Reconstruction of the portrait of Pablo Míguez is a public artwork permanently displayed at Parque de la Memoria, a memorial that commemorates the lives and ideas of social transformation of those kidnapped, tortured and killed during the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina in the late 70s. This memorial is situated by Río de la Plata, the river in which the perpetrators dumped unconscious prisoners from military planes, during what they used to call “death flights”. Reconstruction of the portrait of Pablo Míguez sits on the waters of said river.
According to the dictators’s perverse discourse, the “disappeared” were neither alive nor dead, but their existence had “simply” ceased. Following this logic, when kidnapping people the military would steal pictures, documents, and evidence of any kind that could prove the kidnapped person’s existence. Being a visual artist, I proposed to attempt the reconstruction of one of the multiple possible portraits of Pablo Míguez, one of approximately 500 children kidnapped with his/her parents during the military dictatorship.
This attempt at reconstructing an image was done through exercising collective memory building. Pablo’s relatives, friends, and 13-year-old children took part in the said process. The resulting artwork was installed in front of the lookout where the Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism ends, its back to the spectator, so that he/she has to activate the memory of his/her own “desaparecidos” in order to reconstruct his face. The sculpture’s polished surface reflects its surroundings and makes the image more or less visible in the landscape depending on the weather conditions and the moment of the day.
Reconstruction of the Portrait of Pablo Míguez
Water reflections from the Río de la Plata on mirror-polished stainless steel
Measurements for the figure: 170 x 50 x 70 cm
Floating on Río de la Plata, coordinates: 34° 32,3660 S / 58° 26,2575 W
Cover photo by Guadalupe Miles
Artist's statement, 1999 (PDF)
Description of the work included in the presentation submitted to Parque de la Memoria on the occasion of the international open competition for the sculpture park in 1999.
The Liminal Memory, by Claudia Fontes (PDF)
Paper presented at the symposium Transferts, catégories, archives et récits at Musée du quai Branly, November 2013 and at
Spaces of Memory & Performance: Trauma, Affect, Displacement, University of East London, Centre of Performing Arts Development.
Citizens, Tourists and Idiots, by Claudia Fontes (PDF)
Paper read at Moving Memories: Remembering and Reviving Conflict, Protest and Social Unrest in Connected Times, seminar hosted by the Institute of Modern Language and Research of the School of Advanced Studies, University of London. November 2014.
Espectadores y Espectros, by Gabriela Balcarce and Florencia Abadi (PDF)
Análisis de “Reconstrucción del retrato de Pablo Míguez” por Florencia Abadi (UBA, Conicet) y Gabriela Balcarce (UBA, Conicet)
On Claudia Fontes’ 'Reconstrucción del retrato de Pablo Míguez', by Vikki Bell
An extract from The Art of Post-Dictatorship: Ethics and Aesthetics in Transitional Argentina (Routledge, 2014)
Quienes cierran los ojos al pasado, se convierten en ciegos para el futuro, by Lillian Llanes (PDF)
Texto de Llillian Llanes, curadora y miembro del Jurado del Concurso de Esculturas Parque de la Memoria.
PRESS & PUBLICATIONS
La memoria junto al río
by Florencia Battiti, in Gazpacho magazine, page 88.
El silencio otra vez
by Emmanuel Franco for El Flasherito
‘Reconstrucción del retrato de Pablo Míguez’
by Joan Francesc Ainaud for Notícia oberta | betevé, 4 May 2018
(Video in Catalan)
Wounds In the River: Artwork at Memory Park
by Gabriela Schevach for Juanelear.
“No se sabe nada de lo que pasó con Pablo”
by Alejandra Dandán, in Página12, October 11, 2010.
by Cristina Civale for RADAR, Página 12, 24 Dic 2016
Pablo Míguez camina sobre el agua
by Daniel Gershenson for Animal Político, 21 March 2016
Arte y política en la Bienal de San Pablo
by Cristina Civale
Claudia Fontes in dialogue with Dennis Oppenheim
Revista Ramona #21&22, 24 March 2002
Quando l’arte non dimentica. Il Parque de la Memoria a Buenos Aires
by Lorenza Pignatti for Art Tribune, 2 June 2018