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Fuera de la Línea

Fuera de la Linea opened last month and will run until June 28 at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Rosario (MACRo), a remarkable building built within abandoned grain storage silos overlooking the river Paraná in Rosario, Argentina.

Set across six floors, the exhibition showcased work from Argentina artists Nerf, Pum Pum, Jaz, Ever, Georgina Ciotti, Poeta, Roma, Andrés Bonavera (Larva), Lucas Lasnier (Parbo), Pedro Perelman (PMP)rundontwalkNazza Stencil, Argentine art collectives federación stickboxing, DOMA & FASE together with Brazilian artists Gen Duarte, Zezau, Fefe Talavera and Highraff.

With an all-star lineup, featuring some of the best known and loved graffiti and street artists from Argentina and Brazil it was perhaps inevitable that Fuera de la Linea would be described as an exhibition of “graffiti art” in the press, however this wasn’t how curators and siblings Lucas Zambrano & Soledad Zambrano presented their exhibition. Instead of focusing on the relationship the exhibiting artists have with the streets, the curators presented them as vanguards that have consistently pushed traditional artistic boundaries – and worked “fuera de la linea” (outside the line). This subtle shift in presentation avoided any preconceptions of what a “graffiti art” exhibition should incorporate, and allowed the curators to focus on demonstrating how the artists have challenged convention.

The exhibition had been two years in the making, and to the curators it represented a progression from the work they had begun when they arranged for street artists to create collaborative murals in Carabobo & Puan subway stations. This had been a seminal moment for street art in Argentina, and represented institutional recognition for the main styles of Argentine street art. These murals were part of the long running project to capture Argentina’s artistic heritage within the subte network.

The inclusion of Brazilian artists in an exhibition of Argentine vanguards was an interesting move. The curators explained that they wanted to highlight the international quality of many of these artists’ work. In the same way they have pushed beyond the limitations of canvases and galleries, they have also taken their art beyond national borders. Artistically there has always been a special relationship between Argentina & Brazil. For many, Sao Paulo holds the crown as the most important city for street art in Latin America. Brazilian artists played an important role during the formative years of the Argentine scene, and ties remain strong between the two movements.

The exhibition was striking both in terms of the styles represented and the variety of work on display. DOMA & FASE (who had joined forces to become FAMA) created an extraordinary installation featuring an enormous wooden golem. Lying on the floor and set against a painted city backdrop, the golem had been coated in luminous paint and came to life when the lights were shut off and his glowing skeletal form was revealed. Two floors of the exhibition were dedicated to murals, and showcased a glorious display of techniques, styles and colours from Argentine and Brazilian artists who had collaborated to make creative use of the space. Two floors featured videos, photography and a space for sponsors, and the top floor of the museum featured a gallery of framed pieces together with a spectacular installation from Kid Gaucho & Federico Felici. Whilst the gallery was perhaps the most conventional use of space, it demonstrated how easily the artists could work “within the lines” when they wanted to.

True to its theme, the standout elements of the show were the occassions where artists had breached the conventional spaces, whether that meant extending beyond a framed canvas, splashing a concept across the museums’ walls or spilling out into the stairwell, where the Rosario collective Federación Stickboxing had covered the staircase between each floor in stickers, pasteups and stencils. The whole exhibition bristled with energy and colour, and collaboration between different artists & collectives was evident throughout.

The exhibition was visually spectacular and conceptually intriguing. With the majority of the artists exhibiting being best known for their works in the street, it would have been all too easy to position the show as one of “Argentine street art”. By avoiding the “street art” label, the curators highlighted something different and ultimately more interesting – the constantly changing relationship these artists have with materials, techniques, environments and audiences.

Photos below are from our flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/graffitimundo/