30 January – 31 May 2015
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Curated by: Valentín Roma
Catalogue: El sexo que habla
Teatro proletario de cámara (Proletarian Chamber Theatre) brings to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) the most comprehensive compilation of the visual work of Osvaldo Lamborghini (Buenos Aires, 1940 – Barcelona, 1985). The exhibition offers an insight into the sharp radicality of an artist still uncharted by the aesthetic accounts of the eighties.
Osvaldo Lamborghini is one of the great figures of contemporary Argentine literature. With only three books published in his lifetime – El fiord (1969), Sebregondi retrocede (1973) and Poemas (1980) – alongside Novelas y cuentos (1988) and Tadeys (incomplete, 1994), which appeared posthumously, his legend has continued to grow, making him a true cult figure for several generations of Latin American and European writers. His work anticipates the contemporary graphic novel, the self-published fanzine, the aesthetics of comics and expanded literature, to mention some traditional book overflows.
However, the exhibition at MACBA focuses on an as yet unexplored aspect of Lamborghini’s career: his vast visual production, made while living in Barcelona between 1981 and 1985, of so far unpublished photographic collages, which had been kept in the archive of the writer and poet since his death.
Teatro proletario de cámara presents, for the first time in a museum, the most comprehensive compilation of Lamborghini’s work, offering us an insight into to the sharp radicality of an artist still uncharted by the aesthetic accounts of the eighties.
The exhibition is divided into four main sections:
1) An unabridged display of the originals of Teatro proletario de cámara, a book-object entirely conceived by Lamborghini and which was not published until 2008, as a reduced facsimile.
The Argentine writer dedicated the last years of his life, spent in Barcelona, to this unclassifiable volume, which can be seen as a summary of his visual work. Throughout its more than 500 pages circulates the political fauna of that time, inviting us to see it as a corrosive chronicle of pre-Olympic Barcelona.
2) The presentation of more than twenty handmade notebooks, where the author alternates photomontage, political chronicle and personal diary.
Lamborghini’s unwavering commitment to self-publishing (one of his most quoted phrases is: ‘First publish, then write’) led him to make his own handmade notebooks, in which he elaborated photomontages underpinned by aphorisms, fragments of literary descriptions, short poems and double ententes.
3) A selection of 73 large-format collage-drawings with expressionist drawings and images recycled from pornographic publications of the time.
These collages combine abstract compositions, figurative drawings and pornographic images, and demonstrate the influence of the Italian Transavanguard, one of the most characteristic pictorial tendencies of the eighties, together with the so-called New German Painting, on Lamborghini’s aesthetic practice. The films of R.W. Fassbinder and Pier Paolo Pasolini also sparked an intense fascination in the writer, who dedicated numerous allusions to these authors, both in his writings and his artwork.
4) His pictorial and photographic interventions in over a dozen books bought from publishers’ discount sales.
One of the most remarkable episodes in the visual work of Lamborghini is the ‘tuning’ of books that the publishing industry had discarded. These volumes could be about the most outlandish subjects, yet the writer seems to have a kind of autistic dialogue with them that sets out to ‘offend’ the original text with eschatological proclamations, pornographic cuttings and drawings that undermine their stereotyped messages.
The exhibition is completed with a selection of the writer’s personal library, namely the set of books gathered under the heading of ‘ART’, which are still preserved in his final Barcelona residence. The titles that make up the inventory question the DNA traditionally associated with Lamborghini, while helping us to understand the influence of certain artists and theorists in the deployment of his artwork. These volumes reaffirm Lamborghini’s wealth of artistic information, and his relationship to contemporary painters, musicians, filmmakers and essayists.
Also included in the exhibition are all the books published by Lamborghini in their original editions together with the different magazines with which he worked, and some manuscripts written and corrected in his own handwriting.
Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue entitled El sexo que habla, including five essays written especially for the publication by novelists César Aira and Alan Pauls, philosopher Paul Beatriz Preciado, literary critic Antonio Jiménez Morato, and essayist and curator of the exhibition, Valentín Roma. The publication also features nearly two hundred illustrations documenting the variety of subjects, media and techniques in Lamborghini’s visual oeuvre.