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PROFILE: BUENOS AIRES:ROSA CHANCHO
TAMARA STUBY

WITH the motto ‘Rosa Chancho is an art gallery’, young artists Mumi, Julieta García Vázquez, Tomás Lerner, Osías Yanov and writer Javier Villa de Villafañe burst onto the Buenos Aires scene in March last year; their aim: to investigate current exhibition and sales practices (and their immobilising effect) through hands-on experimentation with a variety of alternatives. Their first step was to delimit a no-holds-barred work zone – an unassuming shop display window, the sidewalk in front of it and a bit of the street; then they defined three roles and announced who would occupy them during the course of the year. This deceptively simple recipe contains a myriad of complex questions (authorship, curator versus artist versus gallery identity, site-specificity, marketability and so on) that have converted Rosa Chancho into a focal point and made it a concentrated seedbed of activity, whose repercussions ricochet off in all directions.





Five artists – Orilo Blandini, Luciana Lamothe, Carlos Huffmann, Noelia Yagmourian and Andrea Cavagnaro – were assigned to the ‘window’, creating successive works in the display case and beyond (on, over, on top of or with the works that preceded theirs); ‘overseers’, comprising five artists and theoreticians – Silvia Gurfein, Nancy Rojas, Verónica Gómez, Miguel Mitlag and Octavio Garabello – followed the year’s activity, culminating in a joint exhibition of works/texts in December (employing the interior space for the first time); and ‘parasites’ – Leandro Tartaglia and the group Provisorio/Permanente – acted as free agents, using the rest as their springboard.





The result? Propositions ranging from sidewalk demolition to a new angle on the ‘penetrable’, to a mannequin’s nosebleed that leads to a billboard intervention by way of a hundred metre long trail of blood red droplets winding along the pavement. From the outset it was clear that this would not be a young talent-search agency focusing on who is or is not present, but rather a place where the challenge would lie in what both artists and organisers, flexing their muscles and challenging old habits, could manage to do together. Instead of falling back on easy strategies of carefully contained, consequence-free delinquency, Rosa Chancho deals with the issue of influences – that heavy traffic that comes to bear on any artist’s work – by shifting away from judgement calls on who is copying whom, and by stepping out from under umbrella terms such as ‘appropriation’. They oblige artists to roll up their sleeves and dig into the business of working over another’s work and, in turn, being worked over, whilst they and their proposal share the same vulnerability.

These are not kids launching spit-balls and then looking the other way; they are committed to exploring these questions as avenues, rather than using them as pedestals from which to pronounce a particular stance. As playful as they are serious, they show no signs of letting up: be on the lookout this year for the Rosa Chancho Prize…

TAMARA STUBY IS A WRITER BASED IN BUENOS AIRES

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