Margarita Paksa, 2011

The Argentine artist Margarita Paksa was born in Buenos Aires in 1933. She studied sculpture at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Ernesto de la Cárcova, graduating in 1955. After working for almost a decade in ceramics, in 1963 Paksa began exhibiting expressionist sculptures made of iron and found objects. The scale of these works grew, and in 1965 she presented her first environment, Calórico (Caloric), a room filled with objects made of polyester and vinyl tubes resembling molecules. In 1966 Paksa began a series focused on words and typography. Her series Situaciones fuera de foco (Situations out of focus) comprises works on paper in which painted words, such as Uruguay and Justicia, appear as if seen through the crosshairs of a rifle's scope. During this time her friendship with the art critic Oscar Masotta was critical to her growth as an artist, for he introduced her to philosophy, linguistics, and communication theory. In the late 1960s she moved toward the idea of the dematerialization of objects, a concept popular at the time, which in her work was expressed in the form of minimalist sculptures and in the use of sound and technology. Her most controversial intervention during this time was her participation in the group show Experiencias 68. For this exhibition Paksa played two records simultaneously, one recording the breathing and panting of a couple making love, and she placed a sandbox in front of the gramophone with silhouettes of a female and a male body.

Between 1970 and 1974 Paksa returned to graphic art in the series Diagramas de batalla (Battle diagrams). Still using the crosshairs detail and words such as comida and libertad, reflecting the demands of the guerrilla movement, Paksa in this new series included maps pinpointing the sites where the People's Revolutionary Army, or Montoneros, was engaged in conflict. After the military coup d'état of 1976, her choice of words would be less direct and more cryptic. In the late 1970s she transferred her typographic work into neon sculptures. During the 1980s she worked on drawings and other two-dimensional formats.

In addition to receiving numerous invitations to participate in group shows with works from the 1960s and 1970s, she taught art while producing paintings, videos, and digital works. Paksa received her first award in 1963, and several other accolades have followed since, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2004). Her work is in private and public collections, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, Canada; and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. She lives in Buenos Aires.

—Marcela Guerrero

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1964 Hierros así… en la piel, Galería Riobó-Nueva, Buenos Aires

1976 La comida, Galería Balmaceda, Buenos Aires

1981 Margarita Paksa: Burn Papers & Videotapes, A Space Gallery, Toronto

1997 Paksa: El partido de tenis y otros proyectos, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires

2012 Margarita Paksa, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires

Selected Bibliography

Katzenstein, Inés. "Margarita Paksa." ArtNexus, no. 27 (February–April 1998): 118–19.

Longoni, Ana, and Mariano Mestman. Del Di Tella a "Tucumán arde": Vanguardia artística y política en el 68 Argentino. Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 2008.

Buccellato, Laura, ed. Margarita Paksa. Buenos Aires: Museo de Arte Moderno, 2012.

Margarita Paksa. Neuquén, Argentina: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2010.

Paksa, Margarita. Proyectos sobre el discurso de mí. Buenos Aires: Fundación Espigas, 1997.