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Synopsis

The text narrates, as it explains, how the Galería del Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas was born; the main traits of the works and artists that it housed; the support and enthusiasm received from the first moments by already acclaimed artists such as Roberto Jacoby, Pablo Suárez, Margarita Paksa, Juan José Cambre, and Alejandro Kuropatwa; besides Fabián Lebenglik, with his reviews in the Página/12 daily; the first exhibitions that were organized; the repercussions of the show El Rojas presenta: Algunos Artistas [The Rojas Presents: Some Artists] (Buenos Aires: Centro Cultural Recoleta, August 26–September 6, 1992) both in the local and international scenes accordingly to “more public and widespread recognition” earned by “El Rojas”; the new exhibition spaces—such as the ICI (Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana), the Centro Cultural de España, or the Galería Ruth Benzacar—that opened up to artists whose work began with “El Rojas.” The problem with the overarching nomenclature used to critically describe the art being presented by “El Rojas,” be it kitsch or light, should be underscored. With respect to the last one, Gumier-Maier proposes to “trade” it for “bright” (“brilliant,” “awake”). Lastly, the author points out that this exhibition catalogue does not try to present “El Rojas'” artists individually or in any exhaustive manner, “or to arrive at stagnant conclusions about the art in this first half of the 1990’s [but to] simply, briefly document the history of El Rojas gallery.”

Annotations

When it comes to the understanding of the 1990s Argentinean art, the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas stands out as one of its cornerstones. Founded in 1984, it is a cultural extension of the Universidad de Buenos Aires in which various activities, such as courses, conferences, and movie cycles, etc. were developed. Some years after inception, the Galería del Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas was created in 1989 in the entrance hall to the campus, directed by artist and art critic Jorge Gumier-Maier. Magdalena Jitrik joined him shortly thereafter as an assistant.

The reference to poetics of the past, such as Pop art, minimalism, Concrete art (under extremely personal reformulations), besides elements of kitsch, have helped to characterize the resources of expression of such artists. Toward the end of the decade, the artists who made up “el grupo del Rojas” were grouped, in a generic manner, as the representatives of the “1990s Argentinean art.”

The book 5 años en el Rojas [5 years of El Rojas] (Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 1994) can be considered as the second “institutional” presentation of the gallery after El Rojas presenta: Algunos Artistas (Buenos Aires, Centro Cultural Recoleta, August 26–September 6, 1992) even though it was only a publication. Gumier-Maier’s text—functioning as a prologue to the biographies and work reproductions of the artists—carries great interest in the “construction” he produces of the “history” of the gallery.

The artists presented in this publication are: Fabián Burgos, Feliciano Centurión, Beto De Volder, Martín Di Girolamo, Alberto Goldenstein, Sebastián Gordín, Miguel Harte, Graciela Hasper, Agustín Inchausti, Benito Laren, Luis Lindner, Alfredo Londaibere, Nuna Magiante, Enrique Marmora, Ariadna Pastorini, Marcelo Pombo, Elisabeth Sánchez, Cristina Schiavi, Omar Schiliro, and Sergio Vila.

The light art category was elaborated by Jorge López-Anaya (Argentinean historian and art critic) in order to refer to the productions by artists from El Rojas (please see “El absurdo y la ficción en una notable muestra” [The absurd and the fiction in an outstanding exhibition], La Nación, Buenos Aires, August 1, 1992). This term bright, which formed a category proposed by Gumier-Maier in this text as a contrast, generated intense discussions within the Buenos Aires art scene.

Researcher
Natalia Pineau
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of Jorge Gumier Maier, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina.