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"The Unmaker of Objects": Edgardo Antonio Vigo's Marginal Media

This selection of materials was featured in the exhibition "The Unmaker of Objects": Edgardo Antonio's Marginal Media, a display of works from Library Special Collections at the Museum of Modern Art from April 2 to June 30, 2014.

The exhibition celebrates the mail art, visual poetry, performative works, and publications of the Argentine artist Edgardo Antonio Vigo (1928–1997). From his hometown of La Plata, Vigo developed an extensive network of contacts in the Americas and Europe, making the city a hub of the international mail art movement—a loose network of artists who exchanged ideas, art, and poetry through the postal system. From his defiantly local position, Vigo developed an internationalism tempered by a sharp critique of the foreign policy of the United States, from its role in the Vietnam War to its support of authoritarian Latin American governments.

Interested in mass media and alternative channels of communication, Vigo nevertheless maintained an intimate human touch, producing handmade works that he bluntly called cosas, or “things,” to challenge the hierarchies of aesthetic tradition. Consistent with his embrace of mail art, which involves the participation of a recipient, he developed instructions, actions, and visual poems to be carried out or completed by others. He also published magazines and editions that promoted an accessible, democratized art in place of the unique and valuable art object.

Vigo was active during the period when Argentina was ruled by a military junta, which, in 1976, “disappeared” his son Abel Luis "Palomo". Vigo and the artist Graciela Gutierréz Marx together adopted the pseudonym G. E. Marx Vigo and campaigned for Palomo’s return; they often stamped the envelopes they sent out through the mail art network with the English phrase “Set Free Palomo.” Despite government censorship, Vigo’s moving letters and graphic works reached artists the world over, testaments to his dedicated ethical commitment.

This selection of works is divided into three sections:

Vigo’s “Things”

Vigo called himself an “unmaker of objects.” Instead, he made cosas (“things”)—works that did not clearly fall within traditional mediums such as painting, sculpture, printmaking. Vigo’s cosas were conceptual in nature and made to be completed by the participant. They ranged from a series of “signalings” of everyday scenes or objects that viewers were invited to regard aesthetically, and actions and poetry “to be created” by the participant. The works were intended to activate the participant’s perception by engaging them in unfamiliar activities.

Diagonal Cero Magazine (1962–1969) Vigo began publishing his magazine Diagonal Cero in 1962. It was named after a street in his hometown La Plata, known as “the city of diagonals” because of its many diagonally-oriented streets, and the name refers to an imaginary Avenue Zero. With the exception of being unbound, it was initially a fairly conventional magazine designed to circulate new poetry. As time went on, though, Diagonal Cero began to play more and more with what a publication could be, developing a strong editorial and graphical style. Of the run of twenty-eight issues, number 25 is missing because it was “dedicated to nothingness.” Emptiness is also addressed in the “Cavity Manifesto” in issue 28, as well as by repeated perforations and holes. In 1969, Vigo ceased publishing the magazine with a characteristic wordplay emblazoned on the inner sleeve: ‘No VA MÁS’ (All bets ARE OFF), both a statement to indicate the termination of the magazine and a denunciation of political conditions in Argentina.

Hexágono ’71 (1971–1975)

Hexágono ’71 was distributed as an envelope containing illustrations, visual poems, works “to be created,” essays, drawings, stories, telegrams, and calls for works by both international and local authors. Hexágono ’71 contained no editorial commentary, page numbers, or editorial credits. Furthermore, the issues were systematised by a lettering system rather than the customary numbers: a, ab, ac, bc, bd, be, cd, ce, cf, de, df, dg and e. Vigo referred to himself as the editor in-responsible (“non-responsible editor”) of the magazine and said, “There are no fixed collaborators, the issue takes shape as the works come in.” The magazine grew more and more international from 1971 to 1975, uniting artists from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, the United States, France, Italy and the UK. Hexágono ’71 was inaugurated during the dictatorship of 1966–73. Vigo wished to “share the necessity of breaking the dangerous suffocation that hovers over the universal creative-investigator’s free expression.”

