Fernanda Laguna

Presented at 18th Street Arts Center
Presented at LACMA

Fernanda Laguna (b. 1972, Buenos Aires) is one of the most influential artists and writers of her generation in Argentina. In 2001, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in Argentina’s history, Laguna co-founded the now legendary artist-run gallery Belleza y Felicidad (Beauty and Happiness), which for many years was the cauldron of emerging art and literature in Buenos Aires. She then moved the gallery to a shantytown in the outskirts of the city, where it evolved into an experimental art-based education program for the local youth. Laguna also co-started Eloisa Cartonera, a publishing cooperative which brings together well established writers and the “cartoneros” who make a living collecting discarded cardboard from the garbage. It was awarded The Prince Claus Prize in 2012. During 2011-2012 she ran TuRito, a space open to performances, readings and actions 24 hours a day (it had no doors).

In her recent paintings, black biomorphic shapes – that sometimes act as humans– are one of the recurring tropes, as are the slashes and carved shapes that appear on the surface of the canvas. Laguna deliberately refers to pictorial traditions linked to abstract surrealism and to metaphysical painting, adding a twist of humor, references to visual elements of local traditional popular culture and a sense of the contemporary. Fernanda Laguna was included in the “Best of 2012” list in Artforum magazine. She participated in the Mercosul Biennial (2013), and the Cuenca Biennial, Ecuador (2014). Laguna’s works are in the collections of MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires), the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, the Guggenheim Museum, NYC, the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires, Museum of Contemporary art of Los Angeles,  Museum Pérez of Miami, and in many important private collections in Argentina.