ASSAIG S.T. 1909-1919

Gonzalo Elvira

15.11.19 - 17.02.20 / Espacio Base de Datos

Curator: María Alejandra Gatti

Assaig / Essay: Between Barcelona and Buenos Aires

“Whenever we are before the image, we are before time”, this is the first line of Didi Huberman’s famous essay that brings up the question about the meaning imposed by images on the relation between history and time. Images outlast people and, before them, the present reconfigures itself continuously, unfolding meanings that update their own frame. The anachronistic is the intrusion of a time inside another, the chronological and lineal irruption of facts, as a way of establishing non-continuous and heterogeneous paths that enable new readings.

One hundreds years after the Semana Trágica de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires’ Tragic Week), we present in Parque de la Memoria “Assaig S.T. 1909-1919” by Gonzalo Elvira, an Argentine artist based in Barcelona. The exhibition collects a group of works that intertwine, as an anachronistic exercise, the events during the “tragic weeks” that took place in Barcelona (1909) and Buenos Aires (1919), and brings to the present (2019) the possibility of questioning the political representation, social and economic crises experienced over these 100 years of history. 

The events known as Semana Trágica de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Tragic Week) took place between 26th July and 2nd August, 1909. The decree of Antonio Maura’s government, aimed to send reserve troops to the Spanish colonies in Morocco, generated a series of protests against the war and the deployment of reservist soldiers, who mainly belong to the working class. After the protests were intensified, the unions called for a general strike that was followed by riots and a popular insurrection which resulted in fierce repression in the hands of Maura’s government, who declared a state of war and sent the army to the streets, leaving thousands of wounded and murder victims as well as prisoners.

During the week of 7th-14th January 1919, the also called Samana Trágica took place in Buenos Aires. After a long strike claiming for better labor conditions at Talleres Vasena, and after the murder of a worker in hands of strike-breakers groups, thousands of metallurgical workers declared a general strike. During thas week, the police, the army, and ultra-nationalist parapolice groups chased, incarcerated and tortured strikers and protesting residents.

Despite the geographical and temporal distance, both experiences were an organized rejection of a system that has historically imposed unequal conditions, always unfavorable to the working class.

Based on a heap of documentary images, records of crowds on the streets, barricades, confrontations, street and corner postcards of both cities, Gonzalo Elvira intervenes the material sense of the images in an exercise that twists the logic of archives: photography, in this case, turns drawings and paintings into record material, and the oil paintings are displayed in glass cabinets as if they were documents. 

In this operation that articulates the physical and conceptual planes, a series of portraits pierced by hammers and pins restores the ideological sense behind the historical overview. A technique that condenses one of the workers’ bond symbols, the puncture as a metaphor of the shooting and the violence and maybe the crisis of a system that outside its time repeats a pattern: the rejection of the legitimacy of liberal and neoliberal politics settled in each context.

Elvira presents an essay in which the image allows us to reflect about its state of atemporality, about its capacity of establishing meanings outside its time, and mostly about the possibility of universalizing the incompetence of a system that throughout history replicates the same logic.

María Alejandra Gatti

About the Traceability of a Present Past, or How to Weigh History

1. Fiction

Considering a trace that could be merely biographical. The places one inhabits. There where what we call everyday life happens and there where the space of affection manifests. Or both, maybe. A story that moves between two cities in which, as well, the protagonist’s life happens. Buenos Aires and Barcelona.

We can’t omit that we are talking about ourselves, but maybe there is nothing further from our desires than doing so.

2. The trace

Two apparently unrelated stories but full of knots, a net that is woven between characters that are linked to one place and the other. Two events separated in time, in two distant places. Claims and subversion that are intertwined. History doubles, folds and lets us see the interstices, it lets us glimpse and formulates the other lights that appear behind great narratives.

Two spaces of revolt, a 10-year gap and many common knots that tell different stories, but happened.

3. The fold

Detailed images, patiently executed, from photographs of the real. Other realities emerged from the conscientious gesture of the hand, from the grimace of memory, the drive between what is said to have happened, what happened or what could have happened. What if in reality any revolt is woven by the others?

The drawing taken from the photograph, from the document, and faithfully reproduced as a whole, but elaborated through small lines or incisions that remind us the multiple narratives of each of the strokes.

