Pablo Suárez (1937 - 2006)

Desnudo masculino (1981)
Male Nude

Ink on paper
height: 26.5cm
width: 27cm

Donated by Guillermo Whitelow 1996


This work returns to a motif present in much of ESCALA’s holdings of Argentine art made during and after the military dictatorship. As Maria Teresa Constantin has put it ‘[i]n the displacement produced in the period [of the dictatorship], the human body is fostered as protagonist and centre of the work and is one of the unifying concepts of diverse artistic productions. And, if in some of the artists [work] it is present before 1976, during the period [the human form] reaffirms its presence.’ (1) Suárez’s male nude is an example of the prominence of the human form in Argentine art made since 1976. Of Suarez’s art, Constantin has said that the‘…occurrences from personal life and political and social events intertwine’ (2) and the human body becomes the means of representing this intersection. Suárez painted this in 1981, whilst the dictatorship was in its final years. Reading this painting as depicting a male hooded figure and one of the tortured captives held by the military connects this work with the recent past. The figure appears to have his hands tied behind his back and is on his knees. The lines drawn over the figure appear to represent the bars of a cell in which the figure is being held. Although it uncertain whether this work was shown in Argentina at the time it was made, with more knowledge today about the existence of clandestine torture sites in Argentina this work brings to mind the suffering of many at the hands of military regime. The captive figure speaks to a history of which much more is known about now 40 years after the beginning of the dictatorship.

1. 'En los desplazamientos producidos durante el período, el cuerpo humano es potenciado como protagonista y centro de la obra, y es uno de los ejes unificadores de las diversas producciones artísticas. Y, si bien en algunos de los artistas está presente antes de 1976, durante el periodo reafirma su presencia.’ Constantin, Cuerpo Y Materia (2006), 12.

2. ‘… se entretejen los acontecimientos de la vida personal con los sucesos políticos o sociales.’ Ibid, 13

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

Sebastian Bustamante-Brauning, 2016

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