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Urban Oasis with a Misiones Trait

Julio Sanchez.

La Nación newspaper

It is difficult to dissociate the meaning of the term “misionero (Misiones man)”.  The first meaning in the Real Academia Española dictionary refers to the person that preaches the Gospel at missions, while the second one refers to those born in Misiones. When dealing with the art generated in this province located in the North East of the country, Jesuits are likely to appear, with their baroque concerts, the remains of colossal churches and religious imagery woodcarving.
What about contemporary art? Misiones is rich in artistic talent. Just think of the name Oscar Bony (1941-2002), creator of iconic works of conceptual art such as La Familia Obrera (Working-Class Family) (1968), or Tulio de Sagastizábal (Posadas, 1948), who mastered color management and trained several generations of artists.
At present, two misioneros exhibit their works at galleries located in the neighborhood of Retiro (Buenos Aires), while a third one does so at a gallery in Vienna. Although they are not niched with materials -while Mónica Millán prefers textiles, Andrés Paredes favors the object/installation, and Ignacio de Lucca chooses oil and water colors-, an underlying landscape and cultural tradition can be seen in all of them.

Memories from the Jungle
Andrés Paredes (Apóstoles, 1979)
Two enormous iron fretworked butterflies hover over the thousands of pedestrians that walk along Florida Street every day. Created in his native province by Andrés Paredes, they were set there in 2015.
The fretwork allows Paredes to convey the feeling of lightness that is typical of these insects. The two butterflies -like a great deal of his work- are inspired by memories of the jungle, the insects, the mud that results from heavy rains, the siestas in the humid heat, a myriad of insects, dragonflies, cicadas and endless species of butterflies.
Paredes’s second reading of Misiones landscape relates to the idea of change, of the mutation of living creatures. Barro Memorioso (Memorious Mud) could be visited in the CCK until late 2016.  The multi-sensorial installation invited the viewer to put his/her head through a mud structure with several domes to see -literally- the inner landscape of the artist’s childhood memories. Immersed in the flavors of aromatic plants, cinnamon and rose, the landscape showed a mud horizon with skulls of the animals (horse, dog, monkey) that were the artist’s pets during his childhood, hundreds of multi-colored butterflies and sparkles of quartz and amethyst, stones that abound in Misiones.
Last week, Paredes presented two installations at the Ungallery: Mutatis Mutandis & Memento Mori (Latin expressions that may be read as “changing what needs to be changed” and “Remember you will die”).  The exhibition is inspired by “the hybridizations that suggest the possibility to redefine ourselves that every human being seeks; dragonflies, butterflies and cicadas go through great transformations to continue living”, the artist explains.

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