Radical Acts

Graciela Carnevale. _Encierro (Confinement)_. 1968. Forty gelatin silver prints, offset lithograph, and catalogue page. Photographs (each): 12 3/8 × 8 7/16" (31.5 × 21.5 cm); Offset lithograph: 22 13/16 × 15 3/8" (58 × 39 cm); Catalogue page: dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Latin American and Caribbean Fund. © 2019 Graciela Carnevale

Graciela Carnevale. Encierro (Confinement). 1968 447

Graciela Carnevale. Encierro (Confinement). 1968. Forty gelatin silver prints, offset lithograph, and catalogue page. Photographs (each): 12 3/8 × 8 7/16" (31.5 × 21.5 cm); Offset lithograph: 22 13/16 × 15 3/8" (58 × 39 cm); Catalogue page: dimensions variable. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Latin American and Caribbean Fund. © 2019 Graciela Carnevale

Artist, Graciela Carnevale: I am Graciela Carnevale. I believe in the possibility of art being disruptive and trying to break boundaries and resist prior tendencies and norms of society.

I did this work-action in 1968. The space was completely empty. When it was time to begin, I invited all the participants that were there to enter the room. I asked them to wait a moment, I closed the door and then I left. Everything else that happened, I know from what I have been told by those who were outside or inside, and also from the person who took the photographs.

Many, at the beginning as can be seen in the images, waited quietly, talking, waiting patiently for something to happen.

But as time went by, this evidently generated anguish, or a restlessness, and, they began trying to rescue one another, to disassemble the window, the door, dismantle the padlock, with which they had been locked up. And, finally, it was someone from outside, who in that moment of tension, he broke the window by kicking it in. That’s how he enabled everyone to escape.

I was very clear about was that this was not a simulation of being trapped: it was real. And each person had to be the protagonist of his own liberation. And that action, somehow, had to be violent to be free and get out.

This was an idea that seemed important to me because it was using violence as an aesthetic. And, somehow, I considered it as a metaphor for what was happening in the country at the time under a very oppressive military regime. It made us conceive of art in a different way and also changed what the role of the artist was. We did not think of art as a representation of something, but as a real action of change that could somehow transform our current reality.

(24:54) Also, another important aspect, I think it was to see the audience, the public, no longer as a passive entity that contemplates a work of art, but rather as an actor, an active participant, a protagonist of that work.

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