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Uruguay is represented at the 57th International Art Exhibition by one single artist: Mario Sagradini (* 1946 Uruguay), whose work, since 1990, has meant a rare and significant contribution to contemporary art. During a long stay in Italy (1978-1985) he worked as engraver of his own etchings, together with those of other Italian artists. On his return to his country of birth he became an attractive referent for generations of younger artists for cultivating what is to date a singular manner of understanding and practicing art: wandering through the worlds of words and things, and rescuing daily life experiences, objects and narratives. Often, when working with the ethnographic find, he also works, with interest, with fragments of the Uruguayan history. So that, through the practices of art, the artist historian and the artist anthropologist reappear alternately (or simultaneously).
The work shown in this Biennale consists in a cattle forcing pen shape called “funnel”. This sort of device has been used in Uruguay since the XIXth century. In this case the artist has used a barely legible old photo for the reconstruction.
The title La ley del embudo (The Law of the Funnel) used to name the installation, is a popular term alluding to the inequality in the legal system (the broad part for a few, the narrow for the many) that corresponds with the artifact’s jail shape, with two entry and exit shutes crowned by guillotine-like portals. The whole object suggests a mysterious ritual or sacrificial function. Part of a history encompassing more than a hundred years of rural labor in the Río de la Plata is synthetized in this political machine destined to select and decide the final fate of bodies –and may be read as a metaphor of power and the animality of the human condition.
Text: Gabriel Peluffo Linari
GLOBAL MYOPIA (pencil & paper). Artist: Marco Maggi. Commissioner: Ricardo Pascale. Curator: Patricia Bentancur