Over a century ago, Puerto Madero briefly became a commercial hub for Buenos Aires by allowing cargo ships to dock on the shallow shores of the Rio de la Plata. That promise was short-lived, however, and engineering advancements and construction of a new port made its advancements obsolete. After enduring years of neglect, the past two decades have seen major developments to the area, which has become a now-flourishing symbol of urban renewal. The Faena Arts Center, which opened in an old Belle Epoque-era mill last September, aims to further enrich the cultural scene, and its latest exhibition marks the Argentinean debut of Cuban collective Los Carpinteros.
Three large-scale works inhabit the expansive, natural-light filled space, each exploring the connection, and disconnect, between civilization’s progress and past. Avião sees a Piper Comanche plane pierced from below by a collection of wooden arrows, while a seemingly haphazard stack of cardboard “houses” that make up El Barrio rests precariously nearby. Alumbrado Público, or Public Lighting, is a site-specific installation–a succession five standard streetlamps are united by a coiling fusion of metal between their bases, taking on the effect of an organic, rather than electrically fueled, entity.
In addition, Argentine artist Manuel Ameztoy is concurrently displaying Pop-Up Paradises, an incredible array of hand-cut textiles draped throughout an expansive 630-square-meters on site. Taken together, it’s an auspicious first year for the Faena Arts Center. You can catch the two shows through August 12th.JK