Liliana Maresca

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Pera Museum, in collaboration with Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), is one of the main venues for this year’s 15th Istanbul Biennial from 16 September to 12 November 2017.
Through the biennial, we will be sharing detailed information about the artists and the artworks.

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The sculptures and actions of Liliana Maresca, who died in 1994 of AIDS, were done in the wake of the Argentinian dictatorship and ensuing state violence, which ended in 1983: a period of state terrorism, bloody strife and numerous unresolved disappearances.

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Maresca’s untitled series of photographs from 1984 comprise a laconic photo performance, documented by Marcos Lopez. The abandoned Marconetti building, near Buenos Aires’ Parque Lezama, in whose empty interior the performance took place against a background of peeling wallpaper, was being occupied at the time by artists such as Maresca’s collaborator Daniel Riga.

Zyrtcszbienal_004In one photograph, a hand reaches into the frame holding a small egg, the white light reflecting on the outstretched palm as well as the open door behind it. In another, we see a number of open doors in a room. Representing a transition between exterior and interior, this image has political valence: a political way forward by means of personal actions. For the installation Recolecta (1990/2017), a real cart rented from a cartonero (or cart-pusher) is exhibited. The figure of the cartonero was prevalent in the early 1990s in Argentina and during the major economic crisis of 2001. After the neoliberal policies of the new government plunged many into poverty, wheelbarrows became a common sight, used by individuals to collect paper garbage in exchange for a small refund. For Maresca, the Recolecta series can be thought of as three stages: the real; formal representation (the white cart); and as an ironic national symbol during a neoliberal age. The objects’ transmutation into metal recalls alchemy and transformation (interests of Maresca’s after her HIV diagnosis). Grounded in, but transcending, immediate politics and personal crisis, Maresca’s work speaks quietly and authoritatively of loss, care, transition, and the fragility of livelihoods.

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