La Dote Argentia (The Argentian Dowry). María Silvia Corcuera.

Marcela Costa Peuser.

The Menéndez library is known for hosting exhibitions by prominent artists who have a lot to say. On this opportunity, the guest of honour is María Silvia Corcuera and her Dote Argentia. Subtle and ironic, the artist shares with us the reality we face on our daily lives.

Well-known and contemporary, María Silvia Corcuera is an artist that describes the world that surrounds and moves her. Her latest creation is an objectual and conceptual work, in which nothing is chosen randomly; each constituent has a meaning, and its aesthetics follows a geometry reminiscent of Hlito and Aizemberg. The pieces are common objects, which she resignifies and transforms, keeping their essence alive; that is where its expressive force resides.

This artist focuses on ornamental, feminine and Latin American topics. In this case, she presents the "jewels" that compose a dowry, La Dote Argentia (The Argentian Dowry). The following can be read in the exhibition's text: "A dowry is equal to donation, property, legacy and value. It commercialises the body, covers the walls, and exposes things. It includes both the new and the used. It is measured in money, furniture and estate, clothing and belongings, ornaments and jewellery". It is a dowry that seems to shine at first glance, but is instead poor - like Argentina - if we stop to watch more closely at each element that forms it. Beautiful necklaces and peinetones (large decorative combs, characteristic of the XIX century), that draw our attention; when we draw near them, however, we discover their true essence. An essence that hurts. One of these necklaces, made out of coffee pods, both top and bottom shelf; a necklace that pricks with small scissors (a symbol of work) that hang from it.

A peinetón embedded (as if with precious stones) with tiny religious stamps of Latin American saints and from which "the threads of loss" hang loosely. In her research, Corcuera discovered that these sacred images - desacralized - are made in a small town in southern China; a factory dedicated to the production of Latin American saints. This is how Our Lady of Luján, the "Gauchito Gil" and the Holy Infant of Atocha (revered by Pablo Escobar) coexist in this peinetón.

Through the wide array of pieces that compose this exhibition, Corcuera lays the theme of work on the table, a theme that shakes not only our country, but the whole world. The instability brought by this period of transition, along with the change of the paradigm. This is the reason why the first exhibit is a piece she created in 2013 inspired by a protest by the Indignados (anti-austerity movement) in Spain: with a central mirror surrounded by small stamps of Saint Cajetan. An image crossed by red lines that symbolise gashes and bleeding wounds.

At the same time, she never sets her sharp wit aside: as in the necklace made from a nylon stocking and an argentine ribbon, decorated with sharp metal pieces and kept together with cloth clasps. A painful metaphor of our Argentina.

A citizen of the world - born to a diplomat father and an anthropologist and historian mother -, she was deeply connected to the great pieces of European, Latin American and oriental art. Her artistic education took place alongside renowned figures such as Marta de Llamas, Silvina Cardozo, Víctor Chab and K. Kemble. Corcuera has been working on diverse symbolic repertoires since the 80s.

As a keen observer, both critical and ludic, she assumes her responsibility as an artist by asking us to reflect on our reality and to answer as truthfully as possible: is this the dowry that we want to be represented by?