Argentine Swimming Pools Union by Ignacio Unrrein

7 - 28 February 2019

Acefala Galeria, Buenos Aires.


Placed as monuments dedicated to a future that will never come to be, fiberglass swimming pools stand heroically at the edge of the roads. From their odd verticality, they stir up the desire for something unattainable: the long-awaited dip, a dream of rest and prolonged happiness.

Since ancient times, pools have been not only an emblem of certain privileges, but also of certain form of well-being or, at least, of a way of life that separated working time from leisure time. This separation is now disappearing, under the current and precarious ways of working 24/7, and the horizon of voluntary servitude, where humans and non-humans are demanded over our capacities, to the point of exhaustion; seduced and exploited by promises and productive interests that lead to an impending social and ecologic cataclysm. 

The artistic research, which in this case takes the format of an exhibition, presents a constellation of images, objects and sensations related materially and structurally to the universe of swimming pools. Based on their social and political significance in the context of the city of Buenos Aires, the Argentine Swimming Pools Union speculates with the possibility of broadening the political horizon to other impersonal forms of life – that is to say, to all the agents that, along with human beings, coexist in this peculiar ecosystem. So that, from a digital survey of the existing pools in the 48 neighborhoods of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, the linking role of other actors is evoked, halfway between the natural and the artificial, as is the case of chemicals, water, or a poetic wink to every bit of summer gained to the land that a swimming pool involves. Therefore, the pool becomes a vehicle and an object-promise.

Thus, through a semantic and syntactic game which points to a certain truth emptied of a precise meaning, the Argentine Swimming Pools Union fantasizes with the possibility of a dialogue between things and the human being. A parliament where objects have a voice and the ability to act, so as to highlight the existence of other ways of perceiving, claiming, demanding, and being. All in all, it is not only about isolating the elements that are a part of the infinite sequence of familiar images we all have of a pool, but it is also about operating compositionally on several levels, trying to generate a dialogue between different materialities and notions about the meaning of life, its unlikely connections and necessary estrangements.

Connected to Gaston Bachelard’s poetics of the elements, the parliament of things stated by Bruno Latour or Donna Haraway’s interest in making new kin relationships, the Argentine Swimming Pool Union, the first and only one in the cosmos, seeks to create a possible scenario located in the near future, in a space that is missed, to reflect on the type of pacts and alliances that we establish politically with other beings and realities.

Can a pool speak politically? And if it could, with its own voice, how would it do it?

Ignacio Unrrein (Buenos Aires, 1987) graduated as an architect in 2012 from the University of Buenos Aires and has been a PhD student in Arts at the National University of the Arts since 2014. Besides taking part in several advanced workshops and seminars, he received a scholarship to attend Cromos, Art Study Center (2013-2014) and was selected to work in the Project PAC - Contemporary Artistic Practices organized by Gachi Prieto gallery - Latin American and contemporary art (2017) and in the Artists Program of the University Torcuato Di Tella (2019-20). In the near future he will participate in the International Residencies Program of Vermon Studio Center, (Fellowship, Vermont, United States, 2018) and in the EKWC-European Ceramic Work Center (Oisterwijk, The Netherlands, 2019).

His artistic production has been shown in several collective exhibitions both in his country and abroad, including: the Buenos Aires Young Art Biennale (2013), FASE 6.0 – Art + Science + Technology (2014), the Argentine Pavilion at the Jerusalem Biennale (2015), the “Drawing” and “Installations and Alternative Media” sections of the Argentine National Salon of Visual Arts (2016 and 2017), the Marchionni Prize of the Museum of Graphic Arts (Sardinia, 2017), the 2017/2018 Itaú Visual Arts Prize (2018), the 62° Belgrano National Hall of Visual Arts. (2018), the XLIX National Hall of Visual Arts Fernán Félix de Amador (2018), the Uade Art Contest (2018), PROA21 Museum (2018), Fundación Proa Museum (2019), the Malamegi Lab.10 Contest (Rome, 2018), the conference given during the Stalker Group Exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art (Rome, 2018) and the YICCA International Contemporary Art Contest (Zagrev, 2019). His works have also been shown in solo exhibitions in Buenos Aires, at the 3rd festival of the arts space Enjambre: Hacia un afuera de la escritura [Towards the outside of writing] (Intentos - Attempts, 2016), in the arts space Oficina Proyectista (Demolition Project of the New Project Office, 2017), at the San Martin Cultural Center (Intento reconstruir 00001 – Attempt to rebuild 00001, 2018), in Acéfala Gallery (Tapiar Buenos Aires – Brick up Buenos Aires, 2018) and in Laboratorio Festival Space (Argentine Swimming Pools Union, 2019).

His creative work has earned him several recognitions and his projects have received the sponsorship and support of various institutions, such as the First Prize in the Malamegi Lab.10 Contest (Rome, 2018) and the subsidy he was granted in the frame of the Patronage – Cultural Promotion Program of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires (2015).

Developed in conjunction with Joomla extensions.