Jesus, Mary and Joseph made of palo santo, marble and metal in Argentina

Jesus, Mary and Joseph made of palo santo, marble and metal in Argentina

If in the common houses of many parts of the world the birth scene is reproduced with figurines bought, more or less handcrafted, several Argentine artists propose each year sculptural cribs that transform into art Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in a contest already veteran in Buenos Aires.

The winning work of this year's edition was that of the sculptor Juan Pablo Mouesca, whose carrara marble crib plays with geometric shapes in which its three protagonists are intuited, with Jesus as a loose piece that can be turned over to that the Virgin is pregnant or with the Child in her arms, depending on whether the visitor goes to the exhibition before or after the 25th.

"The idea is a modern style and that the public discovers, nowadays the sculptors do not perform a very figurative work but they turn them a little bit more into abstraction", tells Efe the director of the Museum of Sculptures Luis Perlotti of Buenos Aires , Darío Khler.

This is the twenty-second edition of the Sculptural Crib Contest that organizes uninterruptedly and at this time the Perlotti Museum, which on this occasion delivered 10,000 pesos ($ 261) to the winner nativity scene after having received about fifty different proposals, of which about thirty are shown to the public until next January 27.

In the prominent place of a room where Christmas is breathed, is the winning work flanked by the second prize, a crib by the artist Manuel Curto, and the third, Maria Adriana Pantanali project.

"The second (prize) is metal and the third prize is a wood palo santo, a very noble wood from the north of Argentina," says the director of the museum.

The first finalist is a work in which geometric shapes are imposed as in the winner and metal predominates in almost all the sculpture.

Khler points out that, against what might seem, is the work presented by the most veteran artist of this edition of the contest, since Curto exceeds 80 years.

It has been 22 years since the widow of Luis Perlotti, Filomena Bianco, had the idea of ​​creating a distinction that remains present at the time of parties in Buenos Aires, where the Christmas spirit mixes with the beginning of the southern summer.

"The wife of Luis Perlotti, from the first year wanted to organize sculptural cribs with sculptors, from that moment until today we continue that wonderful idea," says Khler.

The premise is simple: the births presented must be artistic creations that start from scratch.

The typical cribs, those that are prepared at home with different pieces already manufactured, are excluded from the event – although every year there are cases of candidates who do not read the rules well and present them well, says Khler.

The district of Caballito, where Luis Perlotti was from, one of the outstanding sculptors of the 20th century in Argentina, is the place where the cribs can be found, but where the visitor can also discover more of the work left by an artist who has works distributed by many streets of Buenos Aires.

When someone passes by the side of one of them, usually does not notice who was the author, but yours are the busts of Juan de Dios Filiberto tango in Caminito and the classic Café Tortoni and the Monument to the Andes that is in the neighborhood of Chacarita, among other sculptures.

The museologist of the gallery, María José Pérez, recalls that in the same museum where the cribs are located, one can discover the most authentic aspect of Perlotti.

"The portrait of the indigenous peoples is what he really liked to do," he stresses.

Public works, to make a living; trips to the indigenous villages of Argentina and Bolivia, to "enjoy", according to Pérez.

The result of those trips was a large number of sculptures that applied the classical Greco-Roman canon with figures of the original cultures, something that earned him the nickname of "Sculptor of Eurindia" -by mixing the names of both cultures-.

And, since last week, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the museum, a special exhibition covers the work of Perlotti, with its most outstanding sculptures and unpublished photographs from the author's personal archive, dated in the 30s.

"He felt a lot of respect and admiration (for them), so much so that he was living with them and tried to be very rigorous to make his creations," reflects Pérez about Perlotti, who made his trips in the years after Argentine rulers murdered entire towns belonging to these cultures.


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