Author

Zanna profile photo

Zanna Gilbert

Former Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral C-MAP Fellow at The Museum of Modern Art Zanna Gilbert is an art historian and curator. Zanna completed her PhD with Tate Research and the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex. Her... Read more »
Tobias laurie lambrecht

Jennifer Tobias

Librarian, Reader Services MoMA Jennifer Tobias is the Reader Services Librarian at the Museum of Modern Art. She is a graduate of the City University of New York's Art History program. Her 2012 doctoral... Read more »
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"The Unmaker of Objects": Edgardo Antonio Vigo's Marginal Media

This selection of materials was featured in the exhibition "The Unmaker of Objects": Edgardo Antonio's Marginal Media, a display of works from Library Special Collections at the Museum of Modern Art from April 2 to June 30, 2014.

The exhibition celebrates the mail art, visual poetry, performative works, and publications of the Argentine artist Edgardo Antonio Vigo (1928–1997). From his hometown of La Plata, Vigo developed an extensive network of contacts in the Americas and Europe, making the city a hub of the international mail art movement—a loose network of artists who exchanged ideas, art, and poetry through the postal system. From his defiantly local position, Vigo developed an internationalism tempered by a sharp critique of the foreign policy of the United States, from its role in the Vietnam War to its support of authoritarian Latin American governments.

Interested in mass media and alternative channels of communication, Vigo nevertheless maintained an intimate human touch, producing handmade works that he bluntly called cosas, or “things,” to challenge the hierarchies of...

Show More

This selection of materials was featured in the exhibition "The Unmaker of Objects": Edgardo Antonio's Marginal Media, a display of works from Library Special Collections at the Museum of Modern Art from April 2 to June 30, 2014.

The exhibition celebrates the mail art, visual poetry, performative works, and publications of the Argentine artist Edgardo Antonio Vigo (1928–1997). From his hometown of La Plata, Vigo developed an extensive network of contacts in the Americas and Europe, making the city a hub of the international mail art movement—a loose network of artists who exchanged ideas, art, and poetry through the postal system. From his defiantly local position, Vigo developed an internationalism tempered by a sharp critique of the foreign policy of the United States, from its role in the Vietnam War to its support of authoritarian Latin American governments.

Interested in mass media and alternative channels of communication, Vigo nevertheless maintained an intimate human touch, producing handmade works that he bluntly called cosas, or “things,” to challenge the hierarchies of aesthetic tradition. Consistent with his embrace of mail art, which involves the participation of a recipient, he developed instructions, actions, and visual poems to be carried out or completed by others. He also published magazines and editions that promoted an accessible, democratized art in place of the unique and valuable art object.

Vigo was active during the period when Argentina was ruled by a military junta, which, in 1976, “disappeared” his son Abel Luis "Palomo". Vigo and the artist Graciela Gutierréz Marx together adopted the pseudonym G. E. Marx Vigo and campaigned for Palomo’s return; they often stamped the envelopes they sent out through the mail art network with the English phrase “Set Free Palomo.” Despite government censorship, Vigo’s moving letters and graphic works reached artists the world over, testaments to his dedicated ethical commitment.

This selection of works is divided into three sections:

Vigo’s “Things”

Vigo called himself an “unmaker of objects.” Instead, he made cosas (“things”)—works that did not clearly fall within traditional mediums such as painting, sculpture, printmaking. Vigo’s cosas were conceptual in nature and made to be completed by the participant. They ranged from a series of “signalings” of everyday scenes or objects that viewers were invited to regard aesthetically, and actions and poetry “to be created” by the participant. The works were intended to activate the participant’s perception by engaging them in unfamiliar activities.

