Lecture held by Ana Longoni as part of Open PEI

The creative strategies of the human rights movement during the last dictatorships in Argentina (1976–83) and in Chile (1973–90) may be recognised and contrasted by two great matrixes of visual representation of the disappeared: photographs and silhouettes. Both arose (almost) in parallel and have a long history that has turned them into signs referring unequivocally to the disappeared, even outside Latin America.
Since 1977, the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) have been inventing symbolic resources that identify them as a coherent group, while revealing to the families of the disappeared the existence and demands of Argentinean society and the international community. El Siluetazo (The Silhouette), 1983, points to one of those exceptional historical moments when an artistic initiative coincides with the demands of social movements and comes to the fore on the back of the masses. It required the participation, despite the threatening police presence, of hundreds of demonstrators who both painted and offered their own bodies for the tracing of silhouettes as representations of ‘the presence of an absence’: that of thousands of disappeared people.
After 1983 in Chile, new associations outside the partisan logic started intervening politically in the public space. Mujeres por la Vida (Women for Life), a collective of women with feminist beliefs and different ideological positions, and Movimiento Contra la Tortura Sebastián Acevedo (Sebastián Acevedo Movement Against Torture), whose ideological referent was Liberation Theology, responded actively to the persistent repression of Pinochet’s dictatorship through signals, traffic disruptions, quick actions and marches converging on unexpected parts of the city.

The term 'Open PEI' refers to the specific activities organised as part of the MACBA Independent Studies Programme that are open to the public.
These activities – which can include public debates, seminars, workshops, audiovisual screenings and lectures – share and bring to light the research lines developed in the PEI, which also engage with the MACBA's programme of exhibitions and activities.

Young people painting silhouettes during "el Siluetazo" at the Obelisk, Buenos Aires, December 8, 1983. Archivo Hasenberg - Quaretti. Colección Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales. Archivo Fotográfico Memoria Abierta


Wednesday 17 April, 7.30 pm

Ana Longoni is Doctor of Arts and lecturer at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Researcher at CONICET, playwright, political essayist and one of the most prominent modern and contemporary art historian in Latin America. She has written books of reference such as Del Di Tella a Tucumán Arde (From the Di Tella Institute to Tucumán Arde) and Traiciones. La figura del traidor en los relatos acerca de los sobrevivientes de la represión (Betrayals. The figure of the traitor in stories about the survivors of the repression), and a key essay on Oscar Masotta. She curated a retrospective of Roberto Jacoby and, as part of Red Conceptualismos del Sur, a colossal panoramic – currently in progress – on art and social activism in Latin America during the eighties; both at the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. She is a member of the coordinating team of the project Perder la forma humana. Arte y política en América latina en los años 80 (Losing the human form. Art and politics in Latin America in the eighties), on show at the MNCARS since October 2012 and touring later throughout Latin America.

MACBA Public Programs
Tel. 93 481 79 00
pei [at] macba [dot] cat




Creative strategies of the human rights movement in Argentina and Chile
EN CRISIS #3. Reflections at a critical juncture: Toni Serra, Ana Longoni and Rubén Martínez