Some time ago Gonzalo Elvira started a series about Semana Trágica de Barcelona (Tragic Week of Barcelona) (1909) and Semana Trágica de Buenos Aires (Tragic Week of Buenos Aires) (1919). A work of rewritings that raises questions around the project of modernity: its places, events, ideas, and main figures. A task that details narratives and uses drawing as a political gesture itself, which becomes a process of erasing the real image to recreate a faithful replica that, by its very essence, alters the image upon which is based. In this work, History is dismembered, as drawing does, in small strokes, and reveals the micro-histories that are linked by configuring other stories. Wouldn’t it be possible to follow the strokes of the song? Perhaps a songbook is suggested here, a collection of gestures that not only aim to reach stories but also to pierce our gaze. Let’s let the fiction, the trace, and the fold act. And let each one write their own possible coda. 

Teresa Grandas

Gonzalo Elvira

Gonzalo Elvira (Patagonia, Argentina, 1971). He studied at the Escuela de Artes Visuales Antonio Berni in Buenos Aires. He regularly works on long-term social-historical research projects and, in the last five years, he has been part of several solo and group exhibitions in Spain, Italy, Argentina, Andorra, Colombia and Brazil, where he exhibited his projects at different institutional and private spaces, museums, galleries, fairs and research centers.

Among his individual exhibitions we can highlight “Bauhaus 1919, modelo para armar” (2019) in Galería Siboney in Santander; “12 canciones concretas”, a project in collaboration with the musician Grösso at Rodriguez Gallery in Poznan, Poland (2018) and the Centro de Arte de Alcobendas, Madrid (2017). That same year he presented the project 155. “La balada de Simón” at La Virreina, Barcelona and “Lo Imborrable”, an intervention on the Deusto bridge in Bilbao. 

Javier Diaz Guardiola, Anna María Guasch, Bea Espejo, Luis Francisco Pérez, Rosa Gutierrez Herranz, Blanca de la Torre, Óscar Alonso Molina, Osvaldo Bayer, Jaume Vidal y Jose Luis Corazón, among others, have written about his work.

Since 2007, he has been teaching at Obradoor (Taller-Laboratorio de Arte). In 2013 he founded GR, together with Rafa Castañer, an educational art project for children.

He lives and works in Barcelona since 2000.



15.11.19 - 17.02.20 / Sala PAyS

Curator: Florencia Battiti

A cartography of dreaming in Latin America

How much politics can you fit in a dream? Or, in other words, how does the union between desire and politics come about? 

Even if at first sight the question dispels a certain estrangement, its reverberations cross Martín Weber’s photographic essay and ostensibly reveal that the personal is always political and that the presence –or the absence– of public policies opens –or closes- people’s horizons of possibility, their capacity to dream, to project, to plan their own but also shared future.

One of the many achievements of Weber’s work is to have implemented a simple slogan for a complex and long-term project: to travel more than 53 cities and towns around Latin America between 1992 and 2013 asking different people or groups of people to write a dream or wish on a small blackboard and let themselves be photographed. In this way, with a plate camera on his shoulder, Martín went through Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, and Colombia making contact with indigenous communities of northeastern Brazil, people from Selva Negra in Nicaragua and Selva Lacandona in Chiapas, university professors from Cusco, middle class families in Buenos Aires, young students from northern Corrientes and children from the Tijuana border, among many others.

“I carried the blackboard, talked to people, and together we planned the staging. One of the purposes of the blackboard is to point out that photography is a construction, and not reality”, says Weber. The blackboard, with its inescapable school connotation, works like the thread that weaves the narrative of this photographic essay in which the contrasts and contradictions of a Latin America full of pending issues strongly echo. 

The idea of the blackboard first came to Martín from some readings by Bertolt Brecht, especially of his “estrangement effect”, which advocated a type of theatre that produced certain emotional distance in the spectator so that he could critically reflect on the play. However, the blackboard with the handwritten texts that summarize in a small space yearnings and aspirations of all kinds, also introduces into the image a different time: a projective time, a sort of “forward movement” that tensions and, in some way contradicts, the “this has been” inherent in photography. If Roland Barthes said that there was no future in photography, these small blackboards become verbal, expressive and prospective, swirling the congenital past of photography, the inseparable present of the photographic instant and the dormant future of desire.

The “Mapa de sueños latinoamericanos” (Map of Latin-American dreams) collects a total of 110 black and white photographs of carefully composed scenes in which, besides the articulation of the political and the personal, there are quotes and tributes to the history of art, to masters of photography such as the Peruvian Martín Chambi but also formal and compositional references to contemporary colleagues such as RES, Eduardo Gil or Alessandra Sanguinetti.

With a manifest narrative intention, the choice of black and white, the search for sympathy on the spectator and the emphasis on the human condition are clear references to Humanist Photography, the poetic branch of photojournalism practiced by legends such as André Kertész, Cartier Bresson o Brassai. But as Weber inserts his work in this school of thought, he also questions it, it is not about capturing “the crucial instant” but about building conscientious stagings, discussing, consulting and sharing with the other.

