Archives of the Tympanum

Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College

Archives of the Tympanum presents newly commissioned drawings by Rita Ponce de León (b. Lima, 1982) displayed as a mural in the exhibition space. This series of large-scale works is a site-specific installation that echoes the life story and oral narrations of Raquel Rabinovich (b. Buenos Aires, 1929), an artist living in New York since 1967, having emigrated from Argentina after a military strike.

Commissioned in the framework of research on the agency of oral memory in contemporary art history, the drawings of Ponce de León propose an alternative way to write, assimilate, and entwine subjective experiences beyond the written word. Her works frequently take the form of testimonies of conversations with colleagues and communities she works with, through which the artist explores emotions and ideas that take shape through social encounters. The exhibition also includes Rabinovich’s painting series Dimension Five (1969–74), the first body of work the artist produced upon her arrival to the U.S. The large-scale monochromatic paintings suggest paths and labyrinths through their vibrating colors, and are accompanied by audio recordings of the interviews conducted with Rabinovich for this project.

In foregrounding the voice and work of an Argentinian artist underrepresented in art institutions in both the U.S. and South American context, Archives of the Tympanum explores the value of oral memory in understanding the obscure and multifaceted art history of Argentina since the 1960s. It accomplishes this through intergenerational conversations, producing in the process archival and study materials that can easily travel across countries.
Archives of the Tympanum is curated by Laura Hakel. 

With support from the OSUN Center for Human Rights & the Arts at Bard.

April 2, 2022
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