Adriana Bustos


Bahía Blanca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1965


            Adriana Bustos' conceptual work resembles that of an archivist: she seeks to find and produce images capable of radiating into the present the light of a set of complex socio-historical phenomena that seem to have been forgotten. It is precisely a specific ethic when revisiting the past that characterizes her artistic procedures and her technical decisions, an ethic that aims at deconstructing and reassembling the grammar with which history and contemporaneity are written. Interested in the intervals, gaps and contradictions of the discourse of history, Bustos dives into the effects of colonialism, the continuity of the patriarchal gaze on women, the modulations and reconfigurations of human and substance trafficking in the past and present, the persistence of censorship mechanisms on discourses and identities.

            All these themes become focus concerns from which the artist constructs narratives that unfold as visual diagrams from a wide range of techniques. These narratives, created through assemblage, juxtaposition and series, are inscribed in an educational horizon that combines intellectual depth and sensory seduction. Indeed, these stories are based not only on the data offered by historiography but also on the subconscious of the period in question, on the hallucinated dreams of the actors and actresses of the events, their victims and victimizers, in a space in which the events intermingle with the imaginary processes that made them possible. Diving in this soil of images, Bustos seeks to find those critical points where the apparent schemes that shape the received ideas, the common places or the hegemonic systems of thought dissolve and propitiate other universes of links.

            Bustos' works therefore twist the idea of a linear time that accumulates events to present true constellations in which elements of different kinds and natures coexist and expose the relationships that constitute them. Press extracts, maps, tables and taxonomies, graphs and illustrations, documentary photos and watercolors, text and image coexist in pieces that demand to be carefully and delectably explored, in which the key of reading as a denunciation that motivates them is at the same time tempered and reinforced by the delicacy of their execution.