Art Basel Cities
(Group exhibition)
Curated by Cecilia Alemani
Buenos Aires
6 – 12 September 2018

Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires is a multiyear program of initiatives celebrating the city’s thriving cultural ecosystem. Working with an array of local cultural partners, Art Basel Cities hopes to bring together international and Argentine art communities through a series of professional collaborations, projects, and exchanges.

Close to his studio in La Boca, Gabriel Chaile created a large-scale, biomorphic adobe sculpture that doubles as a giant clay oven. Drawing upon the artist’s interest in anthropology – seen through the use and reappropriation of colonial stereotypes of indigenous peoples, slaves, soldiers, and patriots in his practice – this work is the most recent in a series that transforms Pre-Columbian motifs into monumental works of contemporary art. This particular form is recognizable from Tucumán sculptures that honor the hundreds of indigenous people who were forced to work in the mines in the northern part of the country. Installed in a visible public location near the Transbordador Bridge, the work too becomes a meeting point for people coming and going, as the sculpture can be used to cook and as a fireplace. The work is named for a young local man who was killed in La Boca in 2012, and in its evocation of the communal ritual of food, seeks to bring the neighborhood together once again in remembrance and dialog.

This artwork was realized with assistance from the Ministry of Ambient and Public Space of the City of Buenos Aires.

Gabriel Chaile, “Diego (Retrato de Diego Núñez) / Diego (Portrait of Diego Núñez)”, 2018. Metal structure, bricks, adobe, and eggs, performance; 2.8 m x 2.6 m x 1.7 m. Photos by Belen Caputo.