With its expanded and multipolar cartography, BIENALSUR 2021 lays down several itineraries through its curatorial axes. Among them, Ways of living comprises a number of works that allude to the ways in which artists review, reinterpret and seek to problematise the different forms of organisation and rationale of contemporary experience, particularly in cities.
Along this line, Eduardo Basualdo has been developing a series of works for some years now, in which he chooses to design metal grids, conceiving them as elements capable of triggering a reflection upon the limits in society, whatever they might be.
While medieval cities were walled to defend their inhabitants from external threats, the development of the modern city gradually eliminated these physical limits to expand territorial occupation, to open up clearer spaces with a more fluid circulation and, in turn, to ensure greater control over them.
Today, however, limits are increasingly reappearing. Streets are blocked, quarters are locked down, “borders” are becoming more and more visible: homes, shops, architecture, and cities have been filled with iron bars intended for protection, confining those they are meant to safeguard.
The experience of confinement to which the pandemic forced us for most of 2020 and a few months in 2021, ostensibly set up new limits to circulation, new borders between both spaces and people. In this context, Basualdo’s 2016 work Corona takes on a new significance. The yellow grille, cut open and spread out in the shape of a crown, can only be understood in a different key: the grille opens up, and yet the limit not only remains, but becomes stronger, more complex, both intangible and threatening.
Basualdo perceives himself as a draftsman. The pandemic confinement prompted him to reconnect deeply with this dimension of his work. Nevertheless, his grilles cannot but be thought of as drawings that materialise in space. In his work Crown, Basualdo represents on the wall of the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf – while at the same time he detaches himself from it – a new prefiguration of our life experience.
Diana B. Wechsler
Artistic Director BIENALSUR