Tobias Dirty speaks through a voice modulator microphone as he walks between the works of contracturethe exhibition that he inaugurated together with pieces of Norbert Gomez on Floating Island, during the three days that the first and successful edition of NODEthe invitation of 60 Buenos Aires art galleries to visit their samples and that they peppered with multiple activities.
The artist is followed by a group of collectors and visitors in the gallery that was part of one of the three circuits proposed by Meridiano, the Argentine Chamber of Contemporary Art Galleries, from where the meeting was organized. The contrast between the works and the way in which the guide reflects and improvises on them, with a vociferation similar to that of Alvin and the Chipmunksit’s kind of surreal, a bit like Dirty’s work itself.
contracture moves between the arms of Gomezwho died last year, which refer to torture with a certain exacerbated medieval cut, very Game of Thrones, The Witcher or that neo gore aesthetic that many vintage video games have today, with sculptures that refer to friezes ripped from some archaeological site in the British Museum style between neo classic and irreverent and a series of pieces by Dirty himself, which play with the paranormal, alchemy , a table puzzlea cauldron and another with brooms that inhabit an alternate reality that defies gravity, a kind of upside down of stranger things if you will, instead of sweeping it under the rug they leave everything in sight, because the horror, many times, cannot be hidden or is evident to whoever wants to observe.
To sample reaches a button, says the common place. Although in the case of NODO as a social experience, the phrase does not do justice to what happened between Thursday and Saturday. On the one hand, because the spaces not only presented very diverse proposals, which covered diverse artistic manifestations, from painting -with its many representations- to piano concerts, DJs, readings, tarot card readings to NFT talks, to name a few. some.
Diversity, it is known, allows for as many types of approach as there are subjectivities, but this is in itself a property relative to any artistic expression. So one of the great advantages that the activity proposed was not only the coordination of possible tours, including some coordinated by The Art Break or from the City, but also the opening of, for example, a Saturday put the galleries in “ weekend plan”, something that usually does not happen, and therefore boosted the number of visitors and interested parties, beyond the connoisseurs of the environment.
Thus, visitors interested in art who usually turn their agenda towards museums were able to take a look on-site much of the contemporary without the need for institutionalized mediation. The official numbers are difficult to determine, estimates will be made, but, as you comment Paul de Sousadirector of Meridiano, “without a doubt it was the largest influx of public in the galleries since the reopening” after the pandemic.
“The balance is very positive, NODE had an impact that far exceeded our expectations both in public and in sales. Although it is too early to calculate how many people passed through the three circuits, it was undoubtedly the largest number of people in the galleries since the reopening. It is time for analysis and listening to draw more concrete conclusions, but we are very happy with very good comments from the public and galleries. We already have the head in the next edition”, he commented to Infobae Culture.
In that same spirit, many of the gallery owners met with whom this medium dialogued, such as Leopol Mones Cazonfrom Isla Flotante: “Movidas such as NODO and the work that is done from Meridiano have to do with making a precise reading of the situation and being able to propose tools, projects that allow expanding publics, audiences and, above all, generating more milestones over time. throughout the year where we deeply connect with the market, with museums, with institutions, with curators, because in general what has always happened in Argentina, in Buenos Aires in particular, is that the only moment of contact, the only moment of activation was to the arteba fair, which is a magnificent fair and which, in fact, was active during and after the pandemic and helped us participate in fairs abroad, here and in the region.”
For its part, Julian Mizrahidirector of Galeria Del Infinito, where it takes place Grow flowersthe first pictorial sample of the renowned photographer Romina Ressia, maintained that “NODO is a kickoff, first for Meridiano as a nucleating agent for the galleries” and “for much of what is going to come later.” “We are all Argentine galleries and it is hard for us to keep them open, organizing this, including galleries from the interior, and having the support of a lot of people, does not make us realize that there is something interesting here and that the union is strength and is demonstrated in NODO that it was a total success”.
