Therapy: A Thread in the Argentine Labyrinth

Therapy: A Thread in the Argentine Labyrinth
11.27.20— 02.21.21

On the basis of his experience with patients in Vienna and Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, Sigmund Freud offered a working definition of the clinical practice: “Psychoanalysis provides the thread that leads the person out of the labyrinth of his own unconscious."

The exhibition Terapia: un hilo en el laberinto argentino [Therapy: A Thread in the Argentine Labyrinth] takes as its starting point the central place Freudian psychology has in Argentine culture through its discourse and therapy related to the unconscious, much in line with the reception of psychoanalysis in Europe and the USA at the beginning of the past century. The reception in Argentina, which initially had been somatic, then predominantly psychoanalytic and linguistic, started to shape popular visual culture, above all in its urban centers, and became an important influence in modern and contemporary art. It has been claimed that Argentina is probably the only place in the world where psychoanalysis is still highly respected academically and intellectually as well as on the individual therapeutic level.

Following various chapters of the country’s history of art and ideas, the exhibition Therapy proposes to trace the course of this intricate maze introduced by Freud’s disciples who arrived in Argentina in the 1930s leading up to Oscar Masotta's reinvention of Lacanian practice in the turbulent 1970s.

Before the legendary Asociacion Psicoanalítica Argentina (APA) was even founded in 1942, literary magazines published by Aldo Pellegrini and inspired by French surrealism already dealt with the unconscious. Other magazines such as Ciclo (1948-49), Letra y Línea (1953) and Boa (1958) followed suit. And even though the important magazine Arturo turned against psychoanalysis and surrealism as sources of inspiration, the Avant Gardists around this magazine set up an interdisciplinary exhibition at the house of psychoanalyst Enrique Pichón Riviere. Between 1960-70 interest in the unconscious reemerged, combined with a concern for the social order from a Lacanian perspective and an anti psychoanalysis stand, instigated by David Cooper at the Center of art and Communicacion (CAyC)

The exhibition does not claim to embody psychoanalysis in all its dimensions. The field is too extensive and dynamic to even aim for this. Our approach studies the importance of the field in both past and present in defining Argentine identity. The works on display will consist of both modern and contemporary pieces by Argentine artists dealing with the problematic of the unconscious.

Included will be works by Juan Batlle Planas (the Radiografías paranoicas [Paranoiac X-Ray] series), Xul Solar, Grete Stern, Emilio Renart, Mildred Burton (Emilia Gutiérrez), Yuyo Noé (Terapia series), Martha Peluffo, Lea Lublin, Oscar Masotta, Grupo de los Trece, Germaine Derbecq, Mirtha Dermisache, Marta Minujín, Guillermo Kuitca, Nicolás Guagnini, Marcelo Pombo, and a broad selection of documentary material.


Organized by a curatorial research team composed of Fernando Bruno, Florencia Malbrán, Gabriela Rangel, Daniela Rial and Verónica Rossi.