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MALBA Opens its Doors to Argentine Artist Pablo Suárez

2813729‘The Escape from Reality’ Pablo Suárez 1999 (Photo Via La Nacion)

Pablo Suárez, the artist who used naked bodies and expressive figuration to illustrate the “plebeian” life in Argentina, will feature from tomorrow in the MALBA in his very own exhibition Narciso Plebeyo.

A central and effectual figure of the Buenos Aires art scene, the exhibition will reflect his role as an artist in society, establishing the relationship he held between the cultural traditions of Argentina and the era of narcissism. While addressing the consequences of what he considered a “degraded culture,” we are able to envisage his own life as an “outcast” of society, a personal inscription which invites us to analyze his position as a simultaneously central and marginal influencer to the history of Argentine art.

With over 100 pieces of work, a collection consisting of paintings, drawings, objects and sculptures, the exhibition will also include an archive of Suárez’s unedited material, the result of an investigation conducted by curators Jimena Ferreiro and Rafael Cippolini together with the MALBA. It will exhibit the predominant themes in Suárez’s work, whilst also highlighting the key influencers of the renowned artist; a crucial aspect in the assimilation of his legacy.

‘Exclusion’, Pablo Suárez 1999 (Photo Via Malba)

Born on December 15, 1937, Suárez was as worshipped as he was corrosive; he was a man who, decade after decade, managed to reflect his own narcissistic beliefs through his art in an attempt to define his own self-worth in Argentine society. Having started as an informal painter in the late 1950s, he was soon to become one of the leading figures of avant-garde art in Buenos Aires in the 1960s, with his first solo exhibition released in 1961 in the Lirolay Gallery.

Tiempos de Guerra, Pablo Suárez, 1982

Influenced by the teachings and works of renowned artists Raquel Forner, Alfredo Bigatti, and Antonio Berni, Suárez generated politically-charged works of art, adopting certain techniques that reflected his vision of the anonymous and marginalized figures in society. It was this political radicalization which led him to temporarily suspend his work in favor of social activism, but he resumed his artistic activity in the 70s in an attempt to uncover a culture now liberalized after being repressed under dictatorship.

Standing as a supporter of communicative and easily accessible art, Suárez rejected any scholarly interpretation that dilated the simplicity with which he conceived his works. This simplicity is exemplified in his work La Terraza, in which an ordinary man and his habits are reflected in a bearded man checking on his traditionally Argentine asado while others bask in the sun on a terrace, a recreational space for urban dwellers. This is a piece which clearly represents the newly found freedom from the military dictatorship from 1976-1983.

La Terraza, Pablo Suárez, 1983 (Photo Via Noticias UNGS)

After his time as a teacher at the Taller Barracas for artists granted scholarships by the Antorchas Foundation, Suárez moved to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay before passing away in 2006 in the city of Buenos Aires at the age of 69. With the opening ceremony tonight, his works will be shown at the MALBA through February 19, 2019 in an exhibition which perfectly balances artistic talent with political activism. To find out more, click here.


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2018-11-21 16:33:13

Tilly Compton

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