Diagonal Cero Magazine (1962–1969) Vigo began publishing his magazine Diagonal Cero in 1962. It was named after a street in his hometown La Plata, known as “the city of diagonals” because of its many diagonally-oriented streets, and the name refers to an imaginary Avenue Zero. With the exception of being unbound, it was initially a fairly conventional magazine designed to circulate new poetry. As time went on, though, Diagonal Cero began to play more and more with what a publication could be, developing a strong editorial and graphical style. Of the run of twenty-eight issues, number 25 is missing because it was “dedicated to nothingness.” Emptiness is also addressed in the “Cavity Manifesto” in issue 28, as well as by repeated perforations and holes. In 1969, Vigo ceased publishing the magazine with a characteristic wordplay emblazoned on the inner sleeve: ‘No VA MÁS’ (All bets ARE OFF), both a statement to indicate the termination of the magazine and a denunciation of political conditions in Argentina.

Hexágono ’71 (1971–1975)

Hexágono ’71 was distributed as an envelope containing illustrations, visual poems, works “to be created,” essays, drawings, stories, telegrams, and calls for works by both international and local authors. Hexágono ’71 contained no editorial commentary, page numbers, or editorial credits. Furthermore, the issues were systematised by a lettering system rather than the customary numbers: a, ab, ac, bc, bd, be, cd, ce, cf, de, df, dg and e. Vigo referred to himself as the editor in-responsible (“non-responsible editor”) of the magazine and said, “There are no fixed collaborators, the issue takes shape as the works come in.” The magazine grew more and more international from 1971 to 1975, uniting artists from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, the United States, France, Italy and the UK. Hexágono ’71 was inaugurated during the dictatorship of 1966–73. Vigo wished to “share the necessity of breaking the dangerous suffocation that hovers over the universal creative-investigator’s free expression.”

     
Img 2392

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2395

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Img 2396adj

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2394

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2411

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2412

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2421

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2413

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2416

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2417

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2418

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2415

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2419

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2420

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2389

Esta tarjeta ha sido sumergida en las aguas de ‘Puntalara-Beach’ en la zona llamada “bocacerrada” el 21 de septiembre/70, de 9 a 10hrs.-conste . . . (This card was submerged in the waters of ‘Puntalara Beach,’ in the ‘bocacerrada’ zone, September 21, 197

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2391adj

Esta tarjeta ha sido sumergida en las aguas de ‘Puntalara-Beach’ en la zona llamada “bocacerrada” el 21 de septiembre/70, de 9 a 10hrs.-conste . . . (This card was submerged in the waters of ‘Puntalara Beach,’ in the ‘bocacerrada’ zone, September 21, 197

Img 2383

(In) Acto a Realizar ([Un] Act to be created) 1969 or 1970

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2384

(In) Acto a Realizar ([Un] Act to be created) 1969 or 1970

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2385

(In) Acto a Realizar ([Un] Act to be created) 1969 or 1970

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2386

Actos a Realizar no 0001/69 (Acts to be created) 1969

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2388

Actos a Realizar no 0001/69 (Acts to be created) 1969

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2387

Actos a Realizar no 0001/69 (Acts to be created) 1969

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2380

Hazlo (Do it) 1970

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2382

Hazlo (Do it) 1970

Photo: David Horvitz
Diagonal cero1 cover

Diagonal Cero 1 (1962)

Diagonal cero2 cover

Diagonal Cero 2

Dc13cover

Diagonal Cero 13

Dc14cover

Diagonal Cero 14 (1965)

Dc181cover

Diagonal Cero 18 (1966)

Dc18inside

Diagonal Cero 18 (1966)

Dc20cover

Diagonal Cero 20 (1966)

Dc20poema matematico fallido

Poema Matematico Fallido (Failed Mathematical Poem, 1966)

Dc20versiongeometrica de un igualidad

Version Geometrica de un Igualidad (Geometric Version of Equality, 1966)

Dc20ii teorema fundamental

Teorema Fundamental (Fundamental Theorem, 1966)

Dc20 deshacedor

Diagonal Cero 20, El Deshacedor de Objetos (The Unmaker of Objects, 1966)

Dc21cover

Diagonal Cero 21 (1967)

Dc21oquedad

Diagonal Cero 21, "Cavity Manifesto"

Dc21cavity2

Diagonal Cero 21, "Cavity Manifesto"

Dc22cover

Diagonal Cero 22 (1967)

Hexagono a2

Souvenir de Viet-Nam (Vietnam Souvenir), Hexágono ’71 a (1971)

