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Matrices, Women of Design. Chapter 1: Origin and Activism

After four years of research, the Kirchner Cultural Center will host the first event of the series of exhibitions planned to legitimize and communicate the priceless work women have achieved in the field of Argentine design.

As part of the Working Women’s Week “We Move the World”, the exhibition, co-organized by the Ministry of Women, Genders, and Diversity and the National Ministry of Culture, “Matrices, Women of Design. Chapter 1: Origin and Activism” will open at the Kirchner Cultural Center on March 4 at 18:30 hrs.

“Matrices…” was curated by Silvia Fernández and IDA Foundation, represented by Marina Baima, Sebastián Rodríguez, and Wustavo Quiroga, and will be presented in two exhibit rooms where past and present, seen from a federal perspective, intersect.

Room 504, named “Origin”, displays the work of 31 pioneer women designers, who were active from the 30’s to the 70’s, within five historical settings presented in chronological order. This embryonic stage is organized following three disciplinary axes: product and industrial design, graphic and visual communication, and textile and garment design.

That section of the exhibition examines the first productive processes from which women participated as members of the craft while analyzing the ways in which these self-taught creators practiced design guided mainly by their talent and personal searches. Next, the “modern” women designers take center stage with artwork supported on theoretical basis and manifestoes influenced by the artistic avant-gardes of the early 20th century. Yet another group exemplifies the role played by women designers in terms of re-defining craftwork through the recovery –and updating– of handmade products marked by the use of native materials and self-production practices. Later on, within the context of the 1960’s, visual avant-gardes are put on the spotlight, as well as relevant developments such as the availability of materials like acrylic and PVC that were incorporated to new ways of living and consuming. Finally, the professionalization process within institutional and business spheres is addressed through the showcase of corporate, mass produced images supported on standardizing rationales.

While, in 505, entitled “Activism”, the focus is centered on the present and future perspectives as seen by two groups: Design Cooperative, the first feminist organization of professional designers devoted to recover enterprises and demand rights; and Hay Futura, a collectivity comprised by more than 150 women and dissident groups that have launched a public manifesto.

All attempts to re-write historical narratives stem from present concerns or needs and aim at producing new paradigms originated by critical analysis. Today, as never before, women all over the world are organizing themselves with the goal of making visible the gender inequities that they have suffered in the past and are still enduring. Accompanying this process, IDA (Research in Argentine Design) has begun to gather its patrimonial collection with the purpose of highlighting the work of women, ignored in historiography so far, and other non-official narratives, thus accepting both the challenge and the responsibility of building a more inclusive “Museum of Argentine Design”.

The exhibition includes artwork by: Victoria Ocampo, Grete Stern, Sonia Maissa de Landini, Lucrecia Moyano, Susi Aczel, Fridl Loos, Lidy Prati, Leonor Rigau, Celina Arauz de Pirovano, Colette Boccara, Celina Castro, Mary Tapia, Ana Van Ditmar, Rosita Bailón, Medora Madero, Dalila Puzzovio, Renata Schussheim, Ángela Vassallo, Josefina Ayerza, Fanny Fingermann, Margarita Paksa, Josefina Rodríguez Bauzá, Mónica Garate, María Luisa Colmenero, Gladys González, María Inés López, Ana María Haro, Margarita Marotta, Lala Méndez Mosquera, Eva Neuman, and Sara Torossian; alongside creations by the groups Design Cooperative and Hay Futura.


Date: from March 4 to April 19, 2020.

Place: Kirchner Cultural Center (CCK), Buenos Aires.

Curators: Silvia Fernández + IDA Foundation (Marina Baima, Sebastián Rodríguez, and Wustavo Quiroga).

Production: Mora Caraballo, Paula Lombardi, and Verónica Mercer.

Research: Agostina Casalet, Franco Chimento, Carolina Corti, Inés Courtiar, Cecilia Durán, Diego Gómez Acuña, Clara Encabo, Jorgelina Janco, Constanza Martínez, Sebastián Mur, María Sol Navarro, Emmanuel Pan, Mara Pagiari, Daniela Quintana, Jessica Tamara Rosser, Juan Ruades, Susana Saulquin, Mariel Szlifman, Kika Tarelli, Mariana Vidakovics de Victor, and Vanessa Zuin.

Institutional Support: Trends Observatory, INTI

Graphic Design: Zky Sky Studio

Fonts: Gabriella, by Fer Cozzi, and Bitter, by Sol Matas.