Falta compartida
Marcelo Brodsky, Voluspa Jarpa, Oscar Muñoz, Cristina Piffer, Santiago Porter, Res, Silvia Rivas, Celeste Rojas Mugica, Graciela Sacco, Juan Travnik, Ezequiel Verona
24.07.19 | 22.09.19

Six days after the 25th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, Falta compartida opened at ROLF Art. The show, according to the text that accompanies it, formulates “an aesthetic and poetic reflection on memory.” The works featured “break the limits between installation, photography, monument, and memorial, by exploring the margins of representation.”

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Ezequiel Verona, Albergue, 2018, object, photographic transfer on concrete, dimensions variable. Ph: Courtesy of Rolf

From different perspectives, three of the works document the bombing of the Jewish mutual society. With remains and fragments, they reconstruct an absence, “interpreting its vestiges beyond the referential, the narrative, or the testimonial to denote emotional, collective, and universal experiences: the common sense of loss that resonates throughout history.” Just two meters from the gallery’s entrance, a rock-like object rests on the floor. In 2001, Marcelo Brodsky (Buenos Aires, 1954) identified on the banks of the Río de la Plata three blocks of brick, cement, and marble that formed part of AMIA’s façade. He photographed them in that place where the water and sun softened their edges. The exhibition features one of those pieces itself—which now belongs to AMIA—as well as photographs of the two others. For his series “La ausencia,” Santiago Porter (Buenos Aires, 1971) took portraits of twenty relatives of victims of the attack against a white infinity wall. Next to them, a photograph in similar style shows an object with each of the victims at the moment of the explosion and a phrase that describes his or her relationship to that object. In the photographic essay he produced along with Leo Vaca for Infojus Noticias, Res (Córdoba, 1957) documented objects found amidst the rubble, evidence and files for the trial exactly where they were found in 2014, twenty years after the event. One photograph shows a typewriter with Hebrew letters, its keys twisted; another shows a hand holding a photograph of a model of the building before its construction.

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Santiago Porter, La Ausencia, 2001/2, polyptych, 60 photographs, inkjet print on cotton paper, 38 x 31 cm each. Ph: Courtesy of Rolf

The other works in Falta compartida act “like catalysts to activate memory […] proposing other ways to envision the fabric of the common on the basis of the grammar of the indexical and denotation.” The project explores the representation of absence from different stances: destruction, vestige, trace, personal account, and document that do not make direct reference to AMIA.

On the surface of a cement and metal piece of rubble placed on a shelf, Ezequiel Verona (Buenos Aires, 1979) printed photographs of the demolition of Albergue Warnes, which took place on March 16, 1991. Cristina Piffer (Buenos Aires, 1953) exhibited a white piece reminiscent of a giant bar of soap—cow fat and paraffin—resting on a stainless steel slat that reads: “NOT EVEN THE REMAINS OF THE DEAD.” The project by Celeste Rojas Mugica (Santiago, Chile, 1987) consists of two slide projectors showing archival images of her father taken in Chile during the military dictatorship. When she projects them, Rojas Mugica includes the original frames with their inscriptions and marking. Voluspa Jarpa (Rancagua, 1971) covered one of the gallery’s walls with pieces of paper that, despite differences in color and weight, make reference, by means of their style, typeface, and seals, to judicial documents. From up close, we see that the letters and signs do not form real words and that some of the pages are printed without ink. The addition of Hebrew letters evokes the documents related to the AMIA case that have been lost or are unavailable. A work by Graciela Sacco (Rosario, 1956-2017) in the middle of the gallery consists of a group of translucent canvases on which she printed profile images of people standing. The works, which hang vertically one behind the other, form part of her “Ensayo sobre la espera” (Essay on Waiting). Also by Sacco is a hot-water bottle with intertwined fingers printed on it, a work from her series “Las cosas que se llevaron” (The Things They Took with Them). The face of Oscar Muñoz (Popayán, 1951) is reflected in a small lagoon in the palm of his hand; the water trickles down as the image vanishes. Black-and-white photographs by Juan Travnik (Buenos Aires, 1950) incite a sense of absence and silence by showing desolate landscapes in which a silhouette, a pair of cement legs, the remains of an abandoned building in construction, or the photographer’s shadow are seen. Meanwhile, the sound of running water is heard thanks to Transcurso y urgencia (Course and Urgency), from the series “Notas sobre el tiempo” (Notes on Time). In this video installation by Silvia Rivas (Buenos Aires, 1957), the feet of a character climbing a staircase are superimposed on the reddened surface of a body of water in an apparent, and endless, attempt to cross a vertical river.

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Falta compartida, 2019, view of exhibition at Rolf. Works by Silvia Rivas, Graciela Sacco, and Celeste Rojas Mugica (front); Marcelo Brodsky, Voluspa Jarpa, and Res (back). Ph: Courtesy of Rolf

Content produced by arteBA. Annual Report on contemporary Argentine art