Green manifesto: art as a bridge between nature, civilization and the climate crisis

Green manifesto: art as a bridge between nature, civilization and the climate crisis

December 13, 2023

At the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Buenos Aires, the exhibition "Green Manifesto" establishes a dialogue between the work of Nicolás García Uriburu and contemporary artists. A journey anchored in nature, and its beauty, with a critical look at the impact of human action on the environment, which invites us to re-educate our perception of the world.

“I denounce with my art the antagonism between nature and civilization. That's why I color my body, my sex and the waters of the world. The most evolved countries are in the process of destroying water, land and air, reserves of the future in Latin American countries.”

(Nicolás García Uribiru, 1971)
By Agustín Serruya and Ivana Carino

Some vestige of Heraclitus' aphorism appears after seeing the exhibition "Green Manifesto" (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Buenos Aires), especially if we consider that premise that maintains that going through any type of artistic piece is an experience that modifies the condition of being and being in the world. In this case, questioning the links that we establish with the set of materials that make up the cosmos - nature - is presented as an imminent action, as well as understanding that between one instance and another there is no rupture, but rather we are part of what same.

In these times where the extreme polarization of ideas, doubt or denial, in the most exaggerated of formats, gain ground over questioning and a critical gaze; The museum stages works that, proactively, have evoked themes linked, for example, to climate issues, even long before the debate on climate change is discussed in the public sphere. Works that denounce extractivism and deforestation in advance, before everything becomes a sea of soybeans or that pre-exist the former president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro and his plan to destroy the Amazon.

In this framework, we can say that in the history of Latin American art, the denunciation of the unbridled exploitation of nature finds its starting point in the work of Nicolás García Uriburu (1937-2006). The action of dyeing the waters of the Grand Canal fluorescent green, during the celebration of the 34th Venice Biennale, in June 1968, emerged not only as an incipient act of protest that revealed the emergence of the ecological crisis worldwide, but also constituted an event of creative resonance in contemporary artistic practice. From here, we seek to challenge the condition of hierarchy and imposition that human beings exert on nature.

"Green Manifesto", imagination to power

García Uriburu, his story, his works and actions marked a before and after when it came to creating ecological awareness. “Green Manifesto” is an exhibition about that, an invitation to reflect on the intervention that man exerts on landscapes; a criticism of the excessive production proposed by capitalism, of the desolation that remains after the explosive “development”, as well as an attempt to value the natural riches of our continent.

Through the story constructed by Alejandra Aguado —who was in charge of the curatorship— and Rodrigo Barcos —curatorial assistant—, the exhibition, which is located in Rooms A and B of the Museo Moderno (Av. San Juan 350) until the 31st December, proposes finding ways of conciliation between humanity and nature through an imaginary dialogue that emerges from the work of García Uriburu and the works of contemporary artists such as Luis Fernando Benedit, Florencia Böhtlingk, Melé Bruniard, Juana Butler, Feliciano Centurión, Nora Correas, Casimiro Domingo, Raquel Forner, Ricardo Garabito, Edgardo Giménez, Juan Grela, Aid Herrera, Lido Iacopetti, Marcelo Pombo and Juan Tessi, among others. The exhibition, in total, includes 80 works that were created between the 1940s and the present.