Colectiva (or “Group show”) was an event I produced when invited by art dealer Luisa Pedrouzo to have a solo show at her gallery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2002. Back then, the country had just fallen into a devastating financial, institutional and political crisis that vertiginously dragged more than half of the Argentine population below the poverty line. Many artists reconsidered the meaning of their practice in this new social context.
Luisa Pedrouzo’s gallery was situated in the upmarket area of the city, in the middle of the most popular circuit for commercial contemporary art galleries. This area became very attractive to the “cartoneros” and their families, who would scavenge the rubbish left in the street looking for scraps to sell and for decomposing food remains to eat.
I decided then to use the infrastructure of the commercial art gallery and its space as a meeting point for the exchange of knowledge, values and commodities between these segments of society that seemed to me atomised and alien from each other.
Colectiva became a temporary community of people that encompassed artists, art collectors, Barrio Sarmiento’s residents, a contemporary art gallery and a school. The event developed in three phases: an introductory workshop, a party and a group art show where the remains of the party became art-work for sale. The profit obtained from the show was turned into -by the will of children taking part in the project- a community library for Escuela N° 15 Dante Alighieri in José C. Paz, Buenos Aires Province.
Photographs ©Claudia Fontes