Qatar, tell me what it feels like: Brazil and Argentina, united by art in this World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO. “south is our north”, says the work of Carla Zaccagnini in code, hanging on the terrace of this apartment in Ipanema, with sea view. “It is our secret: in the north they believe that they are our north,” he says Alec Oxenforda businessman from Buenos Aires who has lived for two years in Rio de Janeiroabout this piece that makes a contemporary and conceptual nod to the famous inverted map of America Joaquin Torres-Garcia. It is part of the more than 550 pieces by 150 Argentine artists that make up the collection that he presented to the public yesterday in Brazil.

White sphere (2001/2016), by Julio Le Parc, one of the works exhibited at the Niterói Museum of Contemporary Art

One day before the start of the Soccer World Cup debuted in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) of Niteróidesigned by Oscar Niemeyer, this mixed and multi-generational Dream Team that includes Guillermo Kuitca, Julio Le Parc, Fernanda Laguna and Liliana Porter. A slow come cominga quote by the Argentine writer Macedonio Fernández chosen by the curator Mariano Mayer, is the title of this great “friendly match” that will continue in 2023 –There will be second and third periods at the Tomie Ohtake Institute, in Saint Pauland at the Iberê Camargo Foundation, in Porto Alegreand then it will become a book-, and that contributes to dissolve old rivalries between neighboring countries.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) of Niterói hosts since yesterday the first chapter of the exhibition A slow coming coming
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) of Niterói hosts since yesterday the first chapter of the exhibition A slow coming coming

No provocative chants of fans are heard, but the sweet voice of Gal Costa, who died days ago, in the pool of the Fairmont hotel, while a man dressed in a yellow zunga checks his phone at sunset. Many businesses are closed in this relaxed way in this city that rises very early, says Oxenford. He himself found this opportunity in a similar situation: he met João Paulo Siqueira Lopes, co-director of the Brazilian cultural production company Act, during the opening cocktail of ArtRio 2020, at the Copacabana Palace.

In the foreground, works by Alberto Goldenstein and Marina De Caro; behind, Marcelo Pombo and Silvia Gurfein
In the foreground, works by Alberto Goldenstein and Marina De Caro; behind, Marcelo Pombo and Silvia Gurfein

“He found it attractive to show my collection in Brazil –recalls Oxenford-, where it is unusual for there to be such a panoramic collection of art from this millennium. And because in addition to presenting the contemporary scene in Argentina, this show makes sense here because art is a universal language: the colors, messages and emotions it generates are understandable to everyone”.

Untitled (2017), by Karina Peisajovich
Untitled (2017), by Karina Peisajovich

He gave the initial kick in 2008, with a leader in his team equivalent to Lionel Messi: who advised him for a decade in the acquisition of photographs, videos, installations, performances, sculptures and collages was nothing less than Agnes Katzenstein, founder of the Art Department of the Torcuato Di Tella University and current curator of Latin American Art at MoMA, where she also directs the Cisneros Institute for Latin American Art Research. With her they defined from the beginning the rules of the game: buy only works by living Argentine artists, in the primary market and through galleries, to support national creation.

Missionary Flora (2016), by Florencia Bohtlingk
Missionary Flora (2016), by Florencia Bohtlingk

“This series of exhibitions constitutes a very important step for a collection who for more than a decade has been supporting contemporary Argentine art with great conviction, not only for the fact of collecting it, but through initiatives of scholarships for artists and research projects Katzenstein, who traveled especially for the inauguration from New York, told LA NACION. It is the first time that the collection has gone from the private to the institutional sphere, and in a neighboring country as culturally important as Brazil. So there’s a lot to celebrate, especially for the opportunities open to artists”.

Work by Alejandra Seeber that integrated her sample in Malba
Work by Alejandra Seeber that integrated her sample in Malba

Several of them traveled to Rio to participate in the inauguration and others -Mariana Ferrari, Miguel Mitlag and Sebastián Gordín- even carried out the complex assembly design, in a round museum upholstered with carpets and whose walls cannot be touched. Equally challenging is the balance that the performer must make of the work conceived by Diego Bianchiwho balances on a pedestal while trying to take a selfie, right next to a towering white mobile from Julio Le Parc.

Untitled (2001), performance by Diego Bianchi
Untitled (2001), performance by Diego Bianchi

There the Brazilian artist and designer posed for the photo Oskar Metsavaht, founder of the Osklen brand, which has a work by the Mendoza artist. The curators of Latin American art from the Guggenheim in New York and the Pompidou, Paul Leon de la Barra Y paulo miyada; also head curator of the Tomie Ohtake Institute, the latter will host the sequel to A Slow to Come Coming next year.

Untitled (2003), by Alfredo Londaibere
Untitled (2003), by Alfredo Londaibere

Each of the three chapters of the show presents different works and pay attention to an emblematic cultural episode for the artistic life of the cities that host them”, Mayer explained to LA NACION Mayer. In this first part, he added he, the concept of influences that links the 57 exhibited pieces -of a total of 150 that will travel to Brazil from Argentina- was inspired by Ivan Serpa’s free painting course at the MAM in Rio, where Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark met, and their performance in the Frente Group. “I was interested in focusing on the idea of ​​exchangeadded the curator, who also advises Oxenford with its acquisitions.

Artwork by Anna Vogelfang
Artwork by Anna Vogelfang

With the help of the artist Erica Bohm, weeks ago they bought in arteba more than twenty works. “I loved it!”, the ex-president of the foundation that promotes the fair responds enthusiastically, when asked about the balance of this edition. Co-founder of platforms such as DeRemate, OLX and letgo, this technology expert now promotes the investment fund Alpha Capital. He does not show, however, the same euphoria when he is asked about the Non-Fungible Token (NFT)which transformed the market in the last two years.

"Latin America is authentic, real. We show ourselves as we are"says Oxenford at his home in Rio, while posing with work by Mariana Ferrari
“Latin America is authentic, real. We show ourselves as we are,” says Oxenford at his home in Rio, while posing with work by Mariana Ferrari

Technology connects, but it is not for everything. It would be nicer to bring art to the whole world than to distribute digital images. I enjoy looking, touching, feeling”, explains Oxenford, who continues to choose the south as his north despite “the politicians who learned to manipulate the people”. “Latin America is authentic, real, he says. We show ourselves as we are”.

A slow come coming – Chapter Icurated by Mariano Mayer, in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) of Niterói. Until February 26, 2023

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Qatar, tell me what it feels like: Brazil and Argentina, united by art in this World Cup