Img 2425

“Señalamiento VII / A de tu Mano” (Signaling VII: Of your hand), Hexágono ’71 a (1971)

Photo: David Horvitz
Hexagono ab cover

Hexágono '71 ab* (1971)

Hexagono ab

“Solucione sus Problemas (in) Estéticos” (Solve your [un]aesthetic problems), Hexágono ’71 ab* (1971)

Hexagono ab2

“Solucione sus Problemas (in) Estéticos” (Solve your [un]aesthetic problems), Hexágono ’71 ab* (1971)

Img 2434

Hexágono ’71 dg Autocensurado (Self-censored)

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2435

Hexágono ’71 dg Autocensurado (Self-censored)

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2436

Hexágono ’71 dg: Contaminacioón o Liberación (Contamination or freedom)

Photo: David Horvitz
Hexagono bc1

U.S.A versus Latin American

Che

“Head of Che, Souvenir de dolor” (Head of Che, Souvenir of pain), Hexágono ’71 ce (1973)

Souvenir de dolor

“Head of Che, Souvenir de dolor” (Head of Che, Souvenir of pain), Hexágono ’71 ce (1973)

Hexagono cf

“El Propio Militante” (The real militant), Hexágono ’71 cf (1973)

Hexagono de cover

Hexágono '71 de (1974)

Soluciones envelope

Soluciones Económicas Oferecidas por el “Systema” al pueblo [Economic solutions offered to the people by the system]

Solucione 2

Soluciones Económicas Oferecidas por el “Systema” al pueblo [Economic solutions offered to the people by the system]

Solucione sus problemas 1

Soluciones Económicas Oferecidas por el “Systema” al pueblo [Economic solutions offered to the people by the system]

Hexagono bc

U.S.A versus Latin American

Hexagono be

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

Hexagono be1

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

Hexagono be2

La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos [The (un) communication of the mass media]

Hexagono be3

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

Hexagono be4

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

Hexagono be5

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

Hexagono be6

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

Screen shot 2014 06 19 at 4.21.45 pm

Handling Vigo

Img 2392

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Vigo developed a notion of “prácticas revulsivas” (revulsive practices) that attempt to intervene in and heighten the viewer’s everyday perception, and indirectly, their political consciousness. He stated: "This work doesn’t propose to create new images but to signal those that, without the intention of being aesthetic as their end suggest that”. The work is a meditation on Marcel Duchamp’s readymade, but instead of designating an object as art by placing it in a gallery, Vigo suggested that the readymade was everywhere, waiting to be designated as such by the viewer’s choice.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2395

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Img 2396adj

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2394

Verde Amarillo Rojo. Lo Invita a Ver ‘Manojo de Semáforos’ (Green yellow red. You are invited to see ‘Handful of Traffic Lights’) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2411

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Vigo called himself an “unmaker of objects.” Instead, he made cosas (Spanish for “things”)—works that did not clearly fall within traditional mediums such as painting and sculpture. Vigo’s cosas were conceptual in nature and made to be completed by the participant. They ranged from a series of “signalings” of everyday scenes or objects that viewers were invited to regard aesthetically, and actions and poetry “to be created” by the participant. The works were intended to activate the participant’s perception by engaging them in unfamiliar activities.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2412

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

This “unlecture” has no content other than a kind of manifesto, which states: “Communication should be found NOT in inherited divisive artistic categories but in the RESIDUES of the prejudices they create.” Vigo proposed that effective communication would be found in the space between—and not within—the categories of sculpture, painting, prints, and drawing, and thus he focused his efforts on intermedia works.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2421

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2413

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2416

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2417

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2418

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2415

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2419

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

The text states: “Communication should be found NOT in inherited divisive artistic categories but in the RESIDUES of the prejudices they create. The penetration into “unnovelty” will be done by more natural means. Once the aesthetic enjoyment occurs, the rest is the “literary” aspect of the thing. Therefore, I have called my works ‘things’ in order to get rid of the latter."

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2420

Vigo’s Cosas: Conferencia/Unconferencia (Vigo’s things: Lecture/Unlecture) 1968.

