Argentina is at the forefront of many minds this week, but obvious sporting reasons aside, the country is also in the cultural spotlight thanks to Richard Long's newest exhibition, Mendoza Walking, currently on show at the Faena Arts Center in Buenos Aires. Inspired by a 17-day journey walking through Tupungato and Cordon del Plata in the mountainous Andes regions of Mendoza, E Paraná and Las Pampas, the British artist has created two impressive site-specific works, which also mark his solo debut in Latin America.
Situated within the historic Los Molinos room in the landmarked gallery building, the pair of installations have been created using an array of natural materials that Long discovered in the region while on his travels. 'Pampas Dreaming' is a spiralling sculpture made of pine wood chips originating from Argentina's Misiones Province, that the artist created on site, while 'Andes-Parana' is a soaring wall work made using mud from the Gauyracá stream in the Paraná Delta. Highly textural and contemplative, both works draw visitors in to share in the majestic beauty of Argentina's topography and landscape.
Long's treatment of walking as a sculptural practice has kept him in good stead for over 40 years. In addition to the installations, the artist also documented his walk by creating and photographing sculptures along the way. One particular intervention was situated in front of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. These dramatic photographs, along with narrative text works from the same journey, are all also on view.
'Richard Long's organic and contemplative meditations in nature remind us of our own steps, the ephemeral and profound marks that we leave on the surface of the earth,' says Ximena Caminos, director and chief curator of the Faena Art Center, 'and the possibilities that exist to develop our commitment to the natural world and to renegade with our surroundings.' Spiritual and humbling, Mendoza Walking is a rare chance to experience Long's masterful approach in the flesh.