Diego Bianchi: The Charming Present at MAMBA

The Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, run by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, presents te exhibition Diego Bianchi: The Charming Present which will run until Sunday, 6 August.

Diego Bianchi: The Charming Present at MAMBA

For this exhibition, Diego Bianchi (Buenos Aires, 1969) was invited to develop a project in one of the galleries of the Moderno, where he decided to engineer an encounter between his work and the museum collection. In The Charming Present, curated by Javier Villa –  Senior Curator at the museum – Bianchi draws inspiration from the collection to create a grand artwork, an immersive installation that features pieces by the artist and others by Tomás Abal, Roberto Aizenberg, Antonio Amendola de Tebaldi, Ary Brizzy, Mildred Burton, Zulema Ciorda, Enio Iommi, Jorge Gamarra, Olga Gerding, Edgardo Giménez, Norberto Gómez, Alberto Heredia, Gyula Kosice, Eduardo Mac Entyre, Margarita Paksa, Aldo Paparella, Rogelio Polesello, Emilio Renart, Rubén Santantonín and Miguel Ángel Vidal, among others. As Javier Villa says: “The present devours the past but the past continues to shadow the present like karma: some of the artists from the collection blur Bianchi’s authorship; several of his pieces could easily be confused with works by Alberto Heredia or Enio Iommi”. 

In his installations, Diego Bianchi responds to the contexts in which he is working, drawing inspiration from the spaces and ideological conditions to create new and original uses. This exhibition is his first experience working with historic artworks by other artists. Much of his work resonates with the formal techniques and materials seen in informalist and optical pieces that make up key parts of the Moderno’s collection. The artist says: “In each project I try to identify some of the specific features of the place where I will exhibit my work. I see it as an opportunity to experiment with my sensibility, formal interests and artistic practice in relation to some intriguing new external factor. I am fascinated by how long things last in the world, how we take care of objects and what we decide to preserve: I see it as a wish to slow down time.

Bianchi responds to history as an artist, living in the present free of the ties and restrictions that sometimes exist within academia. As the curator says: “The project presents a new way of energizing our visual history and animating the Museo collection. A collection can be interpreted from curatorial or historical perspectives, addressed with sensory and experiential approaches, or stimulated by a conversation between the objects and the people who made them.

Diego Bianchi’s intervention includes new works that take the form of devices, situations and frameworks for the circulation, exhibition and perception of other artworks, be they historical pieces belonging to the museum or pieces taken from the artist’s own past. The first of these is a long passage that surrounds the entire gallery. It is an artwork but also a circulation and exhibition space that physically prepares the spectator for the artistic space at the end.

The passage that must be walked through to reach the centre of the gallery emerges from the remains of the temporary architecture from the previous exhibition: Pablo Picasso: Beyond the Likeness. On their journey, the spectator will be offered a glimpse of the residual spaces of the museum; what lies behind the perimeter walls and ceiling, as they walk up stairs and through doors. As they lose their sense of direction they are given vague, fragmented views of the action in the middle. At the end of the passage, they will be presented with a new challenge: in order to cross through the threshold into the gallery proper they will have to hold hands with another visitor. 

In his curatorial text, Javier Villa says that art should never be tamed, it must be activated and set in motion so as to infuse it with power: “A work of art stuck in limbo only preserves its material self; its power is lost. Neutral exhibition spaces and the typical efforts of institutions to freeze time threaten to domesticate the very aesthetic that ought to be driven wild by artists, curators and the public. (...) ‘How are we seeing?’ is an essential question in helping us to understand what is going on, as is looking back into the past to explore how we got to where we are today.


Diego Bianchi Biography

Diego Bianchi (Buenos Aires, 1969) sees artistic practice as a zone of research and experimentation, a territory free of the ordinary rules of reality where existence can be altered and subverted. His artworks provide platforms for interweaving themes, aesthetics and observations of the real world. 

He began his training with the Graphic Design course at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. In 2002 and 2003 he attended the art clinic run by Pablo Siquier. Then, between 2003 and 2005, he took part in the C. C. Rojas-UBA-Kuitca Visual Arts Programme (Kuitca Grant) and in 2006 took up a residence at the Skowehegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, USA.  

He is a professor in the Artists’ Programme at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, where between 2009 and 2014 he ran the workshop Anti-proyecto (Anti-Project) and was in charge of the Annual Critics Seminar in 2013 and 2015. In 2012, together with Luis Garay he took the workshop Reflexiones sobre lo mínimo (Reflections on the minimal) at the SESC São Paulo, Brazil. In 2016, he received an invitation from the Universidad HFBK in Dresden, Germany, to run the Anti-Proyecto workshop.

His most recent and notable exhibitions include: Shutdown at Barro Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, 2016;  WasteAfterWaste, Pérez Art Museum, Miami, 2015; Under de Sí (in collaboration with Luis Garay), Wienner Festwochen, Austria, and the Bienal de Performance Argentina, Buenos Aires, 2015; El trabajo en Exhibición (The Work in Exhibition), Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris, 2015, ON ON ON Indetermination, ABC Art Berlin Contemporary, 2014;
Suspensión de la incredulidad (Suspension of Disbelief), Solo Projects Arco 2014 and Malba 2015; Into the Wild Meaning, Visual Arts Center, University of Texas, 2013; and Estado de Spam (State of Spam), Galería Alberto Sendrós Buenos Aires, 2013.

His installations have featured in several biennials, including: Mom, Am I a Barbarian?, 13th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey, 2013; A Terrible Beauty is Born, the 11th Biennale de Lyon, Francia, 2011; and the 10th Bienal de la Habana, Cuba, 2009.

He lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina.