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. In order to prevent the obtained information from falling into the hands of law enforcement agents, the artists sent the results to the city of Rosario on a daily basis, where a group of collaborators would process them.
This document is a detailed report of the four phases that make up Tucumán Arde (the last of which never came to completion because of the closure of the exhibition in Buenos Aires) and of the conclusions they reached regarding the crisis in Tucumán after their investigation. It was prepared for press release.
The artists signed Tucumán Arde documents using various names. Since 1966, the Rosario group had maintained the denomination “Grupo de Arte de Vanguardia de Rosario”; after they merged with the artists from Buenos Aires, who did not have a collective name, they used various names, including Grupo de Artistas de Vanguardia, Grupo de Artistas Argentinos de Vanguardia, Grupo de Plásticos Argentinos de Vanguardia, Comisión de Artistas de la CGT de los Argentinos, and even Comité Coordinador para la Imaginación Revolucionaria. Some documents are signed with one of these generic names; others were not signed at all; and some of them contain a large list of first names.