Collection

Ernesto Pablo Pesce (1943 - )

Paisaje mediático (1995)
Mediatised Landscape

Lithograph on paper
height: 100cm
width: 70cm
Print

Donated by Peter West 1995

40-1995

Ernesto Pesce’s Paisaje mediático is a lithograph on paper which includes a cityscape, taxonomies of insects and astronomical diagrams. This work belongs to a series Costanera sur (1987-1990) in which Pesce sought inspiration from a nature reserve located in the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires on the banks of the Río de la Plata estuary. Puerto Madero served as a port for cargo ships carrying goods into Argentina at the end of the 19th century. It has since been replaced due to the need to house ever larger cargo ships. The original port has now become a popular area for fine dining and cafe culture. The Costanera Sur nature reserve was created on a former landfill shortly after the return to democracy in 1983 following the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983).

The artist has described the way that nature gradually began to return to this area after it was protected and it now boasts more than three hundred bird species. Pesce refers to this diversity by using transfers of naturalist studies of insects and wildlife. In the the bottom left are studies of beetles copied from an illustrated volume of flora and fauna given to the artist by one of the ecologists working at the nature reserve (1) . These insects form the land mass of an aerial view of the Costanera Sur taken from a map. The Río de la Plata is cut out of the landscape and emerging from the outline of the atlantic ocean are drawings of two birds likely from the Furnariidae family. One particular bird in this genus, the Rufous hornero (Red Ovenbird) is Argentina’s national bird.

Through various signs Pesce makes this depiction a uniquely Argentine and moreover porteño (of Buenos Aires) landscape. In the middle of this vertical frame separating the nature reserve and the sky are the recognizable silhouettes of the Plaza Congreso which is the subject of Pesce’s large watercolor The Raft of the Medusa Shipwrecked in the Plaza Congreso Fountain (1983), also in ESCALA. The silhouetted shapes of the cityscape also depict the Nicolás Avellaneda Bridge located in La Boca in the south-east of Buenos Aires a half hour walk from the Costanera Sur. La Boca was home to immigrant communities that came to Buenos Aires from Italy and elsewhere and is a common destination for tourists who go in search of “Caminito”, Buenos Aires’ most famous walkway immortalised in the 1926 tango of the same name performed by Carlos Gardel. Pesce has explored his own italian ancestry in his oeuvre, notably in his Inmigrantes series (1974-1979). The 9 de Julio Avenue and the Obelisco (obelisk) designed by Alberto Prebisch are also clearly recognisable. Pesce repurposed images of these famous landmarks taken from tourists postcards in order to firmly locates this landscape in Buenos Aires.

Above the city scenes is an area of sky decorated with dancing star constellations. Pesce created these shapes using a computer programme which allowed him to enter a specific date and time and the programme would give a visual representation of the location of the stars and planets at that given moment. The commands of this programme are visible in the top right hand corner, written in a typeface reminiscent of computer operating systems from the 1980s and 1990s such as MS-DOS by Microsoft. These astronomical formations suggest a stratum greater than that of the city of Buenos Aires and its inhabitants by referring to the universe and its many stars that have shone down on this land for millenia. Early inhabitants of this land would have looked at these same stars long before the great metropolis existed and birds and insects would have occupied this area the avenues of Buenos Aires were built. By referring to diverse systems of classification: astronomy, insect taxonomies and cartography, Pesce’s landscape is one constructed and contingent on human experience and its intereactions with the city.

1. Interview with Ernesto Pesce reproduced on the artist's website: https://ernestopesce.com.ar/costanera.html (accessed 10.10.2017)

Sebastian Bustamante-Brauning, 2017

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