Horizonon dome
Site specific photo installation
Imago, Buenos Aires, 2007

A 360 degrees horizon composed by 24 1 x 1.30 meter photographs copied in Duraclear (a material similar to a slide) covers the windows of a dome. This skyline synthesizes the landscape of Buenos Aires and is located four meters above the eye of the viewer. The images of this piece were taken at different locations in Great Buenos Aires and represent the city, the countryside, the suburbs, the Río de la Plata and its banks. These transparent images blend with the building's architecture and other images from the exhibition depending on the perspective from which they are seen.

The Pampas, the city and the suburb

by Laura Malosetti Costa, curator catalog text – Fragment - translation by Alicia Steimberg

Town and country constitute a pair of opposites implied in each other as localizations of culture through which one's own standpoint in the world may be imagined. They place the individual in his relationship with nature, but also, and most of all, in connexion with other men and women in a network of relationships. Actually, they are more than just real places... Ideas, feelings, desires and frustrations are condensed in connexion with society and politics. They confront not just different spaces but different times: the time to work and to rest, the time of nature and the time of history. And involve the ideas of progress and tradition, of action and contemplation, of war and peace. These questions are in the origin of the present exposition: town and country, but specifically the pair Buenos Aires – the Pampas. It does not aim at marking a complete history of the landscape tradition in Argentina, but rather to present the viewer with a reflection on our cultural history and its localizations. A search in the way of the Pampas, the city of Buenos Aires and the spaces created between them – riverside, border, suburb – were portrayed in visual arts, from the 19th century to our days.

Thus the proposal is to put together a large number of artworks which are rarely considered in their reciprocal relationships, to overcome the division between old and contemporary photography, maps, 19th century engravings, paintings, installations, video art, sculptures and objects. And to compare the internal and sensitive experience of the environment with the discourse about the homeland and the so called "national landscape". As well as to propose dialogs and continuities, resonances, contrasts and conflicts as time goes by. To study the perception and representation of one's own place and distance, the perspective that makes it possible to appreciate immediacy and immensity.

The ideas of change and progress incarnated in city life, bucolic contemplation and nostalgic evocation of a pastoral countryside and the city street scenes have been important topics since ancient times, representing in literary and visual images the successive expectations, crises and deceptions accompanying human settlements and societies. The book by Raymond Williams quoted at the 193 beginning of this text brilliantly portrays the history of theses images and ideas, and marks the origin of this exposition. In America the links between nature and culture seem to happen conversely, yet it is in Europe that the beginnings of our cultural legacy should be sought. Still the certainty about the character of what cannot be expressed in words, even though it may be preceded and questioned by them, also contributed to give shape to this exposition. The considerable scarcity in the production of images to illustrate descriptions, stories and evocations of the landscape in verbal forms is unanimous among specialists of our cultural history. The relationship word-image should be considered at the outset in texts about the Pampas and in those about the city of Buenos Aires and its representations, but what appears first is the necessity to point out the complexity of the relationship. Particularly the capacity of images, if they are previous or parallel to the text, to stir in the reader a sort of intense anticipation of what will be next expressed in words.

The following reflections are meant to provide the viewer with an explanation of the ideas that guided the selection of the works and to suggest the connections that exist between them. […] The exhibition is organized along a series of iconographic items that persist in this relationship between city and country in our culture.

The City and the River

The skyline of the city, seen from the river – the silhouette of the buildings and particularly the domes of the churches – has identified Buenos Aires ever since its first representations. According to the already existing scheme imposed by Dutch engravings, the city was often depicted as seen "from the ships", masts in the foreground, and at the back, perfectly recognizable, the characteristic buildings […]. Martín Bonadeo uses new technologies to create images and situations of great poetical subtleness, like the 360º transparent panorama that, when light goes through it, reveals a new form of beauty of the city from the river.[…]

> back