Through this section, monthly, we invite agents of the artistic system to share a selection of images related to their practice or current interests. Images are published daily in the header of our website and shared through our Instagram profile. At the end of the month, the complete selection of images is published together with a text that contextualizes them. Here is the selection of May 2022.
Where does art circulate? Which are the voices that legitimize what belongs or not to the field of aesthetics? From where do we artists who aim for a counter-hegemonic art enunciate ourselves? And in this sense, what are the new relationships between art and the market? Many of these questions were asked by those of us who carried out this project.
Mantera Galería is conceived as a space for contemporary art, dissident, almost as an act of survival, woven by the antagonistic threads that construct us. The latter, expressed in the place (physical and metaphorical) where the gallery is located.
On the map? The popular fair is located in La Banda, Santiago del Estero. The city’s main distinction is it being urban and rural at the same time. This speaks of the dichotomous crossings between the “modern” contributions in coexistence with the peasantry, which is 70% of the local population. We name the peasantry, we name its forms, its gestures, its ways, we name it as an outline, as a limit, but also as a centrality in the composition of the territory. The popular fair is sewn on these edges, made up of street vendors who, for the most part, established themselves after taking over the property at the beginning of 2000.
Placing this fairground space (synonymous with precarious work, circulating on the margins of legality, supplying and dispatching in black and without a receipt) in dialogue with an art gallery provokes a reflection on the survival practices inherent to the social, economic and cultural. The search for the commercialization of the artistic object in this already peripheral territory questions us, constantly interrogates us on the relationship (and the equation) money/art.
The fair, sustained mostly by women, is a small feminist geography. It is motivated and nourished by bodies, trust, freedoms and empathy between them. The elements that we took and started to work from the gallery belong to these links between spaces and people. Understood as a place where different forces, looks and senses converge, it unfolds as a container space of complex and changing realities, of encounter, of coexistence of knowledge, where contradictions and uncertainties are welcome. Finally, it is a space to inhabit possibilities where being and doing with others are reciprocal.
The enterprise of thinking about where the money is led us to that space. First on loan, and then becoming part of that ranchada and its elements: The popular altar, the motley, the discontinuous, the juxtaposition, the elemental, the survival, the cumbia and love, the tin roof and the smooth floor. Thanks to the ranchada and being practitioners of it, we were able to point out the double idea of dichotomies and hierarchies on which an art market, unknown to us, is based. Is it possible to think of ourselves outside these totalities?
There are realities that are outside binary relations, women who speak out from an emancipated link with men, a south that does not depend its relationship with the north, a slave who speaks out without the oppression of the master. Metonymy, if there is one, when it is extended to think of a gallery that does not depend on the relationship with a conventional art market. A non-relationship. The mark of an absence. A silence. From there, our stance.
In the place where we come from there is a historical and systematic production of absences and denied realities of existence. Mantera, from a small stand in a popular fair, intends to account for this, to nurture a popular collecting and to continue building senses to give meaning to our practices and above all, to enjoy ourselves!
Artists que tiran la manta: Pao Lunch and Vanina Bradach (Neuquén), Mauro Rozas (Rio Negro), Mane Guantay (Tucumán), Chino Moresi and Néstor Basualdo (Santiago del Estero)
Directs/Disrupts: María Rocha
‘Tirar la manta’ or ‘Throwing the blanket’ referst to informal commerce or street vending.