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2389

Esta tarjeta ha sido sumergida en las aguas de ‘Puntalara-Beach’ en la zona llamada “bocacerrada” el 21 de septiembre/70, de 9 a 10hrs.-conste . . . (This card was submerged in the waters of ‘Puntalara Beach,’ in the ‘bocacerrada’ zone, September 21, 197

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2391adj

Esta tarjeta ha sido sumergida en las aguas de ‘Puntalara-Beach’ en la zona llamada “bocacerrada” el 21 de septiembre/70, de 9 a 10hrs.-conste . . . (This card was submerged in the waters of ‘Puntalara Beach,’ in the ‘bocacerrada’ zone, September 21, 197

Img 2383

(In) Acto a Realizar ([Un] Act to be created) 1969 or 1970

“Carry out an hour-long ‘massage’ of asystematic construction. Creation of asystematic silence.”

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2384

(In) Acto a Realizar ([Un] Act to be created) 1969 or 1970

“Carry out an hour-long ‘massage’ of asystematic construction. Creation of asystematic silence.”

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2385

(In) Acto a Realizar ([Un] Act to be created) 1969 or 1970

“Carry out an hour-long ‘massage’ of asystematic construction. Creation of asystematic silence.”

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2386

Actos a Realizar no 0001/69 (Acts to be created) 1969

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2388

Actos a Realizar no 0001/69 (Acts to be created) 1969

“The street invites you to your own (un)lecture to be delivered at a designated place, date or time. Instructions: One day decide to approach or move away from a place bearing the invitation and proceed to pronounce, mumble, sing, whistle, shake or wobble your body, etc. Don’t give your own lecture. For reasons of solidarity you are asked to attend the (un) lectures of others.”

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2387

Actos a Realizar no 0001/69 (Acts to be created) 1969

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2380

Hazlo (Do it) 1970

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2382

Hazlo (Do it) 1970

Photo: David Horvitz
Diagonal cero1 cover

Diagonal Cero 1 (1962)

Diagonal cero2 cover

Diagonal Cero 2

Dc13cover

Diagonal Cero 13

Dc14cover

Diagonal Cero 14 (1965)

Dc181cover

Diagonal Cero 18 (1966)

Dc18inside

Diagonal Cero 18 (1966)

Dc20cover

Diagonal Cero 20 (1966)

Dc20poema matematico fallido

Poema Matematico Fallido (Failed Mathematical Poem, 1966)

Diagonal Cero 20

Dc20versiongeometrica de un igualidad

Version Geometrica de un Igualidad (Geometric Version of Equality, 1966)

Diagonal Cero 20

Dc20ii teorema fundamental

Teorema Fundamental (Fundamental Theorem, 1966)

Diagonal Cero 20

Dc20 deshacedor

Diagonal Cero 20, El Deshacedor de Objetos (The Unmaker of Objects, 1966)

Dc21cover

Diagonal Cero 21 (1967)

Dc21oquedad

Diagonal Cero 21, "Cavity Manifesto"

Dc21cavity2

Diagonal Cero 21, "Cavity Manifesto"

Dc22cover

Diagonal Cero 22 (1967)

Hexagono a2

Souvenir de Viet-Nam (Vietnam Souvenir), Hexágono ’71 a (1971)

“Travel. Search for a trench (belonging to either side) gather a life and keep it in the transparent envelope provided.”

Img 2425

“Señalamiento VII / A de tu Mano” (Signaling VII: Of your hand), Hexágono ’71 a (1971)

Photo: David Horvitz
Hexagono ab cover

Hexágono '71 ab* (1971)

Hexagono ab

“Solucione sus Problemas (in) Estéticos” (Solve your [un]aesthetic problems), Hexágono ’71 ab* (1971)

Hexagono ab2

“Solucione sus Problemas (in) Estéticos” (Solve your [un]aesthetic problems), Hexágono ’71 ab* (1971)

Img 2434

Hexágono ’71 dg Autocensurado (Self-censored)

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2435

Hexágono ’71 dg Autocensurado (Self-censored)

