The Bienal del Chaco is the largest cultural and social event in Resistencia – the City of Sculptures – in the Chaco region in the North of the Argentine Republic. More than 530 sculptures are located in squares, roundabouts, avenues and public places to create an outdoor museum in the city, which is both contemporary artform and cultural heritage. The Bienal del Chaco – the international sculpture biennial in Resistencia, Capital City of Chaco Province, attracts an attendance of more than 150,000 visitors. In 1998, UNESCO declared Resistencia to be part of the ‘Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.
The city of Resistencia was founded in the year 1878, with the first urban monuments erected in 1920 by the Italian community. In 1954 artists and intellectuals joined together to form the group, El Fogón de los Arrieros, and to create the city as a centre for art. In 1961 El Fogón launched the Resistencia Beautification Plan, to integrate art into the public space to extend the idea of a ‘City-Museum’ and develop the potential created by the earlier sculptures in the streets. Little by little, the expansion of these artworks changed the symbolic-historic assessment of the city into an artistic-cultural vision, as the sculptures became urban reference points in the classic grid city plan and defining icons for each location. The organisation was continued by COPROAR between 1977 – 1991, and subsequently by the Fundación Urunday.
The 2012 International Sculpture Biennial, directed by Mimo Eidman of the Fundación Urunday, invites twelve international artists to carve an original sculpture outdoors, performing before thousands of spectators – inspired by the subject ‘The Prophecy’. In addition, sixteen art schools from throughout Argentina participate in a competition for the Challenge Award.
The resulting sculptures will be eventually be placed in open spaces in Resistencia. An unusual aspect is the support and respect of the city’s inhabitants who buy and maintain the works for their neighbourhoods as an expression of their civic and cultural pride and identity.
FUNDACIÓN URUNDAY, Av. de los Inmigrantes 100, Resistencia – Chaco – Argentina. T: 54 3722 415020