Fernanda Laguna (b 1972) is a highly influential artist in Argentina, who besides her art production and published poetry has created and directed several alternative organizations, which are effectively part of her art practice. In 2000, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in Argentina’s history, Laguna 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 on the outskirts of the city, where it evolved into an experimental art-based general education project for disadvantaged children and teenagers. Laguna was involved in starting Eloisa Cartonera, a publishing cooperative which brings together well established writers and the cartoneros, who make a living collecting discarded cardboard from the garbage. In 2011-2012 she run TuRito, a space open 24 hours a day (it had no doors) to performances, readings and actions. Laguna has been extremely active not only as visual artist and writer but also as curator, organizer and performer, doing so in an idiosyncratic playful manner which has become her signature style.
Laguna started her visual art production in the 90’s, as one of the younger exhibitors in the group of artists who showed at Centro Cultural Rojas. At the time she explored both figurative and abstract painting incorporating distinct references to local popular culture, both in the iconography as well as in the techniques and materials she used. During the early 2000’s, she worked in an immediate, almost precarious manner, often spontaneously recording her subjective states and the fluctuations of her relationships using inexpensive, everyday materials and conveying a raw emotionality and a distinct female perspective. She later developed a style of painting which is mostly abstract and has certain characteristic tropes: biomorphic, black, abstract shapes that act as humans, carefully carved shapes cut on the canvases, and wicker frames. These works create an almost tongue-in-cheek, surreal atmosphere in the tradition of Argentinean metaphysical painting.
She was selected as one of the Best of 2012 in the past December issue of Artforum magazine, by curator Sofía Hernandez Chong Cuy who described her as undoubtedly one of the most interesting visual artists in the Americas. In 2013 she was was seleceted to take part in the current edition of the Mercosul Biennial, and was nominated for the Absolut International Award.
Laguna’s works are in the collections of MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires), the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires (MAMBA), Guggenheim Museum New York, the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, NYC, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and in many important private collections.
Text provided by Nora Fisch Gallery.
Fernanda Laguna is represented by Nora Fisch Gallery, www.norafisch.com