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    Myths of the Near Future

    For more than forty years, every Thursday, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo have walked in circles around the Pirámide de Mayo, claiming their missing sons and daughters, disappeared by the last civic-military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). With their circling, each week the Madres create a new time that holds history and also holds future: sustaining their position, they move forward in the construction of a new paradigm of human rights and politics in Argentina. They have created a clock that is a conversation of times, that recreates itself week after week, and that is already part of our near future. In May 1980, while the Madres were already walking around the Pirámide, in Gwangju, the citizens rallied in circles around the fountain at the Provincial Hall Square, holding arms to sustain their position, to resist marshall law and the army’s attack on the city. During five days they took over the city government and orderly gathered around the fountain as the newly formed Citizen’s Settlement Committee, an expansive circle of waves, like a stone thrown into a fountain of time. A wave consists in the propagation of a disturbance of a property of space, which implies mobilizing energy without the movement of matter. Instead of compressing time, the wave expands it. The furthest ripple -the biggest one and the first one to appear- is constantly moving forward, thus time can be understood as a never-ending circular projection. These circular stories of resistance in motion, both in Argentina and South Korea, can be read as conclaves of time, from which myths of origin may arise.

    Myths of the near future presents projects that resonate in the gesture of moving forward safeguarding a position. It brings together four South Korean and four Argentine artists that use historical materials and experiences as sources for their practices, image production as a tool to circulate and sustain ideology, and who aim at the near future as the primary drift of memory. These unlikely encounters seek to foster the invention of a common language between two distant countries, a language that may allow us to share akin experiences of trauma, strategies for resistance and forms of memory, both directly linked or suggestively related to the military dictatorships that marked the 20th century in Argentina and Korea.

    Myths of the near future features artists that believe in the power of fiction to uphold or revise an inherited ideology and its tales, so to extract a future from the past. In the territory of fiction, information can become myth. And myths are one of the most efficient tools to uphold ideologies in
    the public realm. As ideology uses and survives inside different hosts, these artists recast past narratives with a multitude of new and unsettled imaginaries, topics and materials. They actively and poetically revisit militant films from the late 60s, old korean protest songs, degraded artisanal techniques, neglected archives, and chamanic rituals, they collaborate with others, human and non-human witnesses of tragedy and violence. The question these works respond to is not so much what happened in the past, but how to use it to imagine the future.
    Following the premise of creating an encounter of times that enables us to reach for other possible futures, the exhibition will take place at the ex ESMA Espacio de Memoria y Derechos Humanos [Remembrance and Human Rights Centre], the former Navy School of Mechanics, used as a clandestine detention, torture and extermination center during the last civic-military dictatorship in Argentina, and currently a protected site of memory and a monument for human rights, but also legal evidence in the trials to the perpetrators. Here, past and future coalesce, in the walls of the buildings, in the trees that witnessed it all, in the archives and the people that look after our collective memory.
    The exhibition will spread over six buildings of the Ex ESMA complex, all holding different cultural and Human Rights organizations: the Museo Sitio de Memoria [Memory Site Museum]; Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos [Memory and Human Rights Space] also known as Cuatro columnas [Four Columns]; the Centro Cultural de la Memoria Haroldo Conti; the Casa por la Identidad of Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo [House for Identity of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo]; Casa Nuestros Hijos, la Vida y la Esperanza, of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo Línea Fundadora [House our Children, Life and Hope]; 30.000 Compañeros Presentes [30.000 Comrades Present] of the organization Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos por Razones Políticas [Relatives of the Disappeared and Jailed for Political Reasons]. This is the first time, since the recovery of the complex in 2004, that these buildings will come together under one sole exhibition and narrative.
    The project includes the local premiere of Im Heung-soon’s film Good Air, Good Light, new commissions by all four Argentine artists: Adrián Villar Rojas, Agustina Triquell, Euardo Molinari and Lucrecia Lionti. As well as specially selected works by Korean artists Part-Time Suite, Choi Yun and Hong Young In, this is the first time their work will be exhibited in Latin America.

    Title Myths of the Near Future
    Curator Javier Villa, Sophia Dourron
    Dates TBC
    Venue ex ESMA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Free admission  


    Javier Villa (Buenos Aires, 1978) is an artist and curator based in Buenos Aires. From 2013 he is the Senior Curator of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. He studied Art History at the University of Buenos Aires and participated in De Appel Curatorial Program 2010-2011, Amsterdam. As an independent curator, he made several exhibitions in institutions in Argentina and abroad, including co-curator of Fluiten in het Donker, De Appel Arts Center, Amsterdam, A Tale of Two Worlds. Experimental Latin American Art in Dialogue with the MMK Collection 1944-1989, in Museum fûr Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt / Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires and participated as a curatorial collaborator of the 13th Istanbul Biennale. As Senior Curator of the museum he made, among others, the following exhibitions: Diego Bianchi. El presente está encantador(2017), Liliana Maresca: El mojo avizor. Obras 1982–1994 (2017) and Una historia de la imaginación en la Argentina(2019). He was a professor at the Di Tella University between 2009 and 2013, dictating the seminars for the artist program in 2014, 2018 and 2019. Since 2005 he has been part of the Rosa Chancho artist collective and in 2019 he participated at Lyon Biennale. His current work researches the relationships between fiction, politics and territory in Argentine history and Latin American colonial history, experimenting with the mutability of artistic matter as a vehicle to address time.
    Sofía Dourron (Buenos Aires, 1984) is an independent researcher and curator based in Buenos Aires. She holds a BA in Art History and Management and an MA in Latin-American Art History. Recently she participated in De Appel Curatorial Porgramme 2018-2019, and in the International Research Fellowship 2019 of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea. Between 2015 and 2018 she was a Curator at the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires, where she curated shows by Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Sergio Avello, Elba Bairon, Lino Divas, and others. Since 2011 she was part of the independent space La Ene, New Energy Museum of Contemporary Art, which she directed between 2015 and 2018. Her current work researches the relationships between the Latin-American decolonial perspective, the notion of the decolonization of the unconscious, artistic practices, activisms, and traditions in different regions of the global south.