CUIR | "Queering in times of pandemic"

Ariel Schettini, Página/12 | Buenos Aires, Argentina, 22 January 2021

Influential Argentinean newspaper Página/12 reviews our latest virtual exhibition, CUIR | Curated by Chiachio & Giannone presented online by Isabel Croxatto Galería, for its LGBT supplement SOY.

The publication is available today in all newsagents in Argentina, and online here (in Spanish).

Find an English translation below.



CUIR: online exhibition at Isabel Croxatto Galería

Queering in Times of Pandemic


The team of Argentinean artists Chiachio & Giannone curate and queerate a spectacular exhibition at Isabel Croxatto Galería in Santiago, which is now online! United by social distance and by the differences that intertwine us, CUIR is a virtual and real meeting ground.  

We already know that the pandemic makes us rethink all previously agreed categories that had kept us calm... and in this state of uncertainty and disbelief, one thing has triumphed: Internet technology and its variations. Whether this is for better or for worse... let someone else think about it.

But we may, as a result of what has happened, find ourselves with some new possibilities. The first certainty we are going to banish is that of the value of the real over the virtual. Or, to put it another way, the only thing that will survive, apparently, is the possibility of materials changing their genre, their appearance of materiality, and so on. In art we can see this at every moment. We are overpopulated with virtual exhibitions and invitations to verify that it is still possible to reconfigure oneself in art. And if it's true that contemporary art was the first to think about how the new subjectivities would present themselves, now they can also think about another way of the trans: the transmaterial and the transmaterials.

Chiachio & Giannone, embroidery artists highly acclaimed on the international art scene, who are always at the forefront of subjectivities, materials and styles, dedicated themselves during this pandemic to selecting and curating a series of works that they show at Isabel Croxatto Galería in Santiago, Chile, but which, due to the beneficial effect of the pandemic (as if there were any), can be visited on its website (www. ), until 10 March, in a marvellous virtual tour as if you were walking through the gallery; if you dim the lights in your room a little and pour yourself a glass of white Carménère wine (the Chilean grape par excellence), it's exactly as if you were at the inauguration "vernissage", open just for you. 

The exhibition is titled "CUIR", the name used to designate dissidence, both from the patriarchal norm, as well as from the new norm that has created the institutionalisation and normalisation of all queer movements, which hold the space of judgement, threat or, merely, ideological uniformity; or what the theory of culture now shows as protest groups that know how to play the game of power.

As the curators know both the field of their work and the medium they work with, the show has the effect of allowing us to go from the theme of the critique of the norm and heteronormativity (which is already a classic in LGBT culture), to another theme, which is the critique of the relationship between materials, their exhibition possibilities and, in general, a new reflection that is now necessary on representation and the politics of representation in general. For this reason, too, the selected artists for the exhibition form part of a global universe, which is where these new disputes take place. Some of them are Aaron McIntosh (United States), Cristina Coll (Argentina), Curtis Putralk (Chile/France), Joey Terrill (United States), Juvenal Barría (Chile), Max Colby (United States), Rodrigo Mogiz (Brazil), and Sebastián Calfuqueo (Chile), among others, gathering embroidery, photography, drawing, painting, video and performance.

And, what's more, the show is conceived in a deliberately nocturnal space, so that you don't know whether you're entering an exhibition, a disco or a dark-room. Or, as the curators say: 'We wanted it to be a night scene, to blur the boundary a little bit between the exhibition and the party.'

That is to say, it is about mixing a series of experiences that are very heterogeneous but converge in the same perspective. They put it this way: 'When we began to think about the project, the idea was enormous; we wanted to work with artists that interested us from all over the world. And in the end, with the pandemic we managed to make it more viable, because it was organising a virtual world. The criteria we were interested in brought together the twenty artists along several axes: love and sexuality, identity, family, and another, very important one, is that of generations. There are artists from twenty to over sixty. So it is trans-generational and combines different periods.'

On one side, we can see the materials of an individual and intimate personal experience of the erotic universe with its spaces of realisation and fantasies (from dance slippers to the gloryhole in the public bathroom); on the other side, there is the political experience of segregation or discrimination in the public, work or social space (such as the re-aestheticisation or over-aestheticisation of pornography); but it is also possible to think about the way in which sexual dissidence and discrimination against the norm generate areas, materials and techniques that already contain the idea of a heterodoxy of usage (the porn tapestry, embroidery, collage, etc.). Chiachio & Giannone themselves are included in the exhibition they curate, as if to point out that we are talking about a performance collective rather than individualities. They know how to use apparently "minor" or "degraded" materials to provoke a work that is critical of the distribution of prestige and honours to the piece and its "authors".

The exhibition is a narration in which, beyond the artists, a story is told, like someone who tells you about the party they were at the night before.



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