By Matías Helbig

     At the beginning of last year, the Andreani Foundation, directed by María Rosa Andreani, had completed the construction of its new space in the emblematic Buenos Aires neighbourhood of La Boca. The building, originally conceived by the Italian-Argentine architect Clorindo Testa (1923-2013), father of the Brutalist movement in Argentina, was taken over by Juan Fontana and Oscar Lorenti —friends and colleagues of Testa— who worked in collaboration with the architect Carlos Santa Cruz. The foundation scheduled the inauguration for March. "A few days before the inauguration of the new building," explain the foundation's director, "we were surprised by the pandemic and had to go into seclusion.” But that didn't stop them. With a virtual appointment in June and an audiovisual production by filmmaker Mariano Llinás —founder of the renowned independent production company Pampero Cine— the Andreani Foundation inaugurated the new space and redesigned its entire programme. "It was a year of much learning", says María Rosa Andreani, and adds: "During the pandemic we saw the importance of cultural activity for people, the creative capacity of the spaces to not lose the link with their visitors became evident; new experiences in other formats have been generated all the time.”

     In charge of one of the foundations with the greatest commitment to contemporary art in Agentina, María Rosa Andreani tells us in detail about the project of the new space and the challenges of managing this type of project in the pandemic: "Presence is difficult to replace, but since we live in the current health situation, there are more and more crossings between the virtual and the presential."

Retrato de María Rosa Andreani, directora de la Fundación Andreani.

. Why did you choose the neighbourhood of La Boca and a posthumous project by Clorindo Testa for the Foundation's new space? How did you work with Lorenti, Fontana and Santa Cruz?

     There is something that distinguishes La Boca from other neighbourhoods in the city of Buenos Aires, is component that has its essence in La Boca's relationship with art. It’s a neighbourhood that has been the cradle of many artists. This neighbourhood of workers, of ships, of immigrants was chosen by us to establish the definitive headquarters of our foundation and has a close link with the origins of the Andreani family.

     The house was bought several years ago. We decided to work with the architect and visual artist Clorindo Testa. He developed a project that recovers the most characteristic features of La Boca, this can be seen in the use of corrugated sheet metal, the colours, the geometric shapes of the openings and above all the use he makes of the space in the courtyard at the entrance to the building; a way of recalling the old tenement houses. We did not know that this project would end up being his posthumous work, but as the start of the work was delayed for several years, we continued the project with his disciples, who were also partners in his studio: Juan Fontana and Oscar Lorenti, and the architect Carlos Santa Cruz, who has accompanied us in the foundation since its beginnings. Working with them gave us guarantees that Clorindo's project would be respected and executed as he conceived it.


. What are the Andreani Foundation's objectives with the creation of this new space?

     We intend to be a living house in which to promote the production of artists from all over the country, where we bring together thinkers and makers of culture and where we can also continue with our projects linked to education and social logistics.


. The inaugural exhibition was Deep Unlearning, by the scientist Mariano Sigman and the artist Mariano Sardon: is this interdisciplinary crossover that has been proposed since the first exhibition what will characterise all the Foundation's exhibition projects?

     One of the main lines of work is to promote the crossover between art, science, and technology, but it is not exclusive. At the time, together with Deep Unlearning, we inaugurated Collecting a World by the photographer Gian Paolo Minelli, an exhibition that recorded the transformation of the tenement where the Foundation now lives.


. The recent edition of the seventh Andreani Foundation Prize was awarded to Mariano Giraud for an artwork that combined sculpture, 3D printing and virtual reality: do you think it is necessary to promote this type of artistic language in countries like Argentina?

     We are interested in technology and that's why in the Award we said that we would value those artworks in which the dialogue between art and technology was well resolved. But those who visit the exhibition that brings together the 47 selected artworks will see that we also selected painters and sculptors for their quality of execution and artistic flight.



.As an institution, what role do you intend to play in the Argentine cultural scene?

     We would like to be recognised as a contemporary institution that understands what is happening in the country and in the world now. We want to dialogue with what is happening in Argentina, a country full of talent. One of our challenges is to discover artists who are just starting out and give them a place in the scene.

     We are working hard to position ourselves as an avant-garde space. By this I mean that we look forward to support what is different, what is new and surprises.


. Could you give us a preview of some of the projects you are planning to carry out? 

     March 2021 saw the launch of the Seventh Edition of the Andreani Foundation Prize for the Visual Arts, where we are exhibiting 47 artworks by Argentine artists. Throughout the year we will carry out cycles involving different disciplines such as dance, in Luz y cuerpo (Light and Body), music, with Música en la ribera (Music at the riverside) and literature with proposals related to poetry such as Paraísos artificiales (Artficial Paradise) and El Banquete (The Banquet).

     We will also continue with interviews with prominent cultural figures in Presente Discontinuo (Discontinuous Present) and we will hold philosophy open classes in the cycle En tiempo irreal (The Unreal Time). We will also present Posthumania, a multidisciplinary event reflecting on the transformations of the human horizon because of new technologies and artificial intelligence.

     As for the exhibition programme, we will have the artwork of artists Mariano Giraud, Lux Linder, Sofía Medici and Agustín Mendilaharzu, all of whom were part of the Andreani Foundation 2020 Residency Programme. We will have an unpublished exhibition by Gladys Nistor, an artist from Rosario living in France, and we will carry out a multidisciplinary project called Comunicación a distancia (Distance Communication), and the exhibition Desafíos (Challenges), where we will invite young curators, among other proposals in which we seek the intersection of science, art and technology, betting on new projects that highlight the author's gaze.

     Outside the Foundation's building, with the intention of contributing to the Arts District and La Boca’s we will place a large-scale sculpture by the artist Hernán Marina on the waterfront pier. In addition, we will generate two important platforms: a logistics platform for solidarity shipments and an e-learning platform for a new and challenging regional Education project. The context of uncertainty in which we find ourselves makes us very attentive and open to be surprised by other proposals and experiences, in addition to contributing our management capacity to the new and the immense talent that exists throughout our country. We hope to surprise the audiences.