Since the early nineties Elba Bairon has been producing works that are characterized by a highly personal use of casting, paper, drawing and sculpture, resulting in pieces with a perfectionist finish. In this case, Bairon proposes for the Contemporary Space an installation composed of drawings, reliefs and objects. Various abstract figures dialogue with a character in a scene without clear explanation, typical of the absurd discourse that so often appeals to the artist in her works.
Dialogue and silence in the cafeteria, and like in Alice’s wonderland: time stands still, there is a rabbit , tempting food, and what appears to be the prelude to some unknown adventure.
Installation in the cafeteria. Casting, iron, synthetic enamel and stencil on wall.
Elba Bairon was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1947. Since 1967 she has been living and working in Buenos Aires.
In the 90s she began working on reliefs and pieces with volume. She exhibited objects and installations in solo and group exhibitions in the C.C. Rojas, C.C. Recoleta, Museum of Contemporary Art in Bahía Blanca, C.C. Parque España (Rosario), Latin American Institute of Rome, ARCO (Madrid), Art Basel (Basel), Art Frankfurt, and various others.
She studied engraving and lithography. In 1984 and 1987 she won the Foreign Award for Engravings at Buenos Aires’s prestigious Salón Nacional. In 1998 she was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2001 she received the Acquisition Prize at the Contemporary Art Biennial in Bahia Blanca.
Since the 1980s she has been participating in solo and group exhibitions in Buenos Aires at such establishments as the National Engraving Museum, the Salón Nacional and the Adriana Indik Gallery. She also exhibited at Intergrafik (Berlin), the Washington Printmakers Gallery, the Ninth Engraving Biennial in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Osaka Engraving Triennial, among others.
Texts and Links
Elba Bairon and the long dilemma of beauty. By Ana María Battistozzi. Clarín (newspaper), 24/5/2003
"Rigorous forms, though imperfect in their configuration, are displayed on the floor and on shelves, specially designed to contain and compensate for the instability that dominates them. It gives the impression that, if not for these devices, they would not be able to sustain themselves alone and would have long ago fallen, much like those fragments of archaeological remnants scattered on a table, or that out-sized female figurine collapsing in the middle of the room under the gaze of a baby chick.
Perhaps it is as Daniel Molina states in the catalog’s introductory text: that these latest ones are ideas that have taken form; the incarnation of pure objects in the sense that Plato gave them and, being so, exist somewhere out beyond the real world. As such, this exhibition can be viewed as a way to raise the ancient problem of the possibility of recognizing beauty. Or at least what it implies and has implied throughout the ages, and if this experience is still possible. "
By Marta Dillon. Página 12 (newspaper), Supplemental section, 9/5/2003
"She is a rigorous woman who seeks constantly to strip away the unnecessary, both in her work and her life, by choice and necessity. Because her art is the reflection of a personal universe in which she lives, in this world and in these coordinates of time and space, she has not been able (or wanted) to take herself away from this period of loss and dispossession. On this occasion she sought the extreme simplicity of form, she took on a body, as she calls it, but a body referring to pure simplicity, 'without any popular sentiment,' trying only to be faithful to herself, to what was written on a piece of paper and which can be as simple as 'all opaque.' Instructions that could not be followed because afterwards they seemed lacking in sense, though the only thing that was truly brilliant in her exhibition was a 'black hole' that, according to the maker, was a cup of ice cream; for this writer, at least the trace of a lick, in its reflection, makes reference to the moisture of saliva.
Once upon a time, this woman of 55 years was moved by the rigor of technique. It was when she left the School of Fine Arts in Montevideo to study Chinese painting. She was amazed by its strict, rule-oriented world, acting as a container for those who had previously led wandering lives. At five years old she left her parents’ country, Bolivia, to seek refuge from political persecution. The family passed through Brazil and Argentina before having to disband to survive, and Elba was sent to live with an aunt in Uruguay. That's where the rigid limits of Chinese painting, almost a sort of calligraphy for her, taught her how chance and the will can combine to turn a traced line into a drawing. It was after this attachment to the norm that she traveled to Buenos Aires, studied engraving because she was still unable to let go of the security of technical support, and then dropped everything to devote herself to raising her children. Still, she never stopped drawing. ‘I cannot say if I won or lost the time I devoted to my children,’ says Elba with a mother’s modesty. What’s true is that she needed that quiet time to find her own language, to venture to work in volumes, and to find in these volumes the material with which she would build her private universe. "