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Bienal del Chaco 2012: International Sculpture Festival. Resistencia, Argentina

The Bienal del Chaco 2012, is an international Sculpture Biennial in Resistencia, Argentina, and a synthesis of art in public, sculpture festival and urban art gallery and museum. The city of Resistencia, founded in 1878, is the capital city of Chaco Province, in the North of the Argentine Republic. It is known as The City of Sculptures, with over 554 (at the last count) artworks in open public places.  The first urban monuments were erected in 1920, and in 1998 UNESCO declared Resistencia to be part of the ‘Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. The Bienal del Chaco is notable as a long term initiative of sculptor Fabriciano Gomez, and is directed by Mimo Eidman of the Fundación Urunday. The exceptional importance of the sculpture in Resistancia is the extent of community involvement, where works are not simply placed through a political and cultural authority but are debated, invited, purchased, adopted and protected by the people of Resistencia. In the otherwise anonymous grid of Spanish colonial urban planning art is visible everywhere, for everybody as an everyday experience. While there are many challenges involved in creating sculpture in public competition the festival animates the city, and the ultimate significance of the art works is the respect and pride in the sculpture as an expression of identity of the city.

The Bienal del Chaco 2012 took place from 21-28 July 2012 with the central focus of the International Sculpture Contest, an invitation to twelve international artists to carve an original sculpture outdoors working to the theme in 2012 of La Profecia (The Prophecy). The competition takes place in a dedicated permanent sculptural arena, with galleries, exhibitions, workshops and forums – performing before thousands of spectators. The resulting works will eventually be placed in open spaces in the city to increase its cultural heritage.

Bienal del Chaco 2012 – International Sculpture Competition

Fernando Pinto – Colombia       Espejos del Cielo / Mirrors of Heaven  (1st Prize)

In the ancient Indian villages of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, there are big ancient stones, which are characterized by different sizes of holes. On starry nights the mamos or shamans fill these holes with water and observe the reflections of the stars in them, they can predict crops or events in their community life, depending on the position of the celestial sphere.

Mário Lopes – Portugal      Interior / Inside Out  (2nd Prize)

Prophecy usually is considered a divine message from a coming future that a prophet receives and relates to the others. This concept of transmitting something to others has a relation with the abstract shape of this work. The title of the work Inside Out, transmits this idea of the origin of a message from the inside towards the outside.

Carlos Monge – Mexico      Sexto Sol / Sixth Sun  (3rd Prize)

The Sixth Sun represents dawn by means of a semi-sphere shape, which upper part supports five meanders, symbolizing the five mythic eras or suns through which Humanity have passed. In the solstice of winter 2012, a new era will begin, the Sixth Sun, according to the ancient Mayan prophecy. In plastic terms, I seek the correspondence between the outer and inner surface by means of chromatic nuances and the lighting values revealed by the sunlight.

Aldo Shiroma Uza – Peru    El Dragón y el Árbol de la Vida / The Dragon and the Tree of Life

My project speaks about an ancient conscience and an upcoming moment of change and transformation. In 2012, in the ancient Chinese horoscope, the dragon year is celebrated, with a large, purifying and renewing energy load in natural state. Thus, I represent this dragon in my project, which winds around a tree, and the tree – crowned like a cloud – is the element that joins heaven and earth. These two shapes represent the encounter between two cultures: eastern and western culture.

Alessio Ranaldi – Italy     Adelante / Forward

This project is inspired by the Mayan culture, concerning their calendar, prophecying the end of the world in 2012. The sculpture is a combination between Mayan art (calendar) and contemporary art. In the centre is represented our planet earth, influenced by the cycles of the calendar that revolves around.

Baku Inoue – Japan       El Bosque en Paz / The Forest in Peace

The theme of the work is nature life. The forest is the most important thing for the Earth, animals and us (humans). The elephant is the symbol of nature. We have to live with nature forever and in peace.

Elias Naman – Syria       Svela

A woman covered with a veil as the life and future covered by the mystery and the prophecy that reveals these mysteries…

Im Ho Young – South Korea     Memorando de un Investigador Interestelar / Memorandum of an Interstellar Surveyor

At the end of the day, an Interstellar surveyor draws a map dreaming of the distant future although most of them would be illusions of the past that no longer exist. Probably there will be someone amending the mep, and trying to take down the weight of oblivion with the patchwork of information. Solidity of knowledge is weaker than the thin threads of a spider and emptier than the fluttering of a butterfly. “We come from and return to star. Life is just a journey to a strange place”.

Mahadev Prabhudesai – India       Bolse de Leche / Milk Bag

Being in the branding era everything comes through packages. In my visual I tried to catch the liquid in the solid but not the way like the container, which naturally found the liquid takes the shape of the container. I feel normally emotions turned into the expressions, flows like a liquid and the act happens. This act shows the purity of the nature.

Néstor Vildoza – Argentina       El Último Baktún / The Last Baktun

The ancient Mayan carved prophecies on stone announcing a universal change, which coincides with the end of the Baktun – longest unit of their calendar, number 13 – towards the end of the year 2012. The work is a representation of the world, in which the space between both blocks plays the most important role. It is the symbol of what is broken or ends, and it is also the beginning of a potential change of conscience and attitude, which may gear us to a better coexistence.

René Negrin Méndez – Cuba       Mi Profecia / My Prophecy

The purpose of my work is to warn about the need of human redemption, releasing our heart (symbol of purity and human values), which has been locked up due to the development of the civilization, and this is an important cause of the reality perception crisis.

Wang Lan-Biao – Taiwan      Rompecabeza / Puzzle

Nature puzzles inside the mysterious cubes, the explosion of energy causes the upward formula constantly occurs.

The Bienal del Chaco is the largest cultural festival in Argentina attracting c.150,000 visitors and presenting a diverse platform of sculptural activity and different artistic disciplines. In addition to the  International Sculpture Competition, the Challenge Award invited sixteen teams from Schools of Fine Arts representing the Argentine provinces to create a work on the theme of Animals of the Region. The programme of Guest Sculptors, presented seven Argentine sculptors. José Luis De Leo, (Wood); Eduardo Calandria, (Stainless Steel); Julia Farjat, (Metal); Dario Kleer, (Direct Cement); Claudia Aranovich, (Polyester Resin); Karina Favaro, (Marble and Palo Santo); Edgardo Madanes, (Wicker). An Encounter of Indigenous Communities of Chaco, was a project with sculptor Juan Leiva. The temporary Ephemeral Aquatic Sculpture created a series of floating sculpture in the River Negro, El vuelo del pájaro sobre el agua (The Bird Flying over the Waters) by Argentine sculptor, Fábian Nanni. “I was interested in the history of this river and as I love wildlife, I decided to recreate birds which need to immerse to catch fish,”  Alejandro Arce and Gonzalo Colombo made Sand Sculptures on the theme of Natural Monuments and Species at Risk of Extinction.

Image: Fábian Nanni. El vuelo del pájaro sobre el agua (The Bird Flying over the Waters), Bienal del Chaco 2012



About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


2 thoughts on “Bienal del Chaco 2012: International Sculpture Festival. Resistencia, Argentina

  1. Baku Inoue – Japan the bestt !! greetings from buenos aires ! 😀

    Posted by charlie | November 25, 2012, 9:16 am


  1. Pingback: Bienal del Chaco 2014 – International Sculpture Biennial – Call for Submissions | AAJ Press - March 12, 2013

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