Photo: David Horvitz
Img 2436

Hexágono ’71 dg: Contaminacioón o Liberación (Contamination or freedom)

Photo: David Horvitz
Hexagono bc1

U.S.A versus Latin American

Che

“Head of Che, Souvenir de dolor” (Head of Che, Souvenir of pain), Hexágono ’71 ce (1973)

1 of 2

Souvenir de dolor

“Head of Che, Souvenir de dolor” (Head of Che, Souvenir of pain), Hexágono ’71 ce (1973)

2 of 2

Hexagono cf

“El Propio Militante” (The real militant), Hexágono ’71 cf (1973)

Hexagono de cover

Hexágono '71 de (1974)

Soluciones envelope

Soluciones Económicas Oferecidas por el “Systema” al pueblo [Economic solutions offered to the people by the system]

Solucione 2

Soluciones Económicas Oferecidas por el “Systema” al pueblo [Economic solutions offered to the people by the system]

Solucione sus problemas 1

Soluciones Económicas Oferecidas por el “Systema” al pueblo [Economic solutions offered to the people by the system]

Hexagono bc

U.S.A versus Latin American

Hexagono be

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

1 of 7

Hexagono be1

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

2 of 7

Hexagono be2

La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos [The (un) communication of the mass media]

3 of 7

Hexagono be3

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

4 of 7

Hexagono be4

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

5 of 7

Hexagono be5

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

6 of 7

Hexagono be6

“La (in) Comunicación de los Medios de Comunicación Masivos” (The [un]communication of the mass media), Hexágono ’71 b*e (1972)

7 of 7

Handling Vigo

A selection of materials from the exhibition Edgardo Antonio Vigo: The Unmaker of Objects

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El centro en la obra de Edgardo Antonio Vigo durante un largo período de su producción fue, como vemos en los trabajos expuestos en el MoMA y curados por Zanna Gilbert y Jennifer Tobias , el problema de la comunicación. Él mismo había dicho en 1995: “Como el arte en general busca la comunicación, un artista no está en una pompa de jabón, tiene necesidad de mostrar, del diálogo; puede ser muy hermético, pero la obra no tiene por qué ser hermética también”. Las formas que adquirió ese objetivo en la poética de Vigo fueron heterogéneas. Tanto las revistas, como los textos que acompañaban las obras y las invitaciones para que el público participara activamente en la construcción de las obras, dan cuenta de la centralidad de la comunicación. En la publicación de ediciones, Vigo incluyó desde pequeñas revistas con uno o pocos números, de fabricación casera, hasta publicaciones como Hexágono ’71 o Diagonal Cero con mayores tiradas y distribución. El eje de ellas siempre estuvo puesto en mostrar textos e imágenes. La forma de presentación, con ediciones en general poco tradicionales –excepto el primer período de Diagonal Cero- y desvinculadas del mercado editorial, con formatos artesanales, producidos con hilos, perforaciones, hojas sueltas, tienden a realizar un uso crítico de la publicación como medio de comunicación. Los trabajos propios y de otros artistas, tales como historietas “herméticas”, poesías visuales formadas por fórmulas matemáticas y letras, textos que trataban sobre el “arte pobre”, Fluxus, el grabado, el arte correo, etcétera, eran publicados en esas revistas para provocar en el “lector” algún tipo de disturbio entre la experiencia cotidiana y la que pretendía provocar con las obras, así como para presentar tipos de expresiones artísticas desligadas de las tradicionales Bellas Artes. Una especie de desarreglo que operaba a través del asombro, la obra insólita, lo inexplicable.

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Edgardo Antonio Vigo, La biblia relativuzgir's, 1958.
Poema matematico 1968
Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Poema Matemático, 1968.

