"Art in Play": a playful approach to Argentine art

March 27, 2022 | nadiaevangelina

Working as a team, taking care of others, knowing how to lose, paying attention, respecting rules, learning to communicate, or imagining strategies in silence, are concepts we learned as children with all kinds of games and toys. This is what the exhibition “Art in Play”, a proposal curated by Rodrigo Alonso and held at PROA Foundation, reminds us of. Through a variety of media, such as painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video, objects, and interactive art, the artists use the playful element to delve into the experimentation of art and the cultural value of play.

Throughout four thematic rooms, “Art in Play” brings together works by almost 80 Argentine artists from different generations and artistic styles. Entering the first room, we find a mural installation by artist Daniel Joglar. The work combines boards from the most popular board games in Argentina, such as Monopoly, Backgammon, Uno, or Ludo Matic, along with other toys. This space emphasizes the enjoyment of the game, and functions as a prelude to the rest of the exhibition.

Installation by Daniel Joglar 
In the next room, traditional games and toys take on a nostalgic, critical, and ironic character. Works such as Dino Bruzzone's “Italpark”, Silvio Fischbein's “Urban fragments”, and Juan Pablo Cambariere's mobiles emphasize the mechanics of toys, while Matilde Marin's photographic series “Play of hands” recovers the artisanal and ritualistic link of play. Also on display in this room are legendary Argentine artists such as Antonio Berni, with his representation of humble neighborhoods; Edgardo Antonio Vigo and his proletarian chess; and Xul Solar and the I Ching Board, a game of chance created with a language invented by the artist.
Toys by Juan Pablo Cambariere(2010-2021)

From the "Urban" series (2009) by Silvio Fischbein

"Proletarian Chess" by Edgardo Antonio Vigo (1983-1987)

"Juanito playing bowling balls", by Antonio Berni (1973)

"I Ching Board" by Xul Solar (1954)
In Room 3, there is a crossover between games and sports as well. Among the works, the video installation "The Tennis Match" by Margarita Paksa stands out, which uses the competitive dynamics of sports ("you are a winner", "you are a loser") as a metaphor for social and economic competition. Only in Room 4 can we find interactive installations that require the viewer's active participation, which dialogue with the technology of the contemporary world, such as the representation in video games. For example, "I remember you" by Leo Nuñez consists of a typewriter that, when used, reproduces what is written on a curtain of lights hanging on the wall. In Laura Palavecino's “Bambi-Bot” installation, children can approach and move a robotic deer by hitting the keys of a xylophone.
Works by Sandro Pereira, Pablo Suárez and Marcos López in the hall dedicated to sports

"Bambi-Bot” by Laura Palavecino
"I remember you" by Leo Nuñez (2016)
"Art in Play” offers an unusual look at the quantity and variety of historical and contemporary productions that highlight the value of playfulness as a tool for creation and reflection. The exhibition brings together games and iconic spaces from different periods that not only appeal to the collective memory of the spectator but also allow to recall of personal and non-transferable experiences. This experience is intensified through sound references, such as circus music, the xylophone, and wind-up toys.

"Art in Play"
Location: PROA Foundation, Av. Don Pedro de Mendoza 1929, C1169 CABA, Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Opening Date: 18th December 2021 
End Date: 1st April 2022
Working hours: Thursday-Sunday: 12pm to 19 pm
Official website: https://www.proa.org/esp/

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