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Josefina and a lineage of shapes


Curated by Rodrigo Alonso, an exhibition with works from the period between 1967 and 1973 is revealed as a tribute to Josefina Robirosa, who died in 2022. And it marks affinities never before formalized with women who embraced abstraction.

In one of the last great exhibitions that

Josefina Robirosa

(1932-2022) held in October 2012, in the Cronopios room of the Recoleta Cultural Center, the artist who

always felt like a painter

ventured to occupy the real space with what we could define as installation.

How did you use some of the space in that big room?

She hung a large four meter long painting of hers, made in 1967 and combined it with a series of recently produced birds, which flew over part of the room.

What seemed

an unexpected audacity

, typical of Josefina's proverbial irreverence, only confirmed the continuity of a gaze from on high that the artist inaugurated in that 1967 painting, and which she renewed in other subsequent series such as

visions from a bird's eye view

that continued into perspectives hovering over forests, beaches and urban centers.

The reference comes from the initial prominence assumed by that 1967 work – called “Six in this world” – in the

Línea y vibración exhibition that


is now dedicating

to the artist.

A work that emerges as a sort of aerial view of

recumbent figures under the vibrant action of light and the heat of the sun


Curated by Rodrigo Alonso, the set brings together twenty paintings related to these images that Robirosa made between 1967 and 1973. But that also makes them

dialogue with different forms of geometric abstraction

that arise in the work of other women artists that make up the collection. from the museum.

Josefina Robirosa and her indifferent elegance, in front of one of her works.

Figuration by other means

The period chosen is one of the most attractive in Robirosa's production due to the originality of the images that he produced from the

reworking of various languages ​​and problems of representation

that erupted at that time.

Images that emerge and at the same time break with the tradition of concrete geometry –dominant in the 40s and part of the 50s– from an exhilarating review that involves a cross between optical art and Pop art. It could be said that along this path

Josefina gave birth to another form of figuration

, different from that of the group made up of





De la Vega




A figuration traversed by a sensitive and sensual abstraction that took a clear distance from the pictorial practices of Informalism and came closer to the novelties of Op Art or optical art.

In this chapter of his work –Alonso maintains– “he examines the human figure and its interrelationships, the communication and the tension of the bodies with the environment”, something that, we could say, was not alien to the proposals

of the New Figuration

but that Robirosa , alone, came to express otherwise.

It is also interesting what the curator observes regarding this treatment, “which contrasts with the imprecisions and opacities typical of Informalism that invades the local artistic field with its black and ocher stains, its bombastic gestures and its torn surfaces”.

In fact, before dedicating herself to the new type of figuration that she will occupy between 1967 and 1975, Josefina's works were characterized by

a more dramatic abstraction rich in contrasts of textures

, more akin to informalist inquiries.

A small painting from 1956 seems to illustrate the transition towards the new moment.

“Random links on blue”, 2011, by Gabriela Böer.

Acrylic on canvas.

100 x 300 cm.

It is noteworthy that the first works by Robirosa that he presented that same year in his first exhibition at the

Bonino Gallery

–at that time the most important in the avant-garde scene– were closer to the pictorial program of Informalism.

And such was the acceptance that her work had in that first presentation that the following year she was part of the Argentine submission to the

IV Sao Paulo Biennial

together with

José Antonio Fernández Muro


Sarah Grilo


Miguel Ocampo


There is no doubt that the relationship with Bonino gave her a very important visibility for a young woman of her age.

She always fondly evoked the support given to her by the critic Guillermo Whitelow, then a collaborator of that gallery.

One day, she recalled, “she showed up in the garage of the Martinez house that she used as a workshop and told me: 'In eight months you will be exhibiting'”.

The panic caused by the imminent appearance on stage that her invitation implied was finally tempered by the gallery by adding the company of two other young men: Jorge de la Vega and Osvaldo Borda.

In dialogue.

"Freaking on Flúo”, 2010, by Marta Minujín. Mixed technique on canvas plus video.

The Barefoot Countess

Tall, slim, she always displayed an indifferent elegance.

She loved to go barefoot when she painted, as if she needed

to feel the ground without interference


Standing before the canvas one could imagine her as a close version of the Barefoot Countess.

An image perhaps fueled by the number of stories that she used to mention about a childhood briefly spent in the imposing

Sans Souci palace of the Alvear family to which she belonged

, and fleeing from cousins ​​determined to hang snails in her hair and governesses who sought to put her in a box .

That aristocratic aura played against her many times.

But she always resisted with

the attitude of her always fresh and free


A vehement woman freed from prejudices, Josefina cultivated an intelligent humor that slips through her works.


attentive to the political and social reality

that surrounded her, however, she never considered any aspect of militancy other than responding to the successive questions of life, the development of critical thinking and, above all, the practice of His painting.

It is interesting in this sense what

Rodrigo Alonso

's curatorship proposes in relation to the

dialogue with the work of other artists who inhabit the MACBA collection


Especially since he points to

a hypothetical lineage of women artists

, built from problems of abstract painting and representation;

and establishes

affinities between different generations, never before formalized


It should be noted in passing that Josefina was a pioneer in quite successfully transferring the images from the 60s and 70s that make up this exhibition to other fields such as the design of tapestries, plates and placemats, at the time disdained as minor genres.

“Symmetry No.16”, 2009, by Verónica Di Toro.

In these areas, the artist came to impose her innovative experimentation with lines, bands of vibrant colors and geometries that dissolved the limits of the figures, which implied bringing to the design

her radical harmony with different proposals of the avant-garde

of that time.

In Elda Cerrato's video Algunos segmentos, from 1970, the contemporaneity of the problems that occupied these two artists and also

María Martorell

is particularly visible .

Frequency Series, 2008, by Natalia Cacchiarelli.

Thus, the Line and Vibration


, which defines the chapter of Robirosa's work included in this exhibition and is presented as the title of the exhibition, operates as a link with the work of the different chosen artists.

In the second basement, “Freaking on Fluo” is displayed, a large multicolored fabric by

Marta Minujín

that reiterates the chromatic games of her mattresses.

A video is projected on it that accentuates the vibration of the canvas.

An installation by Leila Tschopp is exhibited right there, and different works by

Natalia Cacchiarelli

, Alejandra Barreda, Valeria Calvo, Gabriela Böer, Carola Zech, María de la Vega, Cristina Rochaix and

Verónica Di Toro

that reinforce, from different approaches, the reminder of Josefina Robirosa than the MA

Line and vibration - Josefina Robirosa / VV.AA


MACBA, Av. San Juan 328


Mon to Sun from 12 to 19


until June 25


$700 general

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-18

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