12 June 2014

Buenos Aires- Mario Testino and the MALBA collection

MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) is dedicated to Latin-american art from the 20th century to contemporary. Until 16th of June, MALBA is fortunate enough to display photographies by Mario Testino, one of the greatest fashion photographers of all times.

MALBA opened in 2001 with the vision of a museum promoting Latin- American art. The main collection is donated by the founder, Eduardo Constantini. In addition to the main collection the museum also has several contemporary exhibitions changing from time to time. MALBA is also a cultural center presenting art films and literature.

"In your Face", by Mario
One of these exhibitions is also one of the most talked about: "In your Face" by Mario Testino. When I went there in April, we waited in line for half an hour to get in because of the nearly hundred meter long line of people. His exhibition at the Museum of fine art in Boston last year was the most popular in the museum history. He is not only a fashion photographer, but a superstar. Testino left Peru, where he was born and raised, for photography studies in London in 1976. He has since then worked for famous magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. He has photographed a wide range of celebrities; supermodels such as Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen, and actors like Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Roberts, amongst many others. His portfolio also includes fashion houses such as Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana and Versace.

"In your Face" includes 122 works chosen by Testino himself, displaying photographies from the fashion world, commercials, and controversial, iconic photographies. The museum, with its three storey, modern, white building has dedicated three rooms for the exhibition. Sparse lighting and black walls makes the experience feel almost out of worldly, like stepping into a sacred sanctuary. His enlargened, often intimate(with every revealing detail) photos cover the walls. I immediately get the feeling that I am one of the very few lucky people (even if the exhibition is packed to the brim with people) who has been invited to see his photos. That is what it most feel like to meet a celebrity, I think to myself, while admiring his works of perfection.

The main collection
140 art works are part of the permanent collection. They vary from paintings and photographies to sculptures and installations, representing Brazil, Chile, Peru and Colombia, to mention some countries. The head liners include Tarsil de Amaral, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Xul Salar, Antonio Berni and Jorge de la Vega. All from the early 20th century avant-garde movement, surrealism of the 40s, pop culture from the 80s and contemporary.

Antonio Berni- Manifestacion (1934)

I was surprised to see that there were only a handful of the artists displayed I actually recognized the names of. Frida Kahlo is one of my favourite artists and I am familiar with Diego Rivera only because of his connection with Kahlo. Am I simply ignorant or are we just not that fussed about Latin American art?

We were heading to Cordoba the same night and because of waiting in line for at least half an hour to get into the museum in the first place, we had to rush through the exhibition. In hindsight I wish I had had that half an hour more to take it all in. The visit opened my eyes to a whole new continent of art, and left me feeling at least slightly more enlightened, and a little bit baffled by my lack of knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. First the pictures are nice and well presented. I also realise that my knowledge of art in this part of the world is tiny, or practically none-existent, so you did me a huge favor with this article. The names of artists you mention will be looked up so that I can be a bit more knowlegdeable in this increasingly global world. This is a very good arts article, Inge, made me want to know more.