PLACE: TACUAREMBO Instalação de letras em Tacuarembó, Uruguai | Letter installation at Tacuarembó (Uruguay) 140x170cm (photo) |
Tacuarembó, in Uruguay, is the geographical center of the pampas. In the past few decades, it has also come to be known as the pampas’ capital. For Gauchos, referring to the gaucho culture and people from Uruguay, Argentina and the state of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), this city is a cultural reference, a crossroads of converging events in the pampas: considered the very capital of this autonomous region, where three distinct countries have combined their cultures to discover their own common cultural identity. Tacuarembó is a city (as well as region) where many indigenous archaeological sites remain buried – although already mapped, they have not been unearthed due to issues of protection and cultural preservation. The work in Tacuarembó is based on signs that show the names of cities (the kind often placed on a main road to show the entrance to cities in the Brazilian countryside). The sign consists of large letters made of concrete, set up on the ground, forming the locality’s name. In the work, concrete letters spelling out “TACUAREMBÓ” were partially buried at the entrance of the city so that only one third of the sign can be seen above ground. Besides the installation in the city, the photograph “Lugar:Tacuarembó” (“Place: Tacuarembó”) is also a work in itself, somewhere between the photographic record and photography as artwork, autonomous in relation to the installation. This piece was also conceived considering my political position in relation to the proposal of the Mercosul Biennial – whose very name designates an economic treaty, the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUL). All issues related to executing my work (such as transport, customs clearance, exporting materials for works of art, etc.) were extremely complex and made even worse due to the fact that, in practice, this treaty does not work. Although, in theory, the Mercosul’s objective is to facilitate foreign trade and exchange between countries involved in the treaty, in reality, exchanges are practically inexistent and made difficult in the context of cultural, political and economic exchanges. In this sense, realizing this installation for the Mercosul Biennial outside of Brazil was, for me, a necessary action provoking reflection about what it means to exhibit art within the context of the Mercosul, explicit in the very name of this Biennial.