an underground registry of work pertaining to the social situation of sugar mills (closed by then), schools, hospitals, and so forth, seeking information that would evidence the official campaign’s deception respecting the so-called Operativo Tucumán. A variety of media was used, including recordings, photographs, and films.

Among the actions intended to reach out to the public for Tucumán Arde is its media campaign, which was developed simultaneously with the second trip to Tucumán and in the days prior to the exhibitions. The group that stayed in Rosario was in charge, and the groups in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe played a secondary role. The graphic materials (stickers, posters) used by the Rosario group were sent to the other two cities, where they were widespread by the artists. However, in the campaign in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe did not reach the extent of coverage seen in Rosario. 

The objective of the campaign was to use the phrase “Tucumán Arde” to generate a mass expectation and to act as an invitation to the exhibitions using nonconventional channels of diffusion within the artistic circuit. Its design (in three phases), as well as its production, combines practices and techniques taken from political actions, public-relations practices, and artistic experimental developments, along with the basic criteria of a mass-media advertising practice.  

The second phase of the campaign began with the appearance of paintings on Rosario’s walls, featuring the words: “Tucumán Arde.” This variation was also used inside and at the entrances to movie theaters, with slides shown during the screening of the coming attractions. Thousands of adhesive stickers designed by Juan Pablo Renzi and sporting the same slogan in slightly psychedelic black letters, were printed.

Ana Longoni
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of María Teresa Gramuglio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Archivo de Graciela Carnevale, Rosario, Argentina.