Por otro lado, los textos que acompañaban frecuentemente a las obras –de uso común en la época y especialmente por la conexión que tiene la obra de Vigo con el conceptualismo- también tenían algo que decir, comunicar. No simplemente como una explicación de aquello que se presentaba, sino como un uso poético de la palabra que se combinada con un formato de índole burocrático y formal, proveniente de un discurso que Vigo tomaba de su trabajo como empleado de los tribunales judiciales. Como se sabe, el discurso jurídico poco tiene que ver con el arte, sin embargo, Vigo fue capaz de ponerlos en relación, tanto para trabajar con una materia que le era común por su trabajo cotidiano, como por un uso crítico que realizaba del mismo para cuestionar los abusos e injusticias del poder. La participación del público a través de invitaciones –como la que vemos en esta exposición, perteneciente al señalamiento “Manojo de semáforos”- fue otra de las constantes en buena parte de la obra de Vigo. La idea de que el público debía ser un sujeto activo en la producción artística, que podía producir la obra junto con el artista y que su experiencia tenía un valor singular, sostenía un conjunto de propuestas y prácticas de Vigo. El abandono de la producción de obras tradicionales, distantes y estáticas, implicó el paso a un tipo de propuestas que implicaban la acción corporal y el llamado a la exploración y el estímulo sensible. Este programa tienden a representar una tríada autor-público-obra que rompe con las concepciones más tradicionales del arte. Apela a una estrategia de intervención en diversos espacios, especialmente públicos, así como a una particular relación entre público y ambiente físico, pero también social. Esta matriz compartida con otros artistas del mismo período entre los sesenta y los setenta, presentada a veces en forma de manifiestos y diversos textos, se transformó en el eje central de la propuesta Vigo en el marco de un proceso más amplio de transformaciones en el mundo del arte que involucraba diversos artistas de Occidente.

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Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Señalamiento V: Un paseo visual a la Plaza Rubén Darío, 1970
Se%c3%b1alamiento v   caja biopsia 1970
Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Señalamiento V: Un paseo visual a la Plaza Rubén Darío, 1970.

Como vemos, en estas tres dimensiones de la obra de Vigo, el objetivo de la comunicación parece ser el centro de su expresión artística. Sin embargo, la comunicación que ofrecía no era siempre clara y directa. Vigo hacía jugar su subjetividad, su historia, sus deseos en cada obra. El carácter vanguardista de sus trabajos, las fuertes conexiones con el dadaísmo y en especial con la figura de Marcel Duchamp, los rasgos conceptualistas y neovanguardistas en general, hacen que entre enunciador y enunciatario haya, además del pedido de participación e intervención directa sobre la obra, operaciones sobre el contenido que exceden a la categoría de “mensaje”, para avanzar sobre una forma lúdica y por momentos críptica. A ello se suma un componente crucial en la obra de Vigo: lo político. El artista realiza menciones frecuentes a aspectos de la vida política Argentina y Latinoamericana, tales como la masacre de Trelew, el asesinato del “Che” Guevara, la desaparición de su hijo Abel, la represión estatal y las dictaduras, y en algunos casos, acontecimientos en otros países, como la guerra de Vietnam, y la relación de opresión de países como Estados Unidos hacia el cono sur del continente.

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Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Hexágono '71, df, 1974.
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Edgardo Antonio Vigo, 1976 - Abel Luis (a) Palomo, vive - 1986, 1986.

Además de estos aspectos políticos explícitos en su obra, las tareas que Vigo realizaba como profesor del Colegio Nacional de La Plata, organizador de muestras artísticas, director del Museo de la Xilografía y como parte de diversos grupos de artistas, sus trabajos se vinculan directamente con una idea de comunidad crítica, reflexiva y creadora. De eso se trata también la comunicación en la obra de Vigo.

* Todas las imágenes pertenecen al Centro de Arte Experimental Vigo, La Plata, Argentina.

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El centro en la obra de Edgardo Antonio Vigo durante un largo período de su producción fue, como vemos en los trabajos expuestos en el MoMA y curados por Zanna Gilbert y Jennifer Tobias , el problema de la comunicación. Él mismo había dicho en...

