ARGENTINE ARTIST FERNANDA LAGUNA EXHIBITS “AS EVERYBODY”
At the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Laguna presents both visual and written artworks.
If someone showed you who they were, would you look? What might you learn from looking?
In her first US exhibition, Argentinian artist Fernanda Laguna (b. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1972) invites us into her world. Through writing, painting, community work, and activism we see through her eyes. She is many different artists—pulling from many disciplines—and she is one of those artists who have a cult following in their home country, but is still under-recognized around the world.
Fernanda Laguna’s point of view parallels the American context—she is concerned with familiar issues of inequality, community, appropriation, and feminism. Yet, through a highly personal style, she offers us a unique reality—a collection of thoughts, feelings, and experiences drawn from a specific culture, time, and place. Through her eyes, we see a world familiar, yet wholly unique; personal, but nearly universal.
Each of Laguna’s pieces—whether written, painted, or performed—seduces us into reevaluating facets of our day-to-day lives: sexuality, friendship, craft, and how ordinary artifacts and souvenirs can charm us.
In her painted series, Abstract Shapes That Look Like Something, she draws from her personal experiences to evoke moments of intimate interaction. In another series, Laguna incorporates wicker frames made by local craftspeople, embellishing her paintings with the aesthetic of traditional baskets and furniture. Throughout much of this work, she combines kitsch and folk art styles with the traditions of surrealism and abstraction that have been prevalent in Argentina through the modern period.
In a newspaper produced as part of this exhibition, to be published in December, Laguna tells the story of her collaborations with women and children of the Villa Fiorito neighborhood. It highlights her many years working to elevate creativity and social justice within this precarious part of Buenos Aires.