August 17, 2017 - MALBA - Mirtha Dermisache: Because I Write!
August 17, 2017


Mirtha Dermisache, No title (Book detail), 1974.

Mirtha Dermisache
Because I Write!
August 11–October 9, 2017

Avda. Figueroa Alcorta 3415
Buenos Aires
Hours: Wednesday 12–9pm,
Thursday–Monday 12–8pm

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Malba presents the first monographic exhibition ever held in a museum of the Argentine artist Mirtha Dermisache (Buenos Aires, 1940–2012). Because I write! includes more than 140 pieces, produced since 1967 and a wide range of documents from Mirtha Dermisache’s Archive, an entity that has been carrying out a thorough cataloging job of her works since 2013. Oscillating between visual arts and writing, Dermisache’s work includes books, letters, texts, newspapers and postcards, formats through which she experimented with the expressive potential of the line rendered by hand on paper.

Dermisache’s body of calligraphic works entailed what Roland Barthes called “illegible writing." Since 1971, that French philosopher and semiotician took great interest in Dermisache’s art, pointing out her ability to get “the essence of writing." Dermisache was especially concerned with the publication of her works, as a way of questioning the idea of the original. She was associated with the Instituto Di Tella, the Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAYC) and their Grupo de los 13; she worked alone to produce an intimate body of written work but she had a very open approach when it came to her pedagogic work.

“From the start, a duality seems to run through Dermisache’s work: it searches for creative freedom while also respecting a set of rules and discipline. That duality would be a constant throughout the entire corpus of her production. It was enmeshed in her pedagogical work, understood as experiment in a reversal of learning: ‘unlearning’ certain ideas that hinder free creative expression," explains Agustín Pérez Rubio, curator of the exhibition.

Because I write! combines publishing devices and their manipulations with original works to interrogate the most abstract facets of writing, like the question of time, rhythm and musicality, the visual nature of handwriting, the search for meaning, writing as system, and the relationship between handwriting and typography. The exhibition also evidences the artist’s creative processes, including legible texts never shown before and exercises, as well as her extensive work as an educator in the Taller de Acciones Creativas (TAC) and in the six editions of the Jornadas del Color y la Forma (1974–81).

The exhibition project is based on a research of her personal archives, which will also be on exhibit to provide context and to reconcile seemingly opposing tendencies in her production like the notions of discipline and freedom of expression, edition and original, the mass-scale and the individual.

The exhibition catalogue—a joint production of Malba and Fundación Espigas—will contain original texts by Agustín Pérez Rubio, artistic director of Malba; Guy Schraenen, editor and founder of the Archive for Small Press & Communication (A.S.P.C.); writer and poet Belén Gache; Lucia Cañada (UBA-IDEAS-UNSAM); and a biographical chronology by Cintia Mezza, Cecilia Iida and Ana Rabiña (Archivo Mirtha Dermisache).

Mirtha Dermisache’s work is represented by Henrique Faria (New York-Buenos Aires).

Also on view at Malba:
In the Beginning is the first exhibition of work by Diane Arbus (New York, 1923–71) ever held in Argentina. Curated by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), this exhibition of one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century, brings together over 100 photographs produced by the artist between 1956 and 1962, time period in which she developed the themes central to her oeuvre and her singular vision, which attempted, as the artist herself put it, to register “divineness in ordinary things.” The exhibition is the first collaboration between The Met and any institution in South America.

Native States is the first solo exhibition of the Peruvian artist Ximena Garrido-Lecca (Lima, 1980) in Buenos Aires. The project, designed specifically for Malba and curated by Lucrecia Palacios, investigates the process through which the industrialized copper recovers its original format as “native copper," that is, the form of the mineral in its natural state before being extracted. By reversing the industrial processes that use natural resources to create manufactured products, Native States examines the relationship between science, nature and culture through a postcolonial point of view.

The exhibitions Mirtha Dermisache. Because I Write! and Diane Arbus. In the Beginning will be on view at Malba until October 9, 2017. Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Native States continues until November 13, 2017.

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Because I Write!
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