Malba opens its 2023 season with Del cielo a casa, an overview of Argentine material culture from the dawn of the twentieth century to the present in dialogue with the country’s political, social, and emotional imaginary.
Like an archive of daily life, the show brings together over six hundred pieces (objects, artworks, and documents) that have shaped everyday life in Argentina. Its ethnographic vision focuses more on the uses, customs, rituals, and symbolisms of the things that form a society than on authorship or production processes.
“The exhibition’s fabric of objects and the spaces where we live and work constitutes a wide network of meaning. In this slice of the archive of the country’s everyday life, design, art, industry, and history hybridize to connect us with our identity on an emotional level. We are invited to travel into the recent past and revisit the events and future longings it witnessed,” states the interdisciplinary curatorial team of historians, graphic and industrial designers, architects, and editors that developed the exhibition’s concept and layout.
Thematic clusters forge a constellation of things gathered not on the basis of chronology, hierarchy of value, or category of discipline, thus undermining the boundaries of use and blurring the line between art and design. The exhibition encompasses three major regions: the identity of the territory; design outside canons; and the political, social, and economic challenges the country has faced.
Del cielo a casa does not formulate a historiography of Argentine design, but rather explores the country’s life in common through things. It encompasses grand utopian visions as well as everyday life, a helicopter as well as a sneaker, the stent designed by an Argentine physician as well as the Pulpo-brand rubber ball—“things for life,” in the words of avant-garde designer Gerardo Clusellas (1929–1973).
The pieces come from different archives and public and private collections in Argentina, among them the collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, a pioneering institution that as early as 1963 brought design into public life by exhibiting it as cultural production and development tool. No less important is the contribution of Fundación IDA (Investigación en Diseño Argentino), a nonprofit foundation that, since 2013, has fostered research, conservation, communication, and restoration of Argentine design.
The exhibition also contains audiovisual materials, specifically short institutional, advertising, and vintage films from the archives of Filmoteca Buenos Aires selected by Fernando Martín Peña (director of Malba Cine) and from the archive of Museo del Cine “Pablo Ducrós Hicken”, selected by Raúl Manrupe and Andrés Levinson.
The exhibition opens sixty years after the first design exhibition held in Argentina (CIDI, 1963) and forty years after the return to democracy, a turning point in Argentina’s social and institutional life.
Curatorial team: Adamo Faiden, Leandro Chiappa, Gustavo Eandi, Carolina Muzi, Verónica Rossi, Juan Ruades, Martín Wolfson y Paula Zuccotti.