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Oscar Masotta. Theory as action

After touring through Mexico City and Barcelona, the exhibition about the Argentinian semiologist and researcher arrived to Remembrance Park in Buenos Aires, curated by Ana Longoni and produced by the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

The exhibition reconstructs the intellectual career of this thinker who was born in Buenos Aires on 1930 and went into exile in 1975 to Barcelona, where he settled until his untimely death on 1979. The research, that took four years on the making, highlights the journey followed by the multifaceted theoretician and artist, a “true modernizing hero”and a key actor in the transformation of both the Argentine and Ibero-American cultural field between the 50's and the 70's.

The project provides an in-depth examination of his multiple and mutating interests: from literature and political activism to the artistic avant-garde, comic strips, and lacanian psychoanalysis, with a heterodox perspective that intertwines existentialism, marxism, semiology, and structuralism, among other paradigms.

So far, approaches to the subject had focused on isolated features of his career, emphasizing his role as either a literary reviewer or an introducer and promotor of lacanian psychoanalysis in Argentina, Mexico, and Spain. In contrast, the current exhibition seeks to integrate the diverse constellation of readings and influence areas that Masotta managed to articulate in a common pathway.

The documental material displayed comes from diverse origins. Along with the artistic work of Masotta himself, the exhibition shows pieces by some of the artists about whom he wrote (Roberto Jacoby, Eduardo Costa, Raúl Escari, Marta Minujín, Edgardo Giménez, Charlie Squirru, Dalila Puzzovio, Rubén Santantonín, Luis Wells, Alberto Greco).

The exhibit also reveals Masotta's influential legacy in the contemporary art arena by linking it to the production of people such as Gonzalo Elvira, Dora García, Guillermina Mongan, and the collective Un Faulduo, while asking about the present impact of his work by examining one of the author's key concepts: theoretic exercise as (political) action.

The W chair, the Copa seat and the Pop-Op dolls created by César Jannello, Masotta's friend and academic supporter, and the commemorative poster of the installation* ¿Por qué son tan geniales?*, designed by the Torcuato de Tella Institute students (ITDT) Giménez, Puzzovio, and Squirru, are among the pieces provided by –I–D–A Foundation to the exhibit.

See catalogue


Place: Remembrance Park – Monument to the Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism, Buenos Aires.

Date: November 9, 2018 to February 24, 2019.

Before: MUAC, Mexico City (from April 27 to August 20, 2017); MACBA, Barcelona (from March 23 to September 11, 2018).

Curatorship: Ana Longoni.

Curatorship and research assistant: Guillermina Mongan.

Collaborators: Amanda de la Garza and Hiuwai Chu.


Source: MUAC, MACBA and Remembrance Park – Monument to the Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism.