Collecting and contemporary art meet at the Alejandro Bengolea Room

December 22, 2021 | nadiaevangelina

The Alejandro Bengolea Room is an extension of the permanent collection of the magnificent Fortabat Art Collection building dedicated to Argentine art from the 1960s to the 1990s. The exhibition, as its name suggests, is a tribute to art collector Alejandro Bengolea, the late grandson of Amalia, also known as Amelita, Fortabat. Curated by art historian Marcelo Pacheco, the curatorial proposal offers a new look at the historiography of Argentine art before the new millennium, through 30 carefully selected works of art.

Piece by Omar Schiliro

Bengolea, who passed away in 2015, was a key agent for the art circuit of the 1990s. The collector was a visionary, like his grandmother, who began assembling a corpus of contemporary artists who today were vindicated by recent history. Bengolea helped innovative artists who created art that reflects the context of the Argentine country from different conceptual and aesthetic perspectives.

The selected works build a heterogeneous map of styles and artists. Different techniques and materials that encompass artistic currents from Informalism, Neo-configuration, conceptual art, trans-avant-garde, and the varied aesthetics that emerged in the mythical El Rojas Cultural Center during the '90s. The exhibition highlights works such as "Familia Obrera" by Oscar Bony, a work censored by the de facto government. The piece is a photograph of a performance that consisted of a family sitting for hours, and on its side, a sign that pointed out that people earned double what they would receive for 8 hours of work.
"La Familia Obrera" by Oscar Bony

On the other hand, Elba Bairon's simple and minimalist abstract sculptures contrast with Omar Schiliro's kitschy plastic objects. The basins, jewelry and decorated and illuminated objects were the trademarks of this very important artist of the "light art" of Argentina. Likewise, we can draw a comparison between the kitsch aesthetics, and the gloomy works of Luis Freisztav, from the exhibition "El Búlgaro" on the second floor, as both currents, represent the political and cultural state of the '90s in the South American country.
Photo by Nadia E. Carrizo, 2021

Sculptures by Pablo Suárez

The new room proposes a non-linear tour, set with dim lights, and a serene silence that creates an intimate experience. This contrasts with the legendary collection of Amalia Fortabat, already known by all Argentines, made up of masterpieces of international art of all times, including emblematic paintings by Andy Warhol and J.W. Turner. Other artists featured in the Bengolea Room are Guillermo Kuitca, Rómulo Macció, Luis Felipe Noé, Sebastián Gordín, Lux Lindner, León Ferrari, Pablo Suárez, Alberto Greco, Jorge de la Vega, Marcelo Pombo, Jorge Gumier Maier, Mónica Giron, Marcia Schvartz, and Roberto Aizenberg.

The exhibition reflects the spirit and audacity of a family that has contributed much to the history of Argentine art, and to the community. Bengolea's sensitivity is present in this exhibition that he definitely inherited from Amalia Fortabat.

Photos by Nadia E. Carrizo, 2021

"The Alejandro Bengolea Room"
Location: Fortabat Collection Museum, Olga Cossettini 141, C1107 CABA, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Opening Date: 26th October 2018
End Date: Permanent
Working hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 12am to 20 pm
Official website: 

Omar Schiliro
León Ferrari
Pablo Suárez
Jorge Gumier Maier 
Elba Bairon

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