Mónica Giron

1959 | San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
Mónica Giron — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Antonio Panno, Portrait of Mónica Giron, 2020, courtesy Mónica Giron

Argentine multidisciplinary artist.

Mónica Giron was born and raised in Bariloche, a city in Argentina’s southernmost Patagonia region. In 1977-1978 she studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón, and in 1984 graduated from the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel in Geneva with a degree in 3D art and art history. Her work is centred on the Earth, its movements and inhabitants: tectonic plates, human behaviour, animals, and natural and energy resources. It is informed by research and analysis with educational ends in mind, and a search for self-awareness. She makes installations, objects and formal analyses, drawings, watercolours, textiles and site-specific projects.

Over the last forty years she has created various series, about Patagonia and its significance, visual reflections on migration and geographical and historical frameworks that take on an autobiographical character. Ajuar para un conquistador [Trousseau for a conquistador, 1993] consists of hand-sewn garments meant to clothe birds facing extinction. The title refers to the geopolitical history of Patagonia, appropriated by many cultures over the centuries; it also has another meaning as a set of funerary objects, and as such holds a poetic allusion to the extinction of the region’s species since we are presented with the making of small garments for bodies that may no longer be present. She used a bird guide to make these items, which include scarves and socks. These costumes represent a memorialisation, a gesture representing love for a family member and a culture that is hybrid and a work in progress. The piece problematises the concept of conquest, since it involves double-pointed knitting needles, wool obtained from local livestock instead of wild animals, and European-style buttons. As beautiful as these garments may be, any bird that wore them would probably die. This paradox and complexity is what makes these objects so subtle and yet so powerful.

Deceleration, ecology, responsible use of natural and energy resources – these are some of the issues she explores in projects that often include maps and relevant data. Her pieces Mundus (2014-2015), Continentes de barro [Mud continents, 2013-2016] and Ejercicios con el modelo terrestre [Exercises with a model Earth, 2015] present a profound analysis of the continents and the different ways they are represented. The research she carries out in conjunction with her lectures, her reading and the concretisation of her ideas develop distinct lines of thought for future projects: site-specific works; small and large sculptures made of wax, paraffin or organic resins; and graffiti paintings and drawings using digital tools as part of the creative process. Cabezas reducidas [Shrunken heads], Ósmosis intelectual [Intellectual osmosis] and Neocriollo [Neo-Creole], all produced between 2003 and 2006, are examples of series guided by this approach.

Since 2009 she has been in charge of a workshop in the artist training programme of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions. With her use of metaphors to study the world from an individual perspective that becomes collective, her work represents a major contribution to the Argentine art scene.

Maite Paramio

Translated from the Spanish by Leo Stephen Torgoff.

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring

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