Passages: Tales of Migration

Passages: Tales of Migration

13 May - 12 June 2010

María del Carmen Gilardon, Maria Noel

2010 marks the Bicentenary celebration of the beginning of Argentina's Independence process and of other South American Countries. To coincide with the occasion jaggedart is hosting an exhibition of two Argentinean artists.

Stories of those who crossed oceans to start new lives in unknown territories are evoked through photography, collage and painting. The work reflects the patchwork of cultures which make up today's Argentina with a beautiful and resonant quality.

In 'History told by ships' María del Carmen Gilardon uses photography and writing to portray a sense of the passage of people and time. She responds to stories of early Welsh immigrants settling in Chubut, Patagonia in the late 19th century.

Her intimate photographs of weathered and rusted ships, recall the crossing of oceans and seas, and the trials endured by those traveling such long distances. The seasoned iron surfaces appear as metaphors of the lives of those who suffered departures and exile. Her works hint at ghost-like figures, as if those passengers and their stories have left an indelible mark.

María draws parallels between the ecological imprint and traces left by man through his interaction with the environment, and asks 'can the water, wind and process of degradation reflect us? Is the energy we generate with our actions the ones that shape stones, metals, lights or shadows that surround us?'

The abstract nature of the work evokes early cave painting with the use of warm earthy colours and simplicity. Accompanying the works are poetic writings, which combine this visually rich exhibition with elements of documentary history.

Born and educated in Buenos Aires, María has lived and worked in the southern city Puerto Madryn since 1985.

María Noël uses literature as the main basis in her work, combined with the ancient craftsmanship of pottery and textiles which is rooted in the culture of northern Argentina.

Researching at the National Archive in Buenos Aires, a rich record of a glorious past, she spent long afternoons leafing through old photographic material and letters describing journey details of the voyages between the Old and the New World. Letters chronicle the hopes, expectations and feelings of those embarking these vast, daunting journeys to the distant South America.

For María, the best visual testimony of social and political life in 19th century Buenos Aires was by an English immigrant Alexander Witcomb, who founded the first large scale photography studio in Argentina. She uses these photographic records and combines them with the original handwritten letters and her own writings, to reflect on her connections with the history of these women and men of the past. Using these memories, hidden signs and landmarks, through gesture, releases and historical processes she creates a mixed media approach using deconstructed collage, reminiscent of weathered buildings and the faded grandeur of a fallen Temple.

Muted colours and calligraphy are interspersed with pages from literature from both sides of the voyage, reflecting the exchange of cultures and passages of travel that mark that time. The map of South America features upside down as part of a collage, adding an identifying stamp to the origin of these stories.

Born in Buenos Aires, María studied Fine Art and philosophy and Art History, a tireless traveler through East and West she also lived in Napoli and Milan in the late 80's.