Marta Minujín

1943 | Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Argentinian visual artist.

Marta Minujín is possibly the most famous artist of the post-war Argentine art scene. Born into a bourgeois family in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, she received art training very early on. After studying at the Buenos Aires School of Fine Arts, she exhibited her work from 1957 onwards and held her first solo exhibition in 1959 in the Argentinian capital. During these years, she became friends with Alberto Greco, a very famous informal artist who was to have a great influence on her career. She studied from 1960 to 1963 in Paris, where she participated in the second Biennial in 1961 and became friends with the new realist artists, particularly Niki de Saint-Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Christo, and Robert Rauschenberg. In 1962, she started to create her Colchones (sculptures) and inhabitable structures made from supple materials, mainly blankets and mattresses found in the dumpsters of Parisian hospitals. In 1963, she organised her first happening in Paris, entitled La Destrucción, in which she burned all the artworks exhibited a few days before in her studio, thus laying the foundations for her future questioning of artistic consumption and demystification of the art object, thus aligning her with the pop art movement. Throughout her artistic career, she organised numerous happenings and created several environments.

Among the most famous was La Menesunda (1965), created with Rubén Santantonín at the Instituto Torcuato di Tella, in which the audience could walk through various spaces in which all of the senses were solicited. Almost all of her environments became ephemeral artworks, such as El obelisco de pan dulce (1979), which was eaten by the audience. Her themes revolve around ways of thinking about art and its enjoyment, but also about human behaviour. From the 1970s, the artist presented pieces criticising the Argentinian political situation such as La Academia del Fracaso (1975) and El pago de la deuda externa argentina (1985), a photograph in which we see her giving ears of corn to Andy Warhol to symbolise the Argentinian debt to the United States. Since 1980, she has continued to perform happenings drawing on massive public participation.

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Annalisa Rimmaudo

Translated from French by Anna Knight.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín, The Parthenon of Books, 2017, site-specific installation, Friedrichsplatz, Kassel, documenta 14, © Marta Minujín

Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín, El Obelisco de pan dulce [The Pan Dulce Obelisk], 1979, black and white photograph, © Archivo MM. Foto Pedro Roth, © Marta Minujín

Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín, La destrucción [The Destruction], 1965, performance, © Marta Minujín

Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín, Colchón (Eróticos en technicolor), 1962, cloth and foam, 160 x 88 x 24 cm, © National Museum of Fine Arts Argentina, © Marta Minujín

Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín, Leyendo las noticias en el Río de la Plata [Reading the News in the Río de la Plata], 1965, performance, © Marta Minujín

Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín et Andy Warhol, El pago de la deuda externa argentina [The payment of Argentina’s foreign debt], 1985, performance, © Marta Minujín, © ADAGP, Paris

Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín, La Torre de Babel de Libros [The Tower of Babel of books], 2011, site-specific installation, Buenos Aires, © Marta Minujín

Marta Minujín — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Marta Minujín, El Lobo Marino de Alfajores, 2013, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, site-specific installation, Buenos Aires, © Marta Minujín

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