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Sin t%c3%adtulo

The issue of communication was at the core of Edgardo Antonio Vigo’s work for a long period of his production, as we can see in the works exhibited at the MoMA, curated by Zanna Gilbert and Jennifer Tobias. Vigo himself said in 1995: “Since art in general is meant to communicate, an artist isn’t in a bubble; he has the need to show, to dialogue; he can be very hermetic, but the work doesn’t have to be inscrutable as well”. This objective took heterogeneous forms in Vigo’s poetics. Magazines, texts accompanying the works, and invitations to the public to take an active part in the construction of the works all bear witness to the centrality of communication. In his published editions, Vigo production ranged from small homemade magazines of one or a few issues to publications such as Hexágono ’71 or Diagonal Cero with larger print runs and wider distribution. They were always focused on displaying texts and images. The presentation format, through non-traditional editions mostly unrelated to the publishing industry (except for the first period of Diagonal Cero), tend to make critical use of publications as means of communication through their handmade formats that employed strings, perforations and loose leaves. Vigo’s own work and the work of other artists - such as “hermetic” comics, visual poems formed by mathematical formulas and letters, texts that dealt with “arte povera”, Fluxus, woodcut, mail art, etc.,- were published in those magazines to create in their “readers” some kind of disturbance between their daily experience and that which Vigo intended. They were also meant to present types of artistic expressions not associated with the traditional Beaux Arts, a sort of disruption operating through amazement, the unusual work, the inexplicable. On the other hand, the texts that often came with the works — commonly used at that time and especially because of the connection that Vigo’s work had with Conceptualism — also had something to say, to communicate, not merely as an explanation of what was presented, but as a poetic use of the word combined with a bureaucratic and formal format, a discourse taken by Vigo from his job as a court clerk. It is well known that legal discourse has little to do with art. However, Vigo was able to link them, both working with a subject that was familiar to him because of his daily job and making a critical use of it to question abuses and injustices by those in power. Participation of the public through invitations — as the one shown in this exhibition, which belongs to the señalamiento [signaling] “Manojo de semáforos” [Handful of traffic lights]¬— was another of the constants in a great deal of Vigo’s work. The idea that the public should be an active subject in the artistic production, that they could produce the work together with the artist, and that their experience had a unique value underlies a series of Vigo’s proposals and practices. Giving up the production of traditional, distant and static works implied a step towards proposals that involved body action and an appeal to explore and stimulation of the senses. This program tends to represent an author-public-work triad breaking with the most traditional concepts of art. It makes use of a strategy of intervention in several spaces, especially public ones, as well as of a particular relationship between the public and the physical environment and also the social environment. This matrix shared with other contemporary artists, between 1960s and the 1970s, sometimes presented in the form of manifestos and a variety of texts, became the central core of Vigo’s proposal within the framework of a broader process of transformations in the world of art in which several Western artists were involved.

As we can see, in these three dimensions of Vigo’s work, the aim of communicating seems to be the core of his artistic expression. However, the communication offered by him was not always clear and direct. Vigo made his subjectivity, his history and his desires play in each work. The avant-garde character of his works, the strong connections with Dadaism and especially with the figure of Marcel Duchamp, and the conceptualist and generally neo-avant-garde features cause there to be, between the “speaker” and the “listener”, not only the request for participation and direct intervention in the work, but also operations on the content that exceed the category of “message” to progress towards a ludic and at times cryptic form. Another crucial component is added in Vigo’s work: the political. The artist frequently mentions aspects of Argentine and Latin American political life, such as Trelew massacre, “Che” Guevara’s assassination, the disappearance of his son Abel, state repression and dictatorships and, in some cases, foreign events, such as the Vietnam War and the relationship of oppression exerted by countries like the United States on the Southern Cone of the continent. Besides these explicit political aspects in his work, Vigo’s activities as a high-school teacher at the Colegio Nacional de La Plata, organizer of artistic exhibitions, director of the Museo de la Xilografía [Woodcut Museum] and member of several groups of artists are directly related to an idea of a critical, reflexive and creative community. This is what communication in Vigo’s work is also about.

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The issue of communication was at the core of Edgardo Antonio Vigo’s work for a long period of his production, as we can see in the works exhibited at the MoMA, curated by Zanna Gilbert and Jennifer Tobias. Vigo himself said in 1995: “Since art in...

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