"El Búlgaro", a solo exhibition by Luis Freisztav / Fortabat Collection Museum

December 08, 2021 | nadiaevangelina

With a view of the Río Plata, located in the picturesque neighborhood of Puerto Madero, behind the large glass building of the Fortabat Collection Museum is "El Búlgaro" (The Bulgarian), about the late Argentine artist Luis Freisztav. The exhibition, curated by Guadalupe Fernández, brings together a series of never-before-seen sculptures made of cartapesta and ceramics, provided by collectors and his son, Iván Freisztav. Despite a heartbreaking aesthetic, this is an emotional proposal that leaves you breathless at the same time.

Photo by Nadia Evangelina (2021)


The exhibition, titled after Freisztav's nickname, was promoted by the artist's friends. Among them are the artist Marcia Schvartz, the kind words of Liliana Maresca, and the extraordinary montage design of Roberto Fernández. The sweet memory is captured throughout the documents and the room texts, which generate a beautiful closeness between the artist, the group of friends, and the visitors.

Ungainly dogs, piranhas, shads, monkeys with objects, unknown animals, princely toads, snakes, and pigeons are some of the creatures present in the exhibition. The pieces are spread throughout a long room divided into two main sectors. On one side is the pack of stray dogs, some copulating, extremely malnourished to the point that their skin sticks to every bone in their bodies. Their faces also convey pain, fear, and distrust at the same time.

"Los Perros" series (1991) 

"Palometas" series (2006)

"Y mañana será príncipe" series (2006) 

In the same space, we see a series of large fish "swimming" in mirrors showing their sharp teeth. Some of them even have no eyes, only disconcerting black sockets. In the next room, Freisztav's works are divided between crushed toads, glass frogs and others multiplied on the wall, a set of snakes and gutted fish whose insides can be seen in great detail.

At each end of the rooms, we can see two installations. One of them, probably the most striking, reveals monkeys sitting on logs holding objects. It is inspired by the colonization of America and the ensuing massacre. The halo of mystery and desperation conveyed by the monkeys, with their upright postures and penetrating gaze, is truly mesmerizing.

"Monos" series (1992)

Freisztav's visceral aesthetics is traversed by his personal experience and the complex political context of Argentina in the 1990s, marked by neoliberalism and economic crisis. From the expressive force of animals, the artist is able to externalize the deepest part of the human condition, such as fragility. While at that time "light art" was fashionable among Argentine artists (a kind of naive kitsch), Freisztav built a personal and completely different style, much more carnal, material, and dark.

"El Búlgaro" is an exhibition that vindicates an innovative artist who was forgotten by art history. Freisztav belonged to the alternative circuit of the arts and was never able to make a living from art. He was a proletarian who worked as a bricklayer, house painter, welder, waiter, etc. Even so, his pieces reflect his passion for art. The exhibition rescues emblematic works of almost twenty years of career, whose artistic production developed throughout the 90s until his death in 2008.

"Monos" series (1992)

"Y mañana será príncipe" series (2006) 

"Fuiste alpiste" (2000)

"El Búlgaro"
Location: Fortabat Collection Museum, Olga Cossettini 141, C1107 CABA, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Opening Date: 14th October 2021
End Date: 27th February 2022
Working hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 12am to 20 pm
Official website: 

Participating Artist: 
Luis Freisztav

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