Therefore, the gaze of anyone who goes over this cartography of dreaming in Latin America will probably first go to the blackboard, to read the dream, but once the immediate urge to read the text inserted in the image has been fulfilled, the gaze will slowly begin to perceive everything else the images exhale. Each context, whether urban or rural, interior or exterior, modest or accommodated, becomes a universe of signs to be decoded, an immense hiatus of meaning to be completed that rebounds, sometimes in harmony and sometimes not, with the text written on the blackboard.

When one thoroughly and affectionately observes Weber’s photographs, paying attention to its visual texture and deep conceptual strength, one can only verify that the much-mentioned discourse of meritocracy –a society in which success or failure belongs to those who “deserve” them- becomes a perverse argument –even a slightly idiotic- that does not acknowledge that unequal conditions imply, in most cases, unequal opportunities. In this sense, these images punch back another discourse, one in which the economic and social scenarios structure the capacity, not of materializing a dream, but even to enunciate it

On the occasion of the presentation od “Mapa de sueños latinoamericanos” at Parque de la Memoria, Weber decided to open some time capsules encrypted in his photographs. For this purpose, the exhibition includes a documentary video and oral testimonies in which Martín re-establishes contact with several people that he photographed more than twenty years ago. Undoubtedly, both he and those he portrayed have changed, as his dreams and longings, which should no longer be the same. Or maybe, who knows, they still are…

Florencia Battiti

Martín Weber

Martin Weber (Santiago de Chile, 1968) is a visual artist that studied at Universidad de Buenos Aires and, between 1992 and 1993, completed his studies at the International Center of Photography in New York. He was an artist-in-residence at IASPIS (Stockholm, 1998), Light Work (Syracuse, 2002), CPW (Woodstock, 2004), MAC and D21 (Santiago de Chile, 2014). Among the numerous scholarships he has received, those awarded by the Guggenheim Foundation (1998) and Prince Claus (2004) stand out. He also obtained national and international prizes, the Klemm Prize (1999), Hasselblad Prize (1999 and again in 2001), No Strings Foundation (2005), Silver Eye Award (2008), Gran Premio Instalaciones y Medios Alternativos del Salón Nacional (2016) and Magnum Foundation (2018) are the most noteworthy. This year, the Gruppo Friulano per la Nuova Fotografía (CRAF) awarded him the International Award in Photography. In 2011, Ediciones Larivière has published Ecos del interior and, in 2018, Mapa de sueños latinoamericanos. He is currently making his first opera-prima “Map of Latin American Dreams” with the support of Eficine (Mexico), Sørfond (Norway), Mecenazgo de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, INCAA and Doc Buenos Aires. On this occasion, for the first time, “Mapa de sueños latinoamericanos”, his most important essay, is exhibited entirely at Parque de la Memoria.


Fotógrafo argentino realiza una cartografía de sueños latinoamericanos
by Lucila Sigal (edited by Juana Casas)
Reuters, 05/12/19
Infobae, 05/12/19

Ensayo fotográfico. Retratos íntimos que se vuelven políticos
by Laura Casanovas
Revista Ñ, 28/12/19

El sueño latinoamericano, una construcción colectiva y diversa, en el Parque de la Memoria
by Telam, 15/11/19

Martín Weber. Una cartografía del soñar en América Latina
by Artishock, 11/11/19



04.08.15 - 21.11.15 / Sala PAyS

Curator: Florencia Battiti

El Parque de la Memoria tiene el agrado de presentar Operación Fracaso y el Sonido Recobrado, primera experiencia expositiva de Albertina Carri, una de las figuras más emblemáticas del cine argentino de los últimos tiempos.

“¿Se puede vivir sin recordar?”; se pregunta la artista. Y ella misma se responde, “los ríos de la memoria no siempre son caudalosos,  pero aunque corra una pequeña línea de agua por su lecho, ella es tan obstinada, que modificará la tierra por la que pasa, aunque tan solo sea por el paso del tiempo mismo. Quiero ser ese lecho, quiero ser esa tierra, quiero contarle al mundo sobre ese poder que tiene el hecho de estar acá y seguir recordando”.

Uno de los temas centrales de esta muestra, sostiene Jorge La Ferla en el prólogo del catálogo que acompaña la exposición, se concentra en los vestigios de información sobre el pasado. Los datos, documentos y registros que conforman la recuperación de la memoria a partir de archivos encontrados –publicaciones, correspondencia epistolar, guiones y fragmentos fílmicos– son el sustento de una política de archivos. La propuesta de Carri  trasciende lo biográfico y se inscribe como un autorretrato que, a su vez, remite a la lectura de una historia personal, familiar y de un país.