For its part, Mariela Mayorga of Smart Gallery, which presents Sample Number Twelve of Natalia Cacchiarelli, commented that “people arrived with their armed circuit or came from a neighboring gallery” and if they were not “told that they could visit in the area” and that “all the time public circle, there were no potholes between 3 and 8 p.m. by the movement was permanent”. And he added: “From the organization, communicating that we had the gallery open on a day that is not usual managed to get a lot of people moving. The final result was impeccable, it seems to me that we shouldered the theme that this has to work and that we had to work as a team to reach people, bring art closer and that they can experience it from the side that it is not needed be an expert or have great knowledge. But that they can approach, enjoy, ask and investigate”.
NODO also presented works from 12 galleries from Córdoba, Santa Fe and Tucumán such as Ankara, Crudo, Diego Obligado, eSTUDIO G, Fulana, Gabelich, Luogo, The White Lodge and Vía Margutta, among others, in the Amalita Collection and, for its part, the María Casado Home Gallery from Buenos Aires was approached through an itinerant gallery mounted on a truck.
“The thing about María Casado seemed super original to me. There was an exhibition inside a Delmiro Méndez truck, which is the most relevant art transport company in Argentina and with which any serious collector and institution usually works, right in front of Chuí, one of the trendy restaurants of the moment , and near the Benzacar gallery. So the decision to be in front of the restaurant and in this open truck seemed very wise to me because a lot of people would gather who were not necessarily part of the gallery circuit, but who passed by, caught their attention and they entered, ”he commented. Soledad Fieldscommunication coordinator of the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires.
Without official figures on how the pandemic affected art galleries and sales, it is clear from talks with the directors of the spaces that the scenario was and is quite complicated, especially for those with rented places and those that could not yet give the leap to the stage of international fairs, which does not mean an immediate solution either, since there are many cases that can not even recover the investment made by paying for a stand and transfers of work, etc., until they consolidate their name and artists, a situation that it is only achieved with a continuity of presences.
NODO entered into a logic of expanding in time the moments of meetings with the public, beyond other events such as the arteba waves Gallery Nights and even Panorama, which was developed in 2020. The simplest question is, beyond this very good start, how to turn the event into a milestone, into a brand that is sustained over time and needs no introduction, and perhaps the answer is related to maintain its performance over time. This possibility opens a situation, a priori, favorable for the galleries, since it gives them a tool to reinvent the way of approaching the public and at the same time generate a differential with respect to other meetings.
It is that the galleries, in times of economic turbulence and with a rather small market like the Argentine, are faced with a challenge of the time in which they can break the band of solemnity, at least present in the collective unconscious, and be able to channel an enormous number of visitors -whether they are assiduous buyers of art or not- with an open mind by organizing activities, as happened with NODO and beyond the openings, and thus become a vector that crosses the annual agenda of fairs; that is, an inversion of the state of things.
For that, of course, not only a repetition will be needed, but also creativity engineering, which can both implement new technologies and move within what is already established, in pursuit of both maintaining that desired ABC1 public and venturing into the possibilities of a new group that, given the irruption precisely of these technological advances, already has a culture of meditated behavior and that will be the buyers of the future.
Of course, this will require a sustained amount of energy that may not immediately generate the expected results, but if it is sustained over time, in a coordinated manner and with pre-designed schedules, it will allow a staggering and distribution of those efforts and, in this that unity is strength, would create a new scenario that would have a field of development between trial and error, but that would undoubtedly mark a cross-border milestone. But like everything, in this the economy has a lot to say about the possibilities.
NODO arrived in these times with the remnants of a pandemic in which socialization is closer to a necessity than an obligation, not for nothing the festivals and meetings in the City are having a massive turnout; In this sense, desire as a motor has great possibilities of going to meet the works and the artists. The future proposes a scenario of growth possibilities, and in which the modes of implementation based on listening, which should be from the gallery owners as well as from a non-captive public, will play a preponderant role, almost as much as the difficult economy.
Photos: Hernán Vivone, Manuel Mazzaro, Orly Simbler and Nurit Simbler