“Paisajes políticos” - Carlos Trilnick

December 16th, 2023 - March 3rd, 2024

"Paisajes políticos" is an exhibition showcasing the work of Carlos Trilnick, currently on display in Room 4 at the Proa Foundation since December. Curated by Marcela Römer, a small selection of photographs and video installations created between 1989 and 2019 provide an introduction to the universe of this artist, curator, disseminator, and educator considered a pioneer of video art in Argentina and Latin America.

Carlos Trilnick (Rosario, 1957) passed away at an early age in 2020, leaving behind an extensive body of projects that mark a turning point in the local history of multimedia art and bear witness to his commitment to history, education, human rights, and memory. His interest in technology as a creative resource led him to experiment with various platforms—photography, installations, and videos—to produce pieces with a unique poetics influenced by themes such as time, space, and ideologies.

As prolific as his artistic legacy was his contribution to public education. He served as the director of the Image and Sound Design program at the Faculty of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism of the University of Buenos Aires from 2014 to 2018. He was also a professor of Expressive Media I and II in the Graphic Design program at the same institution, among other roles. Trilnick also stood out as a visiting professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California. He served as the artistic director of the Video and Electronic Arts Festival of Buenos Aires, held at the Recoleta Cultural Center and the San Martín Cultural Center between 1995 and 1996, in addition to participating in the management of various cultural activities.

One of his most valued academic contributions, which remains relevant, is the IDIS Project (Investigations in Image and Sound Design) that he created and directed with the aim of constructing a historiographical journey of image and sound design.


During the military government in Argentina, at the age of 18, Trilnick went into exile in Israel. During that period (1978 - 1983), he studied design, photography, and video at the Nery Bloomfield School of Design in Haifa, where he came into contact with contemporary art and the influences of the Bauhaus and Fluxus movements. When he returned to the country after the return of democracy, he encountered a very different landscape. However, he soon began working in television and could experiment with tools that were not yet available to video artists. The pieces exhibited at Proa date from different periods but provide an overview of the concerns that fueled his extensive production over more than 40 years of career, where the medium was never more important than the concept or what the artist had to say, as recalled by Römer.

"Traveling through America" (1989) is one of his early installations created with the technological resources of video available at the time, and where his interest in Latin American issues first emerged. This sort of "installative totem" consists of three stacked televisions projecting symbols of pre-Columbian America, simulating, in the author's words, a "Moebius strip." It is a piece that is visually traversed with the idea of infinity, and the image, technically, was created from a photocopy of a Latin American motif placed on a turntable and filmed from above, then manipulated and mixed with images taken during a journey on Route 9.

"Antipersonnel Mines" (2009) was designed in Argentina but was first presented on the campus of the University of San Diego as a site-specific work. It is an installation denouncing the scourge of fields filled with explosives left buried after major conflicts worldwide, which still today cause thousands of deaths and mutilations of innocent people who trigger them by just stepping on them. It was later exhibited at the Telefónica Foundation in a single-channel version and has now been specially reconstructed for Proa.

The video performance "Ground Zero" (2019) is a 360-degree video meant to be viewed with virtual reality headsets. It was filmed at the Atucha I nuclear power plant, just a few kilometers from the city of Buenos Aires, and is an unpublished work that Trilnick was able to complete with funding from the Metropolitan Fund for Culture. It was edited at the end of 2019, shortly before his death. Like this one, in several of his works, the artist appears performatically, embodying the art, as in "Why Paint a Black Painting," "Like an Absent Body," and "1978-2003," among others. This time, through the headset, it can be appreciated in HD quality. "In his explorations, he is constantly subverting technology. Carlos did not follow the user manual but preferred to see how he could play with it without following the rules. There is something underlying in this piece, and it is quantum physics, alluding to chance and probability, to quantum leaps," recalls Mónica Arbeláez, his widow.

The set of landscape-oriented photographs titled "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" were generated from incomplete and defective Internet downloads, a result of poor connectivity. The title alluding to the motto of the French Revolution refers to what the artist considers the three most relevant situations that digital technology has made possible: the freedom of creation, the equality of opportunities to access digital production resources, and the fraternity that allows the generation of networked communities, an idea that remains present in his research project, the IDIS Project (https://proyectoidis.org).

"Tierra del Fuego" consists of a vertical triptych framed like a medieval altarpiece. The photographs, taken with an analog camera, depict an ancient lenga forest destroyed by an intentional fire in the south, a phenomenon that continues to occur worldwide. The appearance of these burned trees resembles images of the crucifixion, hence the triptych format. The photographs in the "Sea" series were taken underwater by Trilnick, who awaited the sunset to capture the image he was looking for, according to his words: "The waves break while I am inside, and this creates a strong sense of planes, a lot of movement." In the video "Time Cannot Be Postponed," Trilnick can be seen once again as if walking on the sea, as a message of solidarity with migrants and refugees. In the artist's words: "Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:22-33), and Moses opened a path through the sea to liberate his people from slavery (Exodus 14).


The exhibition "Political Landscapes" can be visited until March 2024. It is accompanied by a comprehensive calendar of Educational Activities and Public Programs designed by the Education Department of the Proa Foundation to bring Carlos Trilnik's work to all audiences. Distance learning classes, guided family visits, cycles of meetings with audiovisual field references, and special activations aim to delve into the legacy of this prominent artist from Rosario.

Marcela Römer

General Coordination
Cecilia Jaime
Ananda Rigoni Aller

Organized by
Proa Foundation

Luis Campos

Carlos Trilnick Archive
Zoe Trilnick Farji
Mónica Arbeláez

Development of Interactive Installation
Diego Alberti

Mariano Ramis
Luz Emilia Milesi

Sponsored by
Tenaris – Ternium


Exhibition Design
Pablo Zaefferer

Image Design
Guillermo Goldschmidt - Leyla Magdycz

Marina Gambier
Ana Clara Giannini
Alba Rodríguez Arranz

Education - Public Programs
Noemi Aira
Rosario Garcia Martinez

Sonia Gugoli
Melina Herrero
Miranda Jacoby
Nur Nazur

Installation Team
German Berger - Santiago Contin
Francisco Donnerstag - Javier Ferrante
Santiago Migliavacca - Leonardo Toresín - Nicolas Valverde