La muestra en su conjunto requiere un tiempo propio de movimiento del espectador, quien va incorporando un relato sensorial fragmentado, conformado por luz, imágenes y sonidos, que pone en escena una memoria personal, familiar y política concentrada en la práctica de la instalación. Una muestra que responde a la postura conceptual y política del Parque de la Memoria y que propone una experiencia artística compleja, que desafía una percepción que requiere compromiso. 

El papel es tan blanco, escribir es tan fácil…
En cuanto a los recuerdos, uno no se puede resistir a esos ojos y retornan, retornan (…).
Todo está guardado en lo profundo detrás de los párpados. Seguimos mirando toda la vida… hasta que se llena y todo empieza a bullir y a eructar, los ríos de la memoria.

                                                                                                                                          Jonas Mekas


Los restos de mis padres nunca fueron hallados, tampoco ha sucedido el juicio por su secuestro y posterior desaparición forzada, todavía no se han demostrado sus homicidios. Soy mayor que ellos en el momento de su muerte. Las cosas que he escuchado sobre ellos, las que he leído, ahora significan otra cosa, son anécdotas sobre unos jóvenes eternos. Sus textos escritos son los pensamientos de dos brillantes jóvenes que me acompañarán de por vida, como hacemos los padres y las madres con nuestros hijos. Mi padre y mi madre serán siempre lozanos, rebeldes de cabellos sueltos y ropa desaliñada, hermosos, rebosantes de esa belleza que da la juventud, y también la muerte. Ana María y Roberto, mis padres muertos, mis padres asesinados, mis padres desaparecidos, vivirán en mí por siempre. Y su enorme ausencia también habitará mi cuerpo, mi mirada del mundo, mi felicidad y mi desdicha, por el resto de mi vida.

Convivo con sus fantasmas desde muy pequeña, exactamente desde los cuatro años de edad. Creí durante casi treinta y cinco que las personas esa edad ya éramos grandes; identidades estructuradas listas para enfrentar el mundo. Hasta que fui madre y vi a mi pequeño hijo ser lo que hemos sido todos a los cuatro años. Pequeños sujetos en formación, aún balbucentes, totalmente vulnerables y extremadamente necesitados de confianza y cariño. Después de descubrir esto me hice más vieja que mi madre y que mi padre, y los recuerdos, todo eso que está guardado detrás de los párpados como dice Mekas, aparecieron, afloraron de muy distintas formas.

El objetivo de estas obras audiovisuales es plasmar ese recorrido incansable de la memoria: esa espeluznante capacidad que tenemos las personas de crecer y ser otras, cada vez. Caminar por los abismos de los recuerdos y también bailar con ellos en una danza insólita y desprejuiciada. Dejarse llevar por su influencia y apagarlos cada tanto, cuando sea necesario. ¿Se puede sofocar el recuerdo? ¿Se puede vivir sin recordar? Quizás se puedan extinguir las imágenes, borrar los contornos de las cosas, pero los sonidos que quedaron en lo profundo, detrás de los párpados, son imposibles de acallar. Los ríos de la memoria no siempre son caudalosos, pero aunque corra una pequeña línea de agua por su lecho, ella es tan obstinada que modificará la tierra en su avance convencido. El paso del tiempo surcará el cauce.

Ante los recuerdos me dispongo como ese lecho como esa tierra y los hago pueblo, brindándolos en relato. Volviéndolos experiencia de todos y no circunstancias personales.

Quiero ser ese lecho, quiero ser esa tierra, quiero contarle al mundo sobre ese poder que tiene el hecho de estar acá y seguir recordando.

Albertina Carri

Punto Impropio

Durante el año que mis padres estuvieron secuestrados, mi madre escribía cartas a mis hermanas y a mí dándonos consejos de todo tipo. A mis tías pidiéndoles que se hagan cargo de nosotras, a mis abuelos solicitándoles ayuda para que nos críen. Escribía cartas con formato de legado, escribía cartas en lenguaje cotidiano. Escribía para acortar una distancia que ella sabía, sería irreparable. Mamá era profesora de literatura y en esas cartas una de sus preocupaciones era cómo nos formaríamos en esa materia cuando ella no estuviera: en cada una de esas cartas hay un libro a leer. Esas cartas son el libro que Ana María Caruso no pudo escribir. Porque fue madre muy joven, porque era la mujer de un prometedor intelectual, porque la asesinaron con apenas 36 años. Punto impropio recorre la no-obra de mi madre y el dominio que el tratado que Ana María escribió en formato epistolar –ese no-libro– tiene sobre mi voz.

Albertina Carri