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By Federico Curutchet

arteBA is undoubtedly one of the most important art fairs in the region. And the 27th edition- opened yesterday in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo- reconfirms it

Its importance is not only measured by the great attendance of the average public registered (in 2017 there were more than 85 thousand visitors), nor by the prestigious galleries attending, both local and foreign, but rather by a permanent search for innovation and inventiveness when it comes to reinventing itself as a fair. New sections such as Stage, which gathers galleries of medium trajectory in the same corridor; renovated architecture on the Island of Editions and U-Turn, to mention some space; new redistribution of booths; a majestic auditorium and even a natural garden within the grounds of La Rural, make up this particular ecosystem with biennial features that bring up the bubbles of the champagne of the art world and shakes the entire City of Buenos Aires inaugurating the art week.
arteBA 2018, General View, courtesy arteBA Foundation - The 27th edition of arteBA opens skaking the city of Buenos Aires

arteBA 2018, General View, courtesy arteBA Foundation

This inclination to a biennial exhibition spurs the gallerists to carefully choose their curatorial proposals and respect the context. There are those who opt for more austere and minimalist proposals or, on the contrary, for a more baroque and loaded; there are also those who prefer to segment their booth and others who choose open and unified spaces, challenging the works to coexist with each other in a very fine boundary, turninf the fair into a stained museum.
CLAUDIO GIROLA, Aldo de Sousa, courtesy arteBA Foundation. JPEG - The 27th edition of arteBA opens skaking the city of Buenos Aires

CLAUDIO GIROLA, Aldo de Sousa, courtesy arteBA Foundation. JPEG

Among more than 80 galleries, hundreds of artists and works, the glamour of the opening and all gala dresses, some very interesting works grabbed our attention. There is a theme beneath all artworks, involving both the domestic and the organic, a theme leading us in this short selection of highlights of arteBA 2018.   If we consider some “drawing lines”, there’s no better way to start than highlighting the subtle aerial lines creating invisible volumes in the small and elegant sculptures of the master Claudio Girola in the Aldo de Sousa gallery (which exceed USD 80.000). Precisely, Pablo de Sousa, its director, proposes a curatorial axis and a reading hypothesis to understand the history of art highlighting the role of teaching around the figure of the artist and marking the importance of this practice in the transmission of knowledge from teacher to students. As the Director told us, “Girola, under his management as rector of the University of Valparaíso, organized in 1965 the first Amereida Crossing, whose itinerary tried to unite Tierra del Fuego and Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.” That first poetic journey with his students was meant to help them enhance the sensitive perception of the environment.”
CLAUDIO GIROLA, Aldo de Sousa, courtesy arteBA Foundation - The 27th edition of arteBA opens skaking the city of Buenos Aires

CLAUDIO GIROLA, Aldo de Sousa, courtesy arteBA Foundation

The work of Sol Pipkin in the Zmud gallery also deals with sensitivity in capturing the environment. As if they were “networks of meaning” capturing unknown symbols and languages, his three works do not want to be called paintings, sculptures, objects or collages: rather, they stand stoically as small totems fierce and aware of their knowledge. These are wise works, made with materials at the hand of the artist, not industrial waste but rather, a kind of living nature, a silent witnesses of the time passing by. The earth dreams in a spiral or Shhhhsshhh shhhhhh (USD 2.300 each one) are some of the titles, as simple and beautiful as the Decalogue written as a technical sheet describing the pieces and listing all the materials used for their creation: wood, cotton gauze, fabric dye, burnt tin, wire, dry gourd, copper, bronze, tin, seeds. Just simple.
Simple and close is the domestic universe presented by Santiago Villanueva in his solo project with the Isla Floating gallery in the U-Turn section. Following Gumier Maier, who is considered Argentina’s first curator, the artist, researcher, and curator travelled two weeks to the River Plate Delta to rediscover the domestic curatorial model and recover the peculiarities of the famous and never well-weighed typology of he house museum. “The museum house – the artist says – mixes the personal and the general, the historical and the banal, the objectual and the experiential, the lie and the verifiable facts. What can we learn from it? How to observe it?”. With this bunch of questions, they disconcert the seemingly unconnected objects distributed in the booth: some spirals, two sticks, some pineapples, and three chairs. Soon after, interpretation finds its way: there are no insignificant objects; every object has a story to tell.
Romina Casile, in the space of the Acéfala gallery in the Barrio Joven of the fair, also shares a story through a domestic universe in her Vocal Trap (USD 21.000).
ROMINA CASILE, Acéfala, courtesy arteBA Foundation - The 27th edition of arteBA opens skaking the city of Buenos Aires

ROMINA CASILE, Acéfala, courtesy arteBA Foundation

Or rather, it is the tables and cabinets speaking loudly, in a closed circuit of zinc megaphones and labyrinthine pipes. Transposed furniture, mutated and monstrous, seizing the space and surprising all visitors for its inhumanity this seems to challenges us all with a voice.