Book Review: Ex Argentina
Linda Bilda/Graciela Paredes, Tour through Ex Argentina
In December 2001, Gustavo Benedetto, Gastón Riva and Alberto Márquez were shot down by police during an extraordinary demonstration, in which the people, armed only with saucepans as drums, protested against the economic crisis, the high level of unemployment, the corruption, and above all, against the government and its policies for dealing with the country's situation. It all took place in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Others fell victim to police aggression during the popular revolts which followed.
During the summer of 2002, the project Ex Argentina was born as a result of Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann's attempt, using artistic methods, to investigate the causes of this economic and political collapse. In May 2004, the project materialised with an exhibition entitled Schritte zur Flucht von der Arbeit zum Tun (Steps for the Flight from Labor to Doing) at Ludwig museum in Cologne, in collaboration with the Goethe Institute in Buenos Aires, which reunited the artworks and the European and Argentinean groups of artists, who participated in the project. The two Berlin artists and authors, founders of the project and curators of the exhibition, also edited an anthology, a catalogue of the exhibition of their work.
The book is more than a collection of the artworks exhibited. It is a plea stemming from the numerous texts written by the artists. Furthermore, the book is neither primarily about the fate of Argentina, nor about creating some kind of commemorative symbol for those who died during the demonstration in 2001. Its aim is more to set a precedent with this case. In daring to mix art with politics, the two artists produce a basis for critical reflection on the current political and economic global realities and on the citizen's loss of identity.
The catalogue has been published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König in German and Spanish.