Ana Eckell (1947 - )

Untitled (1985)

Oil on canvas
height: 98.5cm
width: 89cm

Donated by Ana Eckell 1997


Eckell’s work is from a series she made just after the end of the dictatorship. These works sit between abstraction and figuration and often depict sinister figures in seemingly violent and disturbing poses. This work Untitled (1985) shows two male figures in a violent exchange. The figure on the right wears glasses and what appear to be military boots, his body is contorted as if turning his back on the other figure, that of a bald man to the left of him. He seems to be spitting into the mouth of the other figure. This work was made in 1985 the year of the initial trials against the military juntas. Although Eckell’s characters are often fictional ones, the man on the right starts to take on the likeness of General Videla the former dictator of Argentina. Eckell has said that ‘[t]he dictatorship was the episode that most marked me in my life […] In that moment they kidnapped and they killed people and one couldn’t help or change anything[…] I think if I hadn’t done those works I would have gone crazy.’ (1) Eckell’s portrayal of violence is clearly a way of dealing with Argentina’s past. The 1980s was the moment when many artists finally felt able to express themselves after the censorship prevalent during the dictatorship.

1. Ana Eckell ‘La dictadura es el episodio que más me marcó en la vida [… ]En ese momento secuestraban y mataban gente y uno no podía ayudar ni modificar nada […] Creo que si no hubiera hecho esos trabajos me hubiera vuelto loca.’ “Ana Eckell Me hice amiga de mi sombra” in Victoria Verlichak En la palma de la mano: Artistas de los Ochenta, Ediciones Alon, Buenos Aires, 2005, 136.

Text written for the exhbition "Argentina 1976-2016: Activism, Memorialisation and Complicity", 7-10 March 2016, ESCALA Teaching and Research Space

Sebastian Bustamante-Brauning, 2016

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