It was initially planned to inaugurate Creating Worlds at the end of March. It was designed and curated in order to bring forward the women artists whose extraordinary works have been presented in Fundación Proa over the years, thus contributing to the history of art in our country.

The task of revising the artists and works files led us to select a group of fifty artists encompassing different generations and different artistic languages ​​—photography, video, installations, design, performance. Some of them are present through special projects.

On March 20th we closed our exhibition galleries and began working remotely. In these months we had time to delve deeply into each of the artists. Numerous educational classes were held working on the four thematic axes of Creating Worlds: materiality, language, body and public and private space. An audience of almost eight thousand listeners accompanied us and formed a new audience, which opened up a new field of experimentation: remote education.

Sanitary protocols were written and with these we redesigned the exhibition spaces, and the distance between works, in order to allow social distancing. The new design makes the contemplative experience richer.

Protocols do not allow us to distribute printed materials. This is the reason why theoretical contents are digitally accessible directly on our web, and through each work’s QR code.

Let us go through this new stage to appreciate the work of artists capable of Creating New Worlds.






Gallery 1. Materialities

The first piece in Crear Mundos is Globe, by Mona Hatum, and features a steel-made world sphere. The bareness, the structure of the bars, the desolation, are all reminiscent of the multiple meanings used to fathom the world we inhabit. The silence and the solitude displayed by the piece are the thread holding the rest of the exhibited pieces together. That silence, that solitude, are the building blocks of the materiality of time, of the craftwork, of the ornamentation.

Zuccheri’s paper dress was conceived for a woman in an opera piece. As a costume designer, the artist exposes the constructive plane, the mould and its result in the paper-made sketch. A world of fiction where every human can play the part of another.

From a different vantage point, Delia Cancela displays an apron featuring the portraits of relevant women in the history of art who accompany her to this day. These are her friends, the ghosts with whom she communicates, the supporters of her work. An acknowledgement of her influences and of the women she admires; a tribute shared with them, a tribute for them.

Dresses are not complete without the ornaments. Teresa Pereda uses Mapuche jewelry to construct the trousseau of a woman preparing for a gala evening.

These craft pieces reflect the beauty of the past. The ensemble is reminiscent of a different time, and takes us back to the feeling of preparing for a celebration.

Dalila Puzzovio’s platforms, on the other hand, depict the years where art was out on the streets taking over storefronts, becoming an object of daily life and blurring the line between art and design, between art and fashion. In her work Niñ*, Mariela Scafati embodies the current discussions on gender issues with a tied-up garment.

Can human skin be used to manufacture luxury purses? Can this question be asked without it leading to conflict? Nicola Costantino presents this dilemma: ¿human skin or animal skin?

Mónica Giron’s work shows the people who knit clothes to protect endangered species in Patagonia. These subtle pieces are not only artistically beautiful; they also invite us to reflect upon the death of the species. Monica Millán worked with the textile workers of Paraguay, who created the piece used by the artist, in a symbolic act reminiscent of the shapes of the landscape: insect nests.

Alicia Herrero created a tin-made Chinese vase and named it Estimate U$S 5.000.000.- Quianlong Vase. The piece invites us to reflect upon the distance between the silent daily tasks of an artist, and the channels created for their marketing. Following this process, the works must confront the art system, or modify it upon entering it.

Gallery 2. Space

The territory of contemporary art in which artists address issues such as the natural space, the public space or the private space, has no clear boundaries. For this reason, the concepts of territory and territoriality are more akin to current artistic practices.

In the two monumental pieces by Ana Gallardo, as well as in the nature interventions of Hungarian artist Agnes Denes (a pioneer of environmental art) and the photographs of Adriana Lestido, the links with the natural environment are exceptionally diverse. Gallardo uses charcoal with specific references to the history of art and the landscape to account for a precise moment of her life.

Agnes Denes’ interventions of space carry special value and have gained international recognition for inviting viewers to reflect upon humanity and its environment. The photographs reflect what is considered the first site specific, environmentally-concerned intervention, and a warning sign about how humans treat and destroy their own habitat. There is also a place where time fades away, and it is the end or the beginning of the world. In the majestic landscapes of Antarctica, photographed by Lestido, black and white reflect the convergence of life and death.

The idea of the urban territory is presented in the works of Gachi Hasper, Jenny Holzer, Gabriela Golder and Mariela Yeregui. The pieces reveal the different tools employed by the artists to denounce or use the space as a book, an intimate space.

Hasper uses satellite images from the web and embeds them with her biography. She marks her places, and names them in a way that reflects her personal presence. Urban anonymity acquires character through language. This poetic gesture can also be found in the documentary photographs of the piece that appears in the Proa21 façade, where the artists take fragments from famous poems and place them in the different neighborhoods, so that they can, in a way, illuminate the night.

Jenny Holzer, who also works with poetry, uses the technology of advertising to occupy both the external and internal space. Her work explores the discrimination of women and their struggle to achieve equality. With the projections of Xenon, she invades the buildings and the natural space with monumental statements, and these actions always carry an element of denouncement in them.

Sinclair’s carved-out desk is deprived of its utility and transformed into an aesthetic object. It seems as though memory and history are converging in the present moment. Cecilia Szalkowicz, on the other hand, uses modern techniques to reflect an intimacy and build a personal universe that connects with the viewer. 

The fantastic becomes present in the surreal landscapes of Rosa Barba’s fictional documentary and in Marina de Caro’s installation. A detail-deprived knitted garden takes control of the room, generating a dialogue between the different conceptual proposals.

In this way, these contemporary artists engage in a broad interpretation of the concept of space, revealing different notions of world geopolitics, subjectivity and perception. This triggers a critical analysis of the exclusion of women from public forums and their confinement to the private space, together with poetic and aesthetic perspectives.




Gallery 3. Language

Writing, language and calligraphy are used by contemporary artists from multiple perspectives. This room brings together a group of artworks that reveal the graphic and conceptual capacity of language. As with the pages of a book, the reproductions build an immersive space and restore the value of reading.

Artist Marta Minujín refers to the documentary photographs of the performance Leyendo las noticias (Reading the news), and explains: “I went to the river shore, to the costanera sur, with a lamp, and started reading the newspaper, and wrapped myself up with all those newspapers, as if the news wee swallowing me up, or suctioning me in. Afterwards, I went into the river and the newspapers dissolved. The theme here was how art becomes dissolved in the news, in the mass media”.  

The multiplicity of perspectives and the capacity of language are topics present in the works of Inés Drangosch and Julia Masvernat. Drangosch’s word-made vines and her three poetic pieces express the multiplicity of perspectives and the capacity of language to build a forest that invades and entraps us. From that same perspective, Julia Masvernat cuts up words and organizes a universe of colors where the freedom of reading is depicted along with the multiplicity of meanings. Leticia Obeid focuses on books as a support and on the process of reading, that brief instant where one turns the page, a metaphor to understand the passing of time.

The act of writing, along with words, is inseparable from the body; the poetry of words is the poetry of the body. Lenora de Barros generates visual poetry by resorting to performance and photography.

The written words of Mirtha Dermisache are a journey into our innermost sensitivity, an exploration of the act of reading and of being in front of a work of art. The beauty of her pieces open up new possibilities and leave the interpretation of the meaning to the beholder, by taking possession of structures such as newspapers or letters.    

Margarita Paksa’s neon piece on the Fibonacci sequence explores new alternatives to reading by using bar codes, and proposes a disruption in the logic of light combinations. She also studies the relationships between word/light, logo/clarity, conceptual and symbolic dichotomies that make up the language of art. 

With her artistic video, Shirin Neshat transports us to distant cultures in which artists and women are persecuted and marginalized. The piece narrates the punishment received by a renowned Iranian writer because of her activity. In this sense, Neshat conceives language as a place of resistance and subversion, and art as a privileged space for raising awareness and fighting against the systems of power. Following the same line, Eva Kotakova uses books, collages and installations to question the restrictive conditions of educational systems.

Alejandra Seeber’s speech bubbles build the imaginary space of a conversation as a meeting point for exchange and debate.

From poetic lightness to the most radical acts of denouncement, in the presence or absence of the body, artists create different strategies where language acquires multiple aesthetic and political possibilities.



Gallery 4. Body

Artists explore different forms of representation to address different issues and deconstruct matters associated with identity, femininity, gender and its subjectivities. In this room, the body is metaphor, support, tool and concept.

From multiple perspectives, epochs and geographies, the works present a wide and varied range of ways to think about the body, from its use as a form of denouncement by artists such as Ana Mendieta, who alters color, gender and traits to question the ideals of beauty and binary conceptions of gender, or Vanesa Beecroft, who in a completely opposite type of installation displays hegemonic physical models that look like mannequins to draw attention to similar issues.

From different perspectives and aesthetic conceptions, artists Flavia Da Rin and Guadalupe Miles explore the ideas of self-perception and transformation of the image in contemporary life. Liliana Maresca, on the other hand, creates a photoperformance using her naked body as a medium and an object. In another performance, and with a slow, constant movement, artist Elena Dahn explores the relationship of her own body with the matter, soft and elastic, which at first imprisons and is then used to find different shapes in space, exhibiting the internal force of a work in progress. The relationship between body and object is present in Eleanor Antin’s mail art. A pioneer of feminist performance in the United States, Antin places one hundred boots on symbolic stages, as a reminder of the absent bodies.

Artists Tracey Rose and Rosemarie Trockel use video to create fantasy worlds where ethnicity is the protagonist. Rose, a South African activist of black feminism, applies humor and adopts a multicolor identity to embody the first man (woman) on Earth. Trockel, on the other hand, resorts to animal masks and meshes, overlapping drawings on images in a fascinating animation that constitutes a complex reference to art history. 

In Aili Chen’s animated film, a little girl is simultaneously trapped in and protected by her hair, and tries to escape from an infinite loop. Elba Bairon’s white sculptures, deprived of all traits and suspended in time, invite the viewer to consider the relationship with the body through subtle, poetic proposals where tactile and visual elements intertwine and focus on the body as sensoriality.

The majestic work of Louise Bourgeois highlights the idea of maternity from an intimate perspective, as a concept associated with feminine issues and in close connection with the history of art. The worship of the Mother Goddess, present in Bourgeois’s career since the seventies, is reflected in two pieces: the first one is reminiscent in its shape of Paleolithic Venuses; the second one, a watercolor, depicts the drive for life and death of the intimate moment of birth.

Nathalie Djurberg creates an apparently innocent animated universe that quickly becomes a nightmare of sexual slavery and female liberation.

The gaze of these artists on the body, from a performative perspective, invites us all to reflect upon the importance of the artistic language as a tool for